In 2013, the untimely demise of three millennials reached international headlines. Li Yuan, a 24-year-old advertising employee in Beijing, died of cardiac arrest after working overtime the month before his death. Months after, Moritz Erhardt collapsed in the shower after pulling all-nighters eight times in a two week period. He was an intern at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London. He was 21 when he passed away. In December of the same year, 24-year-old copywriter Paramita Duran died of exhaustion after working overtime for three days.
The sad endings of potentially brilliant individuals underscore the importance of sleeping well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that insufficient sleep is too prevalent across age brackets and socio-economic status that it has become a public health problem.
“Persons experiencing sleep insufficiency are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as from cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity,” the agency warns.
Recently, the impact of sleep deprivation has been fatal to hardworking millennials.
It doesn’t matter how talented or driven you are. If you neglect your basic physiological needs, you won’t be able to think well, create things or do anything productive. Here are five benefits of healthy sleeping that you should know.
A good night’s sleep boosts your brain power
Sure, it’s exams week. We all know that. Not surprisingly, you’ve known about this dreaded period weeks or months ago. While you need to pass all your tests, you don’t have to punish your mind and body for your failure to manage your time. Dr. Robert Stickgold, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says that the brain neurons of sleep-deprived individuals are overworked and unable to coordinate information properly. Thus, students who are up all night lose their ability to access previously learned information.
Boost your brain power by getting seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep on a comfortable memory foam mattress. Do your memorization right before bedtime and observe how smoothly you remember details the next day.
Quality sleep spurs creativity
No matter how hard you squeeze your mind for creative inspiration, nothing useful will flow out if your brain cells are tired. Consulting firm McKinsey & Company encourages companies to promote healthy sleep because of the hefty organizational cost of a sleep-deprived workforce. The report noted that lack of sleep inhibits creativity, problem-solving and even good working relationships in the workplace.
Researchers at Harvard University and Boston College have similar findings: better sleep spurs the creative process. If you’re having troubles falling asleep at night, do a quick exercise during the day. Explore ways to supercharge productivity through quality slumber. Place a sofa bed in your home office for quick naps throughout the day.
Healthy sleep, healthy weight
Dr. Donald Hensrud, a Mayo Clinic expert, shares another importance of sleeping everyday. Adult men and women who rarely meet the recommended hours of sleep are likely to consume more high-calorie foods resulting to extra pounds.
“One explanation might be that sleep duration affects the hormones regulating hunger—ghrelin and leptin—and stimulates the appetite. Another contributing factor might be that lack of sleep leads to fatigue and results in less physical activity,” says Dr. Hensrud.
University of Chicago researchers also revealed that well-rested dieters lose more fat than their sleep-deprived peers. The latter shed more muscle mass, thus appearing sluggish and unhealthy.
Sleep like a baby for an ageless skin
Interestingly, people will waste no time purchasing the latest gadgets or newest anti-aging creams but will not even give a second look at mattress for sale ads. Do you know that the best way to delay aging is by getting adequate sleep each night? Your growth hormones, instrumental to cellular renewal, only function at night time. If you don’t get enough sleep, your blood capillaries tighten up and impede the flow of nutrients to the skin. This explains why people who regularly stay up all night, whether for work or leisure, have dull-looking skin and hair.
Help yourself attain much-needed beauty rest at night. Create an optimal sleeping environment by keeping your room temperature cool and getting a foam mattress that supports your body’s pressure points.
Sleep well, live better
A study by researchers from the University of Warwick and University of Naples Medical School found that sleeping less than six hours each night is linked to 12% higher risk of premature death. It is worth noting, however, that dozing off for nine hours or more is associated with a 30% increased risk of dying early. The key is healthy sleep.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adolescents (14- to17-year-olds) should be getting eight to 10 hours of sleep each night. Adults, aged 18 to 64, must have seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep, while older adults aged 65 and older should rest for seven to eight hours every night. Anything more or less can have disastrous effects to the body.
Healthy sleep also means getting the zzz’s earlier than later. One importance of sleeping early is lowering your risk of developing chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart diseases, diabetes and kidney problems.
Sometimes, the best things can be the most difficult. With the immediate temptations of Netflix-binging or late-night PS4 gaming, it’s hard to get sufficient sleep. It’s even tougher to hit the sack early in the evening. The secret is discipline. You may know everything about the science of healthy sleep but if you don’t push yourself to make lifestyle changes, your knowledge is useless.
Help yourself. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as well as rigorous exercise in the evening,. These will keep your senses awake for hours. Make your bedroom as relaxing as possible—from the lighting to the quality of your memory foam. Acquire a bedtime routine such as quick stretching, reading a book (preferably not your calculus textbook) or drinking hot milk. Finally, practice meditation. This will clear your mind and unload stressors that keep you up all night.