6 Health Benefits of Getting Enough Sleep


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When trying to get healthy the first things most people tend to focus on are eating healthier and exercising more. These things are obviously important, but there are SO MANY other factors that affect our health and wellbeing besides the food that we eat and what workouts we do. These things include career happiness, spiritual wellbeing, hormones, stress and sleep. Sleep often gets pushed to the back burner, but getting enough shut-eye is actually one of the most important things we can do for our health!

Average adults typically need between 7.5-8 hours of sleep a night, but some people require up to 9. 6-7 hours or less is considered too little sleep. One night isn’t a big deal, but getting 6 hours or less for just one week can lead to serious issues.

6 Health Benefits of Getting Enough Sleep

I was born a sleep lover. My parents tell stories about me sleeping through the night almost immediately as a baby and literally almost jumping out of their arms to try to get in my crib each night. I’m also quite lucky because I can fall asleep almost anywhere. I’ve been known to snooze during movies, on planes, in the car, during lectures in college and even at parties and bars. <– I basically turn into a pumpkin past midnight.

On the flip side of things, I’ve found that my when my body doesn’t get enough rest it revolts. I’m lethargic and stressed, my eyes are puffy, I have trouble focusing and I want to eat all.the.things.

Lately I know I haven’t been getting enough sleep. Isaac tends to stay up much later than me and my bedtime has slowly gotten later because of it. Unfortunately I still wake up pretty early so my body isn’t getting the hours it requires. One of my goals this summer is to get more sleep, which means going to bed earlier AND spending less time looking at my phone before bed.

To motivate myself (and you if you’re in the same boat) I did a little research about the health benefits of sleep. I already knew that sleep was important but man, I was still shocked by some of the stuff I read. Are you ready for it?

Sleep makes you happier. A good night of sleep will help you wake up energized, cheerful and ready to take on the day however lack of sleep can lead to symptoms of depression, lower self-esteem and anxiety. <– Pretty crazy, right?

Sleep balances your hormones. While sleeping your body has time to release, rebalance, and replenish hormones. Adequate sleep improves insulin sensitivity, helps balance female hormones, reduces cortisol, and enhances the release of testosterone, DHEA and growth hormone.

Sleep boosts your immune system. Getting enough rest is critical for a healthy immune system. Research has proven that chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, colds the flu and even breast cancer.

Sleep increases your libido. Definitely not a bad thing considering there are additional health benefits of having sex as well.

Sleep makes you more attractive. It’s called beauty sleep for a reason! Lack of sleep causes dark circles, bags under your eyes and makes your skin look dull. When you get enough sleep your body has time to repair and replenish it’s cells — your whole body, including your skin, renews itself. Adequate sleep can help with acne, wrinkles, hair health and give you a healthy glow.

Sleep can help you lose weight.

  • Children and adults that don’t get enough sleep tend to weigh more than those that get enough.
  • Lack of sleep disrupts your hormones — specifically your hunger and fullness hormones (ghrelin and leptin). When you’re sleep deprived your body increases ghrelin production so you’re appetite increases. Leptin is decreased, which signals to your brain to eat more food so you’re likely to overeat as well. To top it off, lack of sleep also increases cortisol (the stress hormone) so your body is more likely to conserve energy and store fat. Not ideal!
  • If you get enough sleep you’ll have more energy to exercise.
  • An earlier bed time means you’re less likely to stay up and snack after dinner.

These points just touch the surface. If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of sleep here are a few articles I found interesting.

How many hours of sleep do you typically get each night? Do you notice a difference in how you feel and look when you don’t get enough zzz’s? 

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

More about Brittany
Chicken fajita filling on a sheet pan with a wooden spoon. Tortillas are resting on the bottom of the sheet pan.
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  1. I am basically a pumpkin after midnight too! I’m in college and I probably go to bed earlier than any of my friends. I’m definitely in the minority on campus. But I love the mornings, and I agree that you function best when you sleep. No all nighters for this girl!

  2. I get a little under 6 hours of sleep a night and it is too little! I want more sleep! 🙁

  3. This is something I can totally relate to! I, like you, can sleep virtually anywhere (at one point there was a Facebook album of me from one of my college friends of me asleep like in the car and other funny places, haha!) and I can definitely tell with how I feel when I get less sleep. I’m my best self when I’m working out, eating well and sleeping well. Let’s just say I’m not always my best self. But, I’m working on it! #constantworkinprogress

  4. I defiantly need more sleep in my life. I have a hard time falling asleep at night but that could be cased by how anxious I am to get out of here! I find the weather doesn’t help either when you don’t have a fan or air conditioning it’s impossible!

  5. Love the picture of you and Olive. I have the best mattress thanks to my sister and my mother (BD present ) and I usually do not have issues sleeping but since going back to the gym and classes over at 8:30 ish I have had a hard time getting to sleep. I get up at 5 530 every am and it’s not been a good week. And yes all those things are true. I need 8 to 9 hours. But I know “this too shall pass” thank you for the information. 🙂

  6. Both my husband and I are light sleepers and can have a hard time getting enough sleep — not out of a lack of trying! I recently adopted a towel over the eyes, which transitioned to eye masks for both of us. We sleep so much more soundly and for longer periods now. Anyone with sleep issues, try it out! You might be surprised with how much it can help!

    1. I’ve never tried using a sleep mask, but I know people swear by them. I’m so glad that it’s helped you and your hubby get more sleep. Thanks for the tip.

  7. I definitely don’t get enough sleep, but I can’t seem to go to bed at a decent time either. It’s something I need to work on.

  8. I wish I could sleep as easily as you! 🙂 That’s so great. I do need a certain amount of hours every night or I start to feel completely sleep deprived. It’s so important for all of us. Good luck with your new routine!

  9. Sleep is sooo important, but I definitely skimp on it sometimes too. I wish I had your ability to sleep anytime, anywhere 🙂 Once I am up, I’m up. It is hard for me to take naps because I have a constant to do list running though my head. I am pretty good about going to bed at a consistent time throughout the week, but I find stress at work can carry home at times and cause me to have a much harder time falling asleep and staying asleep. It is definitely something I am working on. I hope you are able to too 🙂

  10. Great post and some great points you have made. Its hard to sleep right now with the summer heat!! Yes the recommended hours of sleep a night are 7-8 hours. I have 8-9 myself and I know I will probably feel ok in the morning but my bad habbit, I will go to bed and then I will lie there looking at my phone. I’m not to sure if I agree with sleep makes you happier, I know when I go to bed early and get the right amount of hours sleep I still don’t wake up full of energy bouncing around. But I will agree with lack of sleep can lead to symptoms of depression, lower self-esteem and anxiety.

  11. My project is nearing the deadline. I tried to stay up all night to make the final ideas. What is the result? Things are not much better. In return, the next day, I went to bed early, and woke up full of ideas, I solved the remaining problems in the morning, instead of staying up all night. A healthy sleep is really helpful for you

  12. I awake to see the bad dreams, I can’t fulfill my sleep a day. I’ll follow this and try it by an Cortisol supplements !! Thanks for helpful information. – Nidra Nutrition