Get Your Beauty Sleep

18 Feb

Sleep is perhaps the one thing that’s easiest to check off of our list of things we don’t have enough time for. As we progress in life, things get busier and busier, and sometimes it just doesn’t seem like there are enough hours in one day. Many of us start staying up later and getting up earlier to get everything done, but that’s not a healthy practice and here’s why:

 

When we sleep, our brains consolidate our memories. That means that if you don’t get enough sleep, your brain will have a harder time remembering things. “Sleep helps strengthen memories,” says Dr. Robert Stickgold of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. “So if it’s the night before an exam and you have the option of cramming more or sleeping, better to sleep.”

 

If we don’t get the proper amount of sleep, our brains don’t have time to get their “filing” done, which can make details especially difficult to recall. On the other hand, if we do get enough sleep, our brains sort through the information we’ve learned, picking and choosing which things to keep and which to discard.

 

While we sleep, our brains also analyze information, finding new patterns and insights we might not have seen before. “Sleep on it,” it turns out, is legitimately good advice. Sleep gives the brain time to refine, clean up, and prune.

 

Research done on toddlers at the University of Arizona suggests that sleep also helps prepare our bodies and brains for the next day. This is a restorative process that is unable to occur if we don’t get to sleep.

 

Essentially, our brains use sleep as a time to reorganize information, which is constantly coming in during the day. Dan Schacter of Harvard hypothesizes that “memory is about the future and not about the past… it’s all about knowing what’s worth saving and what you’ll need in the future.”

 

So next time you think you’re saving yourself trouble by going on five hours of sleep a night instead of eight, think again. Sleep deprivation can contribute to memory loss, loser work productivity levels, and many more problems. That extra hour of staying up isn’t really worth it if you end up spending two hours being sluggish and trying to wake up the next morning.

 

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