Parallels: Sleep

How much sleep do you get?

If you’re 18-60 years old, experts say you need at least 7 hours of sleep each night.

Source: US National Institutes of Health

Getting enough sleep boosts your immune system so you’re less likely to get sick and will bounce back faster if you do.

Chronic lack of sleep depresses your immune system, and ups your risk for obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and depression.

In a 16-year study of female nurses, women who got five hours of sleep or less were 15% more likely to become obese.

Source: Nurses Health Study

Because memories are consolidated while dreaming and during deep sleep, resting long enough to move fully through those sleep stages may improve your memory.

Get ready to be foggy. Memories are not easily stored and linked in the brain when you’re sleep deprived.

Your ability to learn new things drops by 40% when you don’t get enough sleep.

Source: National Institutes of Health

When your mind and body get regular, high quality sleep, your mood and sense of well-being improves.

If you’re chronically sleep deprived, get ready to be stressed, irritable and short-tempered. You might also become anxious or depressed.

Your ability to pay attention, solve problems and be creative is directly tied to a good night’s sleep.

Chronic lack of sleep increases mistakes and reduces performance speed on tasks. You’re also more resistant to change and unable to control your emotions.

Sleeping only 6 hours a night for two full weeks is equal to pulling two all-nighters in a row.

Source: Sleep Journal

Getting adequate rest is key to remaining alert and responsive on the road.

Even one night of bad sleep can slow your reflexes and attention span, putting you and others in danger on the road.

You’re as likely to crash while driving on less than 5 hours of sleep as if you are driving over the legal alcohol limit.

Source: Foundation for Traffic Safety

A good night’s sleep can increase your sex drive and make it more likely you’ll have sex.

Being tired and cranky puts a damper on your libido, as well as that of your partner.

Every extra hour college students in romantic relationships slept corresponded to greater sexual desire, increased vaginal lubrication and a 14% rise in the chance of having sex the next day.

Source: The Journal of Sexual Medicine

You could be well-rested, happier, ready to work creatively, with an improved memory and having much better sex!

You could be overweight, dull, unfocused, forgetful and wondering why you haven’t had sex in a while.

  • Exercise regularly, vigorous is best.
  • Avoid heavy meals, cigarettes and alcohol in the evening.
  • Establish a soothing bedtime ritual with time to unwind.
  • Go to bed and get up at the same time, even on weekends.
  • Keep your room cool, dim and noise-free.
Learn more about how sleep affects your health here Tips

Editorial Lead Meera Senthilingam

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Research Sandee LaMotte

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