Let’s face it: most of the population runs on very busy and tight schedules, which results in a deficit number of hours spent asleep. Truth be told, a good night’s rest should be #1 on everyone’s list. Lack of sleep can cause multiple issues with your how your brain thinks and interprets things. A few hours of sleep-may result in impaired attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving. Lack of sleep can also contribute to weight gain as sleep helps regulate the levels of the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which play a part in telling our bodies when we’re hungry or full.

If you’re in school and plan on pulling an all-nighter for a test the next morning…DON’T. A few hours of sleep will make all of your cramming pointless. The best thing you can do is to study what you can during the day or only up until 10:00pm to ensure that you get  at least 8 hours of sleep for the next day. Cramming in information and getting little to no sleep can almost guarantee that you won’t remember close to the amount of information you looked over cramming till 3am.

Staying in the habit of only a few hours a sleep per night for a long period of time can also result in more than dark circles under your eyes. A lack of sleep over a long period of time may also lead to depression.  In a 2005 Sleep in America poll, people who were diagnosed with depression or anxiety were more likely to sleep less than six hours at night (WebMD).  During different cycles of sleep patterns you experience during the night your body adjusts and repairs itself. Your body releases different hormones depending on how deep of a state of sleep your body falls into.

The average adult needs 8-9 hours of sleep per night, and if the body isn’t getting that then it begins to cut itself short of essential healing processes. beginning of your sleep cycle is called NREM sleep, which repeats itself about every hour and a half of sleep. NREM sleep consists of 4 different stages.

The first and second stage of sleep is considered to be a lighter sleep, while the third and fourth stage is when the body is in a deeper sleep. During the third and fourth stage of sleep your blood pressure drops, breathing becomes slower, the blood supply to muscles increase, tissue growth and repair occurs, energy is restored, and hormones are released. During REM sleep, this occurs about an hour and a half after falling asleep and reoccurs every 90 minutes, getting longer each time. REM sleep contributes to providing energy to the body and supporting daytime performance (sleepfoundation).

As you can see, sleep is probably the most healing process you can provide for your body. Without adequate sleep, you are doing your mind and body a disservice that can manifest in some serious consequences. So rest up to give your body the best opportunity to tackle your hectic day!