10 Reasons to Get More Sleep

SleepI didn’t plan this to be a Monday post, but it’s a great topic for what’s probably the most hated day of the week.

Many people complain of feeling sluggish and exhausted on Monday mornings. On weekends, I tend to throw my sleep habits all out of whack through patterns of staying up too late and sleeping in. Then when Sunday night rolls around I can’t sleep, making getting out of bed bright and early Monday morning a real pain in the ass.

Even during the week I struggle. I’m a night owl and sometimes it’s just plain hard to get to bed at a decent hour–no matter how sleepy I am. But I have to remind myself how miserable I am when I wake up sleep deprived, so I’ve come up with ten reasons to get more sleep:

1. Appear as smart as you really are. Wouldn’t you love to feel less groggy and to think more clearly in the mornings? Insufficient sleep can lead to slow reaction times and can make even simple tasks seem difficult. I’ve read that sleep deprived behaviors can be likened to those of drunkenness. Would you go to work drunk? I certainly hope not. Get more sleep and you can be confident that you nailed that work project and didn’t miss any important details. Also, you can come up with timely smart-ass comebacks instead of thinking of “should’ve saids” an hour later 😉

2. They call it beauty rest for a reason. Adequate amounts of sleep can help clear skin, brighten eyes, and reduce dark circles and puffiness. No more bloodshot, baggy eyes? I’ll sleep to that!

3. Starbucks pays their lease thanks to you. Okay, this isn’t really about the money you spend on coffee (but hey, I’m all about spending less). More sleep = less caffeine. It’s that simple. Coffee isn’t inherently bad for you–I love the stuff and will never give it up. But many studies have shown that one or two strong cups a day is the ideal amount to reap the benefits without overdoing. And for me, anyway, too much coffee leads to too much eating, which takes us to our next point.

4. The all-you-can-eat buffet won’t be your daily lunch spot. When we’re tired, we tend to eat more food. Why? Because our bodies and minds need the energy. Sleep refuels us, so not getting enough of it means your body looks elsewhere for energy. Where does it look? You guessed it: calories. For me, it’s quite noticeable; I’m ravenous when I’m super tired. Get more sleep and you’ll eat less calories.

5. Ditch the donuts. Piggybacking on the point above, not only does a lack of sleep lead to eating more, but it also leads to eating worse. If your body feels energy deprived, are you going to reach for a salad to reboot? Probably not. Most likely, you’re going to be craving fatty, sugary, or salty foods. Plus, you may feel too exhausted to spend time preparing a healthy meal. But junk food won’t give you long-term, sustained energy and, as we know, it can lead to weight gain and other health problems. Get more sleep and you’ll likely make better food choices.

6. You’ll actually use your gym membership. If you leave work with no energy and no motivation, are you going to stop by the gym and put in a good workout? Or are you going to go home, sit on the couch with a hot pocket, and watch hours of Seinfeld reruns? I’m guessing the latter. Work can be draining even with adequate sleep, but add insufficient sleep to the equation and I bet you’ll skip your workout. Get more sleep and workout more. The end.

7. Be a well-oiled machine. Whether you want to get more done at work or home, getting more sleep may help you along. More sleep can mean being both more productive and more efficient. And who doesn’t want that? Get the boring stuff done faster and you’ll have more time for fun and family. Hello new hobbies!

8. You’ll get superhuman powers. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little. BUT, if you’re body is not getting enough sleep, you are more susceptible to that bug going around the office (or the gym, or school, or wherever). Plus, messed up sleep patterns and lack of sleep can trigger headaches. Get more sleep and you could be on your way to preventing headaches as well as strengthening your immune system, thus preventing illness.

9. Look on the bright side. Bottom line: get more sleep and improve your mood. If you’re tired, you’re more likely to be irritable (aka, GRUMPY). Just think about how getting more sleep could improve your relationships with colleagues, friends, and family!

10. More and better sex. Need I say more?

So change your sleeping habits. Try to get up at a decent hour on your days off and squelch Monday morning exhaustion (which can set you up for a rough rest of your week, too). No, you don’t have to get up at 6:00 AM, but you shouldn’t sleep until noon either.

You can’t use weekends to “stock up” on sleep–it just doesn’t work that way. By breaking this habit, you’ll get more and better sleep on a daily basis, which is what our bodies (and minds!) need and want.

There are plenty of other reasons to get more sleep. What would you add to this list?

(image: RelaxingMusic)

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