In the past, sleep was often ignored by doctors and surrounded by myths. Now, though, we are beginning to understand the importance of sleep to overall health and well-being. We’ve learned, for example, that when people get less than 6 to 7 hours of sleep each night, they are at a greater risk of developing diseases.All the more reason to get some sleep, right? Here are 10 reasons why you should call it an early night.

Poor Sleep Can Make You Fat

Poor sleep is strongly linked to weight gain.People with short sleep duration tend to weigh significantly more than those who get adequate sleep In fact, short sleep duration is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity.In one extensive review study, children and adults with short sleep duration were 89% and 55% more likely to become obese, respectively .The effect of sleep on weight gain is believed to be mediated by numerous factors, including hormones and motivation to exercise.

Sleep Reduces Stress

When your body is sleep deficient, it goes into a state of stress. The body’s functions are put on high alert, which causes high blood pressure and the production of stress hormones. High blood pressure increases your risk for heart attack and stroke, and the stress hormones make it harder to fall asleep.

Improve memory

Your mind is surprisingly busy while you snooze. During sleep you can strengthen memories or “practice” skills learned while you were awake (it’s a process called consolidation).”If you are trying to learn something, whether it’s physical or mental, you learn it to a certain point with practice,” says Dr. Rapoport, who is an associate professor at NYU Lang one Medical Center. “But something happens while you sleep that makes you learn it better.”

In other words if you’re trying to learn something new—whether it’s Spanish or a new tennis swing—you’ll perform better after sleeping.

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