Look. Sleep is delicious. A mid-afternoon nap? Oh my gosh. There's no denying that. But it's a proven fact that not only do we not get enough sleep, but the quality of sleep we are getting is only so-so. Good news, we need MORE of it! Here are some thing to consider if your sleep has been put in the back-burner.
Your Memory is Wiped
A study in Sleep found that your accuracy on working-memory tasks drops by about 15 percent if you pull an all-nighter. Sleep helps your brain consolidate information, so without that recovery time, you're unable to file away important data.
Your Waistline Expands
The importance of sleep is also true regarding weight. "Some research has suggested that sleep restriction over many years may affect metabolism, increasing the risk of obesity and type-2 diabetes," says Siobhan Banks, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. In fact, a 2007 Canadian study found that people with a deprivation of sleep—those who get only 5 or 6 hours a night—increase their likelihood of being overweight by 69 percent, compared with those who habitually sleep 7 or 8 hours.
You Get Sicker
University of Chicago researchers found that antibodies in sleep-deprived people who'd received a vaccine were about 50 percent weaker than those in well-rested people. Wake up early for that flu shot and it may not protect you so well. Harvard researchers also found that blood levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of heart-disease risk, can spike if you skip the sheets for just a few hours.
Your Cancer Risk Rises
During sleep your body produces melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate your sleep cycle. Interrupt sleep and you interrupt melatonin synthesis, which can be a problem. A 2007 University of Texas study review concluded that not only does melatonin detoxify harmful, cancer-causing free radicals, but in doing so it actually creates more antioxidants. Melatonin may also boost the effectiveness of vitamin C, another antioxidant. A good snooze could goose your morning OJ's potency.
So get your sleepy time tea, some cozy PJ's, and hit the sheets, girl!
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