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The pace of our hectic lives is constantly shortening the time we sleep. What is worse, the quality of sleep has decreased as well, so there are a lot of depressed and nervous people out there. If you’re feeling anxious as well, then it’s high time you understood the importance of sleep and the 8 major factors that disrupt it.

Ready to be productive?

Productivity is a word favored by managers of all sorts but there is more than one kind of productivity. You can be productive in personal life, as well as the office but only if you are well-rested. A good night's sleep can improve concentration and boosts personal productivity levels.

Everything from cognition to performance is connected to sleep cycles so sleep deprivation can offset our metabolism. Essentially, if you want to be a good entrepreneur, employee, husband, and friend, you need sleep and just the right amount of it.

How much sleep do we need?

We often hear that 8 hours on average should be the length of time spent sleeping. The keyword is “on average,” because individual sleep requirements vary from one person to the other. Your age, sex, body weight, life habits, etc., all influence the number of hours you need to sleep at night.

Some people can function with 6 hours of sleep, while others need at least 10. In general, children and the elderly need the most sleep, while adults can function on fewer hours of sleep at night. What is common for all people is the quality of sleep, as we should seek to sleep in one large chunk, without interruptions. 

Weight issues triggered by poor sleep

We’ve mentioned that bodyweight is a factor in sleep length but sleep deprivation can make us gain unwanted kilos. Weight gain is directly connected with sleeping too short. The correlation is so strong that sleep duration is a risk factor for obesity.

As bodybuilders already know, sleep is 2/3 of their muscles, while the remaining third are exercising and dieting. As our body recuperates over the night, so to our muscles grow. Therefore, if you wish to lose weight through exercise, getting enough quality sleep is essential.

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The room you sleep in

As you are beginning to realize the importance of a good night’s sleep, you might wonder what exactly the preconditions for getting well rested are. You should first look at the room you sleep in. Are the blinds shut at nighttime so moonlight and street lights cannot penetrate the bedroom?

Secondly, you shouldn’t feel either cold or too cold at night. In summer, you can stay cool by turning the AC on an hour before you lie down (don’t forget to switch the ACC off when you go to bed). In winter, there are down quilts that are bound to keep you warm in the coldest of nights. Moreover, the quilt’s material should be nice and soft, such as wool.

Sleep and eating habits

Sleep cycles are intrinsically connected to eating habits. On the one side, sleep-deprived individuals develop a huge appetite which leads to weight problems over time. On the other side, people who like to eat more than they recommended, have trouble falling asleep, especially if they eat in the evening, after 8PM or 9PM.

Processing food requires time, so it is not wise to eat just before sleep when our metabolism slows down. Finally, not sleeping affects hormones that are in charge of regulating appetite. If we go to bed and get up just the right time, we’ll consume fewer calories and keep our body weight in check.

Doing sports and sleep

Sleep is mandatory if you wish to build your muscle mass but it is associated with other sports as well. Enhancing athletic performance is another benefit of sleep, as professional athletes have to go early to bed for most of their lives.

Longer sleep improves speed, stamina, accuracy (for sports played with a ball), and reaction times (which is essential for race drivers). An athlete who gets less sleep over a prolonged period can expect his/her performance to drop. If you wish to stay physically active, then don’t deprive your body of sleep.

Decreasing the risk of heart disease and stroke

Sleep impacts overall health but it is especially important for the health of your heart. If you deprive yourself of sleep, the heart and the blood vessels are easily stressed, so you increase the risk of heart disease and even stroke. Therefore, getting the mandatory 8 hours of sleep (on average, remember what we said earlier) helps reduce the risk of various heart conditions.

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The less you sleep, the more depressed you are

Apart from physical health, poor sleep influences your mental health as well. In fact, there are numerous studies that have established a clear link between depression and sleeping disorders. Most people who are suffering from depression and anxiety have reported one or more problems with sleeping, from sweating to the inability to fall asleep (insomnia).

If left untreated, sleeping disorders can worsen a person’s mental health to the point that those affected start contemplating suicide. It should not come as a surprise that most suicides take place after dark when people should be fast asleep. 

Although we have listed 8 ways that sleep is important for your mental and physical wellbeing, there are many more ways sleep influences human beings. Once you become fully aware of all the factors involved, you will never again fail to go to bed on time.