Is Sleep Important For Your Health? Science Says It's The Key To A Happy Life

By
Ad failed to load

Unless the first thing your feet touch in the morning is a pile of sharp nails or surprise pet droppings, waking up on the wrong side of the bed is physically impossible. Waking up from a rough night's sleep, however, can definitely start the day off on a sour note. And if your quality of sleep can alter an entire day, how is sleep important for your health over a lifetime?

Wu-Tang Clan once said "cash rules everything around me," but new research suggests it's less about the money (money, money), and more about how your sleeping patterns control your quality of life overall. A study conducted by the Oxford Economics and National Center for Social Research asked 8,250 UK residents to complete a survey that focused on the eight pillars of well-being. Out of the eight -- some of which include sex life, job security, and relationship status -- sleep quality was found to have the most influence over whether or not a person considered themselves to be “living well.”

While I can't speak for everyone, I personally feel like I'm living my best life when I can clock in anywhere between six and eight hours of uninterrupted snooze time for multiple nights in a row. It helps me feel more alert, energized, and motivated to give my all in my day-to-day tasks. But sleep can affect much more than how awake you feel throughout the day. In fact, it influences almost every aspect of your life.

Ad failed to load

For example, those who sleep less than six hours a night are prone to inflammation and disease.

A 2010 study performed by Emory University School of Medicine's cardiology fellow Alanna Morris, MD, assessed the sleep duration and quality of 525 middle-aged participants. Results showed that acute sleep deprivation “leads to an increased production of inflammatory hormones,” as well as changes in blood vessel functionality -- aka your blood flow, and how it affects your liver.

Ad failed to load

Yikes.

Inflammation can potentially lead to a whole slew of health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. You might want to think about that the next time you're considering skipping a few hours of sleep in favor of finishing up that last season of Game of Thrones.

The FDA-recommended sweet spot for sleep is anywhere from six to eight hours a night, which science says will help reduce stress overall.

Ad failed to load

In the opening scene of Hairspray, Tracy Turnblad rises out of bed, singing and dancing until she reaches the front steps of her high school. I'm not suggesting that a full night's rest will have you serenading your neighbors with Broadway show tunes, but it'll definitely have you up and ready to conquer whatever the day has in store.

Raymonde Jean, MD, director of sleep medicine and associate director of critical care at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City, told Health,

Sleep can definitely reduce levels of stress, and with that people can have better control of their blood pressure. It's also believed that sleep affects cholesterol levels, which plays a significant role in heart disease.
Ad failed to load

Circling back to that idea of waking up on the wrong side of the bed, according to the National Sleep Organization, the right amount of sleep regulates the "feel-good brain chemicals" dopamine and serotonin, causing you to wake up feeling recharged, refreshed, and even more confident. The better you feel, the less likely it is that stressful situations can put a damper on your mood.

However, there is such a thing as getting too much sleep.

Ad failed to load

I'll be the first to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed all those adolescent years of sleeping in, sometimes past noon, only to laze around the house in my pajamas all weekend long. And while, at the time, snoozing into the early afternoon felt fantastic, sleeping in too often isn't all that great for your health.

SKelsey Down, a sleep expert and writer for Sleep Train, tells Elite Daily,

If you're sleeping too much, it might be a sign that you're not getting enough rest due to a health issue like sleep apnea, or that you are depressed. Too much sleep might lead to anxiety, lethargy, or reduced cognitive functioning.
Ad failed to load

Too little or too much of anything is never beneficial to your health, and surprisingly, that goes for how much you're sleeping, too. The recommended six to eight hours is definitely the target to aim for, so take a look at your schedule and rearrange accordingly.

Look, it's not the end of the world if you're stuck tossing and turning one night and staying in bed past 10 a.m. the next, but getting the correct amount of sleep will ensure a higher quality of life and that, in my opinion, is worth missing an episode or two of GOT.

Ad failed to load

Must Reads

Cherry Print Is One Of Summer's Biggest Fashion Trends & It's So Much Sweeter Than Florals

If there's one thing that I've had my eye on this summer it's a cool, flirty cherry-print dress. Along with versatile black tops and blue denim, the color red has become a staple in my wardrobe this year and anytime I can infuse it into my daily look…
By Ariana Marsh

Your Weekly Horoscope Is Here & Your World Is About To Be Filled With Sunshine

If you've had enough of the sleepy and heavy feeling associated with Taurus season, prepare yourself for a replenishing rush of fresh energy. As of May 20, the sun has officially moved into Gemini, and the weight on your shoulders will finally start …
By Roya Backlund

13 Must-Have Experiences You Should Buy In Your 20s, Instead Of A New Couch

Life is one big experience. When you hit your 20s, though, you start getting pulled in the direction of your responsibilities. It isn't totally a bad thing, but you don't want to get so wrapped into adulting that you forget life's zest. Amazing exper…
By Jasmine Vaughn-Hall

I Tried Kim Kardashian's Weird Beauty Obsession & I Can't Stop Taking Selfies

You've been there before: You're scrolling through your Instagram feed when you see your favorite celeb post about their favorite new product — a face serum, vitamins that will make your skin brighter, or a specialty food service. You can't help but …
By Stephanie Montes

Where You Should Vacation This Summer, According To Your Zodiac Sign

Summer is so much more than just sweating in 90 degree weather and enjoying a long, lazy break from school (if you're lucky enough to still be in school). It's a time for making exciting new plans, falling madly and hopelessly in love, opening your m…
By Roya Backlund

Wander or Bust: The Amalfi Coast May Just Be The Most Beautiful Thing You'll Ever See

Wander or Bust is an Elite Daily travel series that follows young women all over the globe to record their journeys as they experience the thrill of the far-flung and unknown. They'll track their budgets, where they stay, where they eat and drink, a…
By Kaylin Pound

6 Brutally Honest Phases Of Life After A Breakup, Because You Will Survive 

If you've ever been through a bad breakup, you know that the struggle is real. For the weeks (or possibly months, if it was a really bad one) that follow, life can be rough, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Don't believe me? Just l…
By Rachel Shatto

Here's How You Can Find Out What Your Aura Color Is

Do you remember that movie Almost Famous? More specifically, the scene where William is trying to have a phone call with his mom, but a clairvoyant Band-Aid keeps shouting "Your aura is purple!" in his face? Well, that was the first time I had ever h…
By Roya Backlund

9 Women In Their 20s Reflect On The Advice They Wish They Had At Graduation

Graduating college can feel seriously scary. You've spent your entire life in school, working and preparing for the moment you enter the real world, but what happens when you get there? What if things don't go totally according to plan? You may have …
By Brittney Morgan

3 Early Signs You Are Going To Have Undeniable Chemistry With Your Crush

I don't know if there's anything better than the excitement of having a new crush — especially when that feeling's reciprocated. The butterflies that rush through your stomach as soon as they enter a room. The electricity that zips through your veins…
By Genevieve Wheeler

Emoji Pool Floats Are Here To Match Every Mood You’re In This Summer

Searching for the perfect poolside accessory to lounge around in this summer? This year’s hottest warm weather water trend isn’t a big floppy hat or designer sunglasses — it’s an emoji pool float. That’s right: Your favorite little digital expression…
By Rachel Murphy

Here's How Your Mood & Your Favorite Music Are Secretly Connected, According To Science

If you're someone who's likely to be found with ear buds in her ears at all times, you might not realize just how often you listen to music, or the ways in which it's really affecting you. From your morning commute to the tunes you blast while you co…
By Caroline Burke

This Is How Long It Takes For A Partner To Really Trust You, According To Experts

Trust is easily one of the most important parts of a healthy relationship, but typically, it's not something that's fully there from the start because it takes some time to build. How long it takes for a partner to trust you is a question that doesn'…
By Tayi Sanusi

7 Things You Forgot To Thank Your High School Friends For & Should ASAP

Friends are a dime a dozen, but a solid, genuine group of girlfriends can be difficult to come by. When you find your tribe, you need to stick with them until the end. For some lucky people, your high school friends have been your besties since day o…
By Rachel Chapman

These 3 Zodiac Signs Will Have The Best Week, So Bask In The Glory

It's officially the second week of May, and the warmth of spring has finally arrived. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the bright weather is allowing everyone to finally break out their favorite pair of shorts. If you think the gorgeou…
By Roya Backlund

7 Men Reveal What Attracted Them To Their Last Crush & They'll Make You Swoon

He reminded me of Nate Archibald from Gossip Girl. That's legitimately what I found appealing about my most recent crush. Sorry, but it doesn't get any deeper than that. In other instances though, when I'm not trying to live out my lustful, adolescen…
By Sydnee Lyons

A Relationship Expert Reveals His Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide

"Long-distance relationships are extremely relaxing and easy to navigate," said no one in a long-distance relationship ever. Whether you are bicoastal babes or a quick two-hour train ride apart, distance makes the heart grow fonder, but it also makes…
By Kimmy Foskett

How To Start Reading Tarot When You Have No Clue Where To Begin

I've been practicing tarot almost daily as part of my self-care routine for years. My favorite part of the day is putting on a face mask, pouring myself a blushing mimosa or some coffee, busting out a few crystals, and sitting down to spend a little …
By Minerva Siegel

7 Questions You Should Be Able To Answer About Your Life By The Time You Hit 30

Nobody has all of the answers in life, but you're probably pretty proud of yourself for how far you've come. Somewhere along the way, some of us got the hang of adulting and began to appreciate the unexpected things that come with being 20-something.…
By Marisa Casciano
)}