If your parents telling you to get some sleep isn't enough, here are the more selfish reasons why they're right.

It’s so easy to sacrifice another eight hours sleep if everyone you know is going on another piss up, or if you’ve got a mountain of work to do and did nothing in the day. Unfortunately, for students like myself, the night time is when we’re most motivated. Yet there may be a good side to having a night off and giving yourself that well-earned rest. If you’re still not convinced, some of these reasonings might just help you to hit the hay a little earlier. 

Your memory will thank you

It’s true - you’re actually better off sleeping than staying up until 4am, trying to open your eyes long enough to read your notes. If your body is constantly exhausted, any information it retains will likely go straight over your head. However, when you sleep your mind actually stays alert and goes into ‘consolidation’. This is where it practices the skills or things you’ve learnt that day - it’s actually more beneficial to lie down and recite your notes in bed until you fall asleep than staying awake. People often recommend that the last thing you do before you sleep is read what you need to learn, and they’re not far off.

You could live longer

Admittedly this probably isn’t a student’s main concern right now, but it’s been proven. Deaths are more likely to occur when you’re 50-70 if you never have enough sleep as opposed to when you do. People that get six hours sleep or less per night are also more likely to get an illness that will affect them long term. Having a body that’s not constantly running on whatever it can find really benefits how good a day you have too - and there’s many more of them to come should you find the time to sleep properly every night!

Boost your marks

Even when you don’t have an immediate assessment or something that requires memory, sleep can still help you. People who don’t get enough sleep routinely have problems with their attention span. When your body needs a rest, it won’t let you function as normal because you’d get too exhausted too quickly - instead, it changes your attitude. Adults find they get weary, are unable to retain as much of the world around them, and get frequent headaches. Kids go into overdrive if they’re tired and end up hyperactive, unable to settle down enough to learn either.

Keep your weight balanced

Anybody who values their weight as something important in their life, whether you’re into fitness or just appearance, this is crucial. If you’re on a diet and you have a good night’s sleep every night, your body will work more efficiently to burn fat. If you are sleep deprived and attempt a diet, your body won’t have the energy to do this and may instead try and get rid of muscle. Sleep and metabolism are both found in one section of the brain, so a restless person may find they’re constantly hungry, whereas someone with sleep manages to go about their dieting a lot more easily.

So you can drive

Those who know the dangers of drink driving or drug-induced driving may want to listen to this. Sleep can actually be as damaging to your driving abilities and perception as having a few drinks is. If you’re really tired and driving, and come across a situation, your decision making skills and reaction times are slowed down significantly. You may find in the same accident, you managed to avoid injury purely because you were more awake. Car crashes are actually more likely to be a result of a really tired driver than one who drinks - hence all those ‘take a break’ signs on the roads. They’re more than just adverts!

The perks of mental health

If you don’t fancy being constantly irritable then getting sleep may be the option for you. If you’re always tired, you’re more likely to end up depressed as sleep decreases anxiety. Without that, the anxiety has nowhere to go and instead builds up. Not giving your body time to relax is proven to make you more emotionally unstable, as you don’t get a chance to stop and recharge. Holding off on sleep because you know the next day will bring you a huge lie in, won’t help you reap the benefits of sleep either. Finding a healthy balance between early night and lie-ins will help your mind and body the most. 

Better sex

If you were able to read the rest of those and still think lack of sleep is your preferred choice, this is the real motivator. A lot of couples genuinely feel like their sex life diminishes because one or both of them is always too tired (a huge problem if you don’t like sleeping and also work a long day job). If you’re more awake and alert, you’re more likely to jump at the thought of wasting energy in bed aside from recoiling at the thought of being active. It’s also more beneficial for your love life too - couples who sleep more tend to want to get out and experience more things with each other and not waste days away doing nothing (though there’s nothing wrong with a good lazy day in).

“ Mother believed that I should have an enormous amount of sleep, and so I was never really tired when I went to bed. This was the best time of day, when I could lie in the vague twilight, drifting off to sleep, making up dreams inside my head the way they should go ”
– Sylvia Plath

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Written by Hannah Newberry, 10 months ago
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