Yeah, yeah, we know: sleep is important. We can feel it when, after a night of tossing and turning, we’re forced to wake up, drag ourselves to the shower, and prepare our bodies and minds for another day of slogging through commutes, tasks, and human interactions. Few things are quite as miserable as poor quality sleep.
Yes, sleep’s magical powers are common knowledge, but that doesn’t stop many of us from continuously skimping on quality rest. And according to dozens of sleep studies conducted at various universities throughout the country, we’re paying for it. Sleep allows the body to defend against emotional outbursts, hormone imbalances, psychiatric problems, concentration loss, and even negative thoughts. Not sleeping well lowers the quality of our lives significantly, making proper sleep a highly worthwhile investment.
Catching up on sleep can morph you from a perpetual grouch into a peaceful member of society—able to navigate your day with ease, calm, and (dare we say it?) even a little happy dance. Below, find evidence of the importance of sleep for happiness…and maybe think about hitting the sack early tonight.
Sleep Regulates Emotional Reactions
According to an article on LiveScience, researcher and neuroscientist Matthew Walker conducted experiments on sleep deprivation at UC Berkeley, and his findings were shocking. Walker gathered healthy participants and asked some to sleep regularly, and others to stay awake for 35 hours. Then, he asked them all to view several images—some neutral, some negative—and monitored their brain activity. Walker claims of the sleep-deprived participants:
"They became more than 60 percent more reactive to negative emotional stimuli. That's a whopping increase—the emotional parts of the brain just seem to run amok."
The importance of sleep for emotional balance during the trials and tribulations of everyday life cannot be overrated. Letting your body get the rest it needs will insure you don’t totally lose it when that Mercedes cuts you off in traffic.