Everyone has experienced how good it feels to wake up after a good night’s sleep: refreshed, alert, and ready for whatever the day brings. On the other hand, we all know what it feels like when we don’t get enough sleep, and many of us know how little sleep over an extended period of time feels: drowsy, slow to react, irritable, or just no energy. Sadly, the latter is probably more familiar to most Americans today. What most people may not realize is the actual danger they are putting their bodies in by consistently lacking sufficient sleep. Recent studies are linking a consistent lack of sleep with increased risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. This link describes the Harvard Medical School’s six reasons to not scrimp on sleep.
One study performed with teenagers showed that teens who consistently do not get adequate sleep not only perform poorly in academics and athletics and put themselves at greater risk of accident or injury, but they also put themselves at greater risk of depression. The study revealed that teens who’s bedtime is mid-night or later are 24% more likely to develop depression and 20% more likely to have suicidal thoughts. Furthermore, teens who sleep five hours or less a night are 71% more likely to develop depression and 48% more likely to have suicidal thoughts than those who sleep eight hours a night.
So, maybe we ought to be a little more diligent at getting to bed on time; not just because we have a lot to do tomorrow, but because we want to have as many tomorrows as we can.