12 Sleep Facts That Prove Skipping Shut-Eye is a Bad Idea

Posted by Seraine Page on Thu, Mar, 04, 2021

sleep-01World Sleep Day is March 19, a perfect time to share sleep facts with your staff.

Prior to the pandemic, millions suffered from insomnia. Now that we’re a full year into the pandemic, those who never had sleep issues suddenly do. Because sleeping is a powerful way for the body to repair itself, its importance can’t be emphasized enough.

When you don’t get enough quality sleep, it does more than make you feel exhausted. It impacts everything from your physical and mental health to your daily functioning.

Below, we take a look at sleep facts that make a solid case for the importance of sleep. You’ll also find a roundup of our best sleep content to help yourself and your team get some good shut-eye tonight!

Sleep Fact #1: Sleep Keeps the Immune System Strong

One of the best health habits you can do to keep your immunity strong is to get a good night’s sleep. Getting a solid eight to nine hours can strengthen your body. Studies report that during the night, cytokines released help induce fatigue to encourage a better night’s sleep.

Sleep Fact #2: Depression Risk Increases With Irregular Sleep

Sleep is known to help stabilize mood. Too little sleep can make you irritable and feel depleted of energy. A 2021 Michigan State University study published in npj Digital Medicine uncovered that irregular sleep patterns increased depression risk. The study followed young physicians over the course of a year, tracking their sleep and mood data. The study found those with more varied sleep schedules tended to report more depression symptoms. Their mood was lower on a daily basis, too.  

Sleep Fact #3: Sleep Improves Mental Health

 Alongside reducing depression risk, it’s noted that sleep is needed to keep mental health stable, too. Sleep deprivation is tied to issues like bipolar disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and anxiety disorder.

Sleep Fact #4: Full Moons Mean Less Sleep 

Believe it or not, the lunar cycles can affect your sleep. A paper published in Science Adventures found that people’s sleep schedules change during the 29.5-day lunar cycle. According to the research, in the days leading up to a full moon, individuals go to sleep later in the evening and also sleep for shorter amounts of time. This fascinating finding was studied in a variety of settings — from Indigenous communities to college campuses.

Sleep Fact #5: Insufficient Sleep Means More Health Issues

If you’re not logging enough sleep, you’re damaging your body on a cellular level. Not surprisingly, insufficient sleep has been linked to chronic diseases and issues like obesity, depression, and cardiovascular disease. For example, research has found poor sleep is tied to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes

Sleep Fact #6: The Body Needs Slow Wave Sleep

Slow Wave Sleep — more commonly known as “deep sleep” — is an essential part of sleep cycles that enables proper brain function and memory. Deep sleep is the third cycle in the non-REM stages of sleep and occurs in longer periods. At this time, your heart and breathing rate is at the lowest part during your sleep cycle. It can be hard to wake someone in this stage of sleep.

Sleep Fact #7: Falling Asleep Shouldn’t Take Long

If you practice good sleep hygiene, it should take between 10 to 20 minutes to fall asleep at bedtime. If you regularly fall asleep in less than 10 minutes, your body is likely exhausted and not getting enough quality sleep throughout the week. You may also be dealing with a sleep disorder, so it’s important to consult your physician about any sleep concerns you have. 

Sleep Fact #8: Sleep Recommendations Varies By Age

It’s quite unlikely you need as much sleep as a newborn — upward of 17 hours daily. As the body ages, it requires less sleep. The average adult between the ages of 18 and 60 needs seven hours or more nightly according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Older adults may get less naturally due to pains or other health conditions that prevent them from getting comfortable.  

Sleep Fact #9: Drowsy Driving is Like Drunk Driving  

If you’ve ever driven while exhausted, you know how dangerous it can be to nod off. Sleep deprivation makes your body less alert and impacts your judgment and reaction time while driving. Studies report that a long period without sleep impairs your driving, similar to having one too many drinks. If you’ve been up for 18+ hours, it’s the same as having a blood content (BAC) of 0.05%.

Sleep Fact #10: Sleep Disorders Include More Than Insomnia

There are more than 80 different types of sleep disorders, including insomnia. But feeling unrested isn’t the only major sleep disorder that can wreak havoc on your health. Around 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, where individuals stop breathing for 10 seconds or more during sleep. If left untreated, it can cause high blood pressure, chronic heart failure, and other issues. One of the more unique sleep disorders is called parasomnia, where an individual does activities like walking, talking, or eating. If you suspect you have a sleep disorder, contact your doctor to ensure your health isn’t at risk and learn how to treat it.

Sleep Fact #11: Good Sleep Keeps Hunger Urges in Check

Since sleep regulates hormones, it makes sense that it can also have a positive (or negative) impact on your eating habits. Hormones leptin and ghrelin — which play a role in hunger and appetite — can be unbalanced due to sleep deprivation and causes a change in appetite. If you sleep for less than four hours per night, your ghrelin levels increase and leptin levels go down, making you more prone to increased feelings of hunger.

Sleep Fact #12: Less Sleep Logged Means Less Effective Shots

Whether you’re looking to get a flu shot or a COVID vaccine, it’s important to know that leading up to the shot day, you’ll need a good amount of sleep. A study published in the journal Sleep found that vaccines are less effective if you don’t get enough sleep. Researchers found that participants who slept fewer than six hours on average per night were far less likely to have antibody responses to the vaccine. That also meant they were 11.5 times more likely to be unprotected by the vaccine than people who slept an average of seven-plus hours.  

Quality Sleep is an Essential Part of Quality Health

Encourage your employees to do their best to practice good sleep hygiene.

It impacts way more than their productivity if they’re missing out on vital ZZZs as you can see from the facts above. The long-term consequences of sleep deprivation can be devastating and have also been associated with a shortened life span.  

Want to know more? Check out our sleep content below:

Now that you’ve got all the facts about sleep, consider different ways you can touch upon the subject during World Sleep Day this month. Here’s to better health thanks to sleeping!  

What does your sleep routine look like? Share with us in the comments below!

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Topics: Wellness at Work


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