When you don’t get enough sleep, you often feel tired and sluggish the next day. In addition to causing you to not feel so great, a lack of sleep can also impact many other things in your life. Here are five reasons you should get seven hours of sleep every night.

Health Benefits

Not getting enough sleep has direct links to increased risk of heart disease and failure, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Parts of sleep cycles also help your brain to consolidate memories, which improves your ability to stay alert, solve problems, and concentrate. When you don’t get at least seven hours of sleep, you will probably notice that it is more difficult to use your brain properly. It’s hard to get quality sleep on an old mattress, so shop for one that fits your sleep style. You can check out mattress reviews to find the best mattress options for you.

Safety Concerns

Lack of sleep is also tied to traffic and other accidents. In fact, some of the largest disasters in recent history, including the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl and the Exxon Valdez oil spill, were caused in part by sleep deprivation. The NHTSA estimates that more than 100,000 auto accidents are also linked to fatigue, and people under 25 years old are most likely to cause these accidents. If you are working a job that requires physical labor, you are more likely to have an at-work injury if you didn’t sleep enough the night before.

Improved Mental Health

According to a recent poll, those who suffer from anxiety or depression are more likely to sleep fewer than six hours per night on average. Insomnia also has a strong link to depression and is one of the first symptoms that people who have this condition notice. Losing sleep can also aggravate depression symptoms, making it much more difficult to overcome this illness. When you allow your brain to shut off and rejuvenate for a full seven hours per night, you can often see improvements in mental health.

Keep Yourself Young

baby

Image via Flickr by Minoru Nitta

After a night when you didn’t sleep well or went to bed too late, you might notice that your eyes look puffy and your skin looks sallow for a time. Studies also show that a continuous lack of sleep results in dark circles around the eyes and fine lines that won’t go away. This is because the body produces more cortisol, a stress hormone, when it doesn’t get proper rest, and cortisol breaks down the skin’s collagen. Kids need extra sleep, since the body won’t produce enough human growth hormone without enough rest.

Weight Control

Not getting enough sleep can also result in obesity, since sleep loss tends to stimulate the appetite and increase cravings for foods that are higher in fat and carbs. Medical researchers are looking at adding adequate sleep to weight loss programs.

If you aren’t getting between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, consider making changes to your schedule so you can accomplish this goal. Better sleep will help you perform better in all areas of life and help to keep you safe and healthy.