5 reasons you should get 8 hours of sleep

Man Waking Up In Morning And Stretching On BedAs the alarm clock lets out that obnoxious chirp, you look over and realize you’ve only slept for an hour. And you know that no matter how much caffeine you pump into your body, you’re going to be dragging today. So you throw your legs over the bed, rub your eyes, and convince your body to prepare for the day.

The occasional bad night’s sleep is normal and somewhat expected. But if you tend to make a habit of living off of no sleep, your body will pay for it in the long run. Positive sleep habits are good for your health, and not just in the “I’m-so-tired-and-should-have-slept-more” way. Creating good sleeping habits can help you in more ways than simply feeling refreshed each morning. Check it out:

Improve concentration. If you find that you have a hard time staying focused throughout the day, it could be because you’re not sleeping well. When you get the appropriate number of ZZZs, your body is primed to handle the day and think more clearly. Adequate sleep allows you to concentrate more, which is good for your job or studies.

Increase weight loss. Positive sleep habits can also help in weight loss ventures. Studies have shown that those who get adequate sleep are more likely to experience greater results in weight loss efforts.  Reports have also shown that those actively striving for weight loss are known to have more fat loss when sleeping well. So if you’re looking to shed a few pounds, make sure you’re eating right, exercising and sleeping enough.

Decrease depression.  When it comes to sleep and depression, the relationship is complex, according to the National Sleep Foundation. If you suffer from depression, you may struggle with sleeping well. On the other hand, adequate sleep can help ward off depression.

Prevent injury. Let’s be honest, when you’re tired you’re more likely to make mistakes. Sufficient sleep helps keep you alert when driving or dealing with heavy equipment, which may save your life.

Fight heart disease. While you’re catching some much-needed snooze time, your body is hard at work. Sleep decreases C-reactive protein, which is a marker for inflammation. A high level of C-reactive protein is associated with an increase risk for heart disease.

How much sleep do you need?

Studies are varied on how much sleep a person needs to function at their peak. A research study done on women, ages 50-79, suggests that the body needs more than 5 hours of sleep but not more than 6.5 hours of sleep.

Another study says that athletes perform at their top level if they have 10 hours of sleep.

Eight hours of sleep is sufficient for most people. The truth is, only you can determine what amount of sleep is right for your body.

How do I limit back pain at night?

The spark of pain that starts in your back and travels down your spine is one of the quickest ways to ruin a night’s sleep. It seems no matter how you toss, turn or reposition your body that nothing is comfortable. If your back pain is keeping you up at night and your mattress is more than 7 years old, consider investing in a new mattress.

For lower back pain, you can try using a lumbar support pillow while you’re sleeping. If your neck is your source of pain, make sure you’re using the proper pillows. Pillows that are thick may cause your neck to be strained. Try a memory foam pillow or a thin pillow to help ease your pain.

If your poor sleeping habits persist, you should consider visiting a physician and participating in a sleep study. Sleep is vital to your overall well-being, so make sure you’re getting the right amount of sleep.

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