10 Reasons To Sleep That Have Nothing To Do With Being Tired

Huffington Post: Healthy Living

Raise your hand if you've already let out a big yawn today.

Our collective culture of busyness makes it seem acceptable to operate in a state of sleepiness, when it's anything but. Here's the truth: You're doing more harm than good by avoiding rest in order to squeeze an extra hour or two out of your day.

It's time to take back control of your schedule for the sake of sleep. Aside from being downright exhausted, there are plenty of other reasons you should prioritize those Zs. Here are just a few incentives to hit the pillow:

1. Sleep will improve your memory.

Forget the brain games: A sharper mind happens when you close your eyes. Research shows that sleep can boost your short-term memory. It also helps you retain information better the following day, according to Harvard Medical School's Division of Sleep Medicine. No wonder school was so miserable after you pulled an all nighter.

2. You won't be such a grouch.

Feeling a little "slangry?" Blame those lack of Zs. A 2015 study found that sleep deprivation makes it difficult to process emotions, provoking unpleasant reactions to relatively neutral triggers. More sleep = a happier mood.

3. It might boost your sex drive.

The chances of having enjoyable moments of intimacy with a partner when you're tired are slim. Research shows a lack of sleep may be linked to erectile dysfunction and a lower libido. More sleep and better sex? Sounds like a win-win.

4. Getting those Zs may help you prolong your life.

The fountain of youth may not exist, but seven to nine hours a night is a close second. Research suggests that less sleep may be associated with a shorter lifespan, and a constant state of exhaustion can also affect your overall quality of life.

5. You'll have a better defense against the flu.

Ditch those cold remedies. The best way to ward off pesky bacteria and viruses is through healthy habits (wash those hands!) and good night's sleep. Research suggests that a lack of shuteye can increase your likelihood of getting sick. Hit the pillow to toughen up that immune system.

6. It might make you more creative.

An innovative mind is a well-rested mind. According to researchers from Harvard University, creative problem-solving is much easier after sleep. Additionally, the state between being awake and asleep -- known as hypnagogia -- may also spark some imaginative thinking. That "eureka!" moment may just be a few Zs away.

7. Sleep promotes a healthy weight and muscle mass.

Transforming your health doesn't just happen in the kitchen and the gym, it also happens in your bed. One study found that dieters who got more rest lost more body fat while following their weight-loss plan. What's more, research suggests sleep deprivation may lead to muscle atrophy. Yikes.

8. It will ease stress.

Ever felt so overwhelmed that you just wanted to take a nap? There's a reason for that. Sleep and stress are inextricably linked. Hit the sack and you'll not only notice a change in your mood, but lower blood pressure.

9. You'll be a better driver.

PSA: Getting behind the wheel when you're sleepy is just as dangerous as operating a vehicle when you're drunk. Drowsy driving is responsible for more than 100,000 accidents each year and results in more than 1,500 deaths. Your reactions and judgments are impaired when you haven't had enough sleep, making the road a hazardous place.

10. It feels so. darn. good.

Is there anything more satisfying than waking up well rested after a long night of sleep? Answer: Nope.

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