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8 things that will happen when you get more sleep

15 Mar 2017 –– Tips & Advice
8 things that will happen when you get more sleep

Wakey wakey! It's time to open your eyes to the benefits of a good night's sleep. OK, so we all know it's good for you. But switching off the TV, logging off Facebook and getting enough shut-eye is still something too many of us struggle with.

So how much is enough? Most healthy adults need between seven and nine hours a night. Sound like a lot? You could be suffering from the symptoms of sleep deprivation, which can affect you in your work and personal life.

To help you reach your productivity potential, here are 10 amazing things that will happen when you get your eight hours.

1. You'll have more energy

Sleep is vital for brain energy. Sleepiness is a major culprit in preventing us to find the energy to exercise and eat healthily.

When we get enough sleep, it energises us and sets us up for a happy, healthy mindset that will see you through a busy day.

2. Your memory will improve

Countless studies like this one have shown sleep is crucial to memory consolidation. A good kip can help us learn new skills and process information encountered over waking hours. It's why babies and teenagers need more sleep than us, in fact. The sheer volume of information they acquire on a daily basis requires a long sleep to instill itself into their brains.

Matthew Walker, PhD, director of BIDMC's Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory, says: "When you're asleep, it seems as though you are shifting memory to more efficient storage regions within the brain. Consequently, when you awaken, memory tasks can be performed both more quickly and accurately and with less stress and anxiety."

3. You'll feel less stress and anxiety

According to the American Psychological Association, adults who sleep fewer than eight hours a night report higher stress levels than those who sleep at least eight hours a night. Feeling stressed leads us to lie awake at night worrying. This turns into a destructive sleep-stress cycle. The APA's chart belows shows the symptoms.

4. You'll control your weight

Sleepiness can be a major saboteur in our quest to be healthy. It's a regular excuse for ditching that workout, and can lead to us making unhealthy choices as we search for a quick energy fix through sugary snacks and lattes, or reach for so-called "comfort foods" to cheer ourselves up.

Yet the effects of sleep deprivation go beyond that. According to sleep expert Michael Breus PHD, it affects our metabolism too. He says: “It’s not so much that if you sleep, you will lose weight, but if you are sleep-deprived, meaning that you are not getting enough minutes of sleep or good quality sleep, your metabolism will not function properly."

Hormones called ghrelin and leptin are behind this. Ghrelin tells us when to eat. When we're tired, we have more ghrelin so we eat more. Leptin is the hormone responsible for telling us when to stop eating, and we have less of it when we're tired.

Beat the ghrelin by getting plenty of shut-eye, and you'll soon find yourself making healthy decisions to invigorate both your body and mind.

5. You'll live longer

While experts aren't sure whether it's a case of cause or effect, it's nevertheless a fact that those of us who get too much or too little sleep tend to have shorter lifespans.

A Chinese study of around 16,000 adults over 65 revealed those who regularly slept enough had better health and longevity. With one of the largest elderly populations in the world, it's believed China has almost 40.5 million over 75s in its 1.3 billion population - so it's a great place to measure the benefits of good quality sleep.

6. You'll have a better chance of avoiding accidents

Did you know drowsy driving is a bigger killer than drink driving? It's responsible for 20% of road accidents and 500 UK road deaths a year. In fact, that's more than double the number of deaths caused by drink driving, which stood at 240 in 2014.

Just one bad night's sleep can have a more serious affect on your driving than having an alcoholic drink. Most of us wouldn't dream of getting behind the wheel after one too many, yet we'll jump into the car to head out on the school run, commute or even a long-distance trip.

Stopping for a coffee or even a nap is only a quick fix and can't replace the benefits of a proper night's sleep.

Dr David Rapoport, MD, director of the NYU Sleep Disorders Program, says: "Sleepiness is grossly underrated as a problem by most people, but the cost to society is enormous. Sleeplessness affects reaction time and decision making."

7. Your skin will glow

They don't call it beauty sleep for nothing. Studies have shown good sleepers have better skin which shows fewer signs of ageing. Our bodies repair and recover as we sleep, boosting blood flow to the skin which gives you that healthy glow.

Eyes are the first to take a hit after a bad night's sleep, appearing puffy with those dreaded bags when you're tired. Clock up your eight hours and watch those peepers brighten up more and more every day.

8. You'll feel less pain

Research has shown we can withstand more pain when we've had a good night's sleep. A study tested how long participants could hold their finger to a heat source. Those who had slept for an average of 8.9 hours managed 25% longer than those who slept for just 7.14 hours on average.

Incredibly, this is thought to be the equivalent to taking a 60mg dose of painkiller codeine, twice a day.

So how do we go about getting great quality sleep, starting tonight?

Check out this infographic from Dreams for some handy hints. And, if finding a new office is one of those niggling worries keeping you awake at night, we have fully serviced offices at competitive rates in great locations. Find your nearest one here >