Why You Should Sleep More: What The Research Says

Help you maintain or lose weight

A 2020 analysis found that adults who slept fewer than 7 hours per night had a 41% increased risk of developing obesity. Meanwhile, sleeping longer didn’t increase the risk.

Sleep deprivation may make you crave foods higher in sugar and fat due to their higher calorie content and increase your daily calorie intake to 385 calories.

Improve concentration and productivity

A 2020 study found that overworked doctors with moderate, high and very high sleep-related impairment were 54%, 96% and 97% more likely to report clinically significant medical errors.

A night of good sleep has been shown to improve problem-solving skills and enhance memory performance in adults.

Strengthen your heart

A 2019 analysis of 19 studies found that sleeping fewer than 7 hours per day resulted in a 13% increased risk of death from heart disease.

In contrast, excessive sleep in adults (more than 9 hours) was also shown to increase the risk of heart disease and high blood sugar.

A 2015 study found that people who slept fewer than 5 hours per night had a 61% higher risk of developing high blood pressure than those who slept 7 hours.

Another 2017 analysis found that compared with 7 hours of sleep, each 1-hour decrease in sleep was associated with a 6% increased risk of all-cause mortality and heart disease.

Affects sugar metabolism and type 2 diabetes risk

Short sleep is associated with a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance when your body cannot use the hormone insulin properly.

A 2016 study analysis of 36 studies with over 1 million participants found that very short sleep of fewer than 5 hours and short sleep of fewer than 6 hours increased the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 48% and 18%, respectively.

Supports your immune system

In a 2015 study, participants who slept fewer than 5 hours per night were 4.5 times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept more than 7 hours.

Those who slept 5-6 hours were 4.24 times more likely. Some research suggests that proper sleep may improve your body’s antibody responses to influenza and vaccine efficacy for COVID-19 vaccines.

Avoid Accidents

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 1 in 25 people have fallen asleep at the wheel while driving.

Those who slept fewer than 6 hours were most likely to fall asleep while driving.

In addition to the increased risk associated with driving, lack of sleep may also increase the risk of workplace injury and errors.

Being severely sleep-deprived is comparable to having consumed excess alcohol.

The CDC reports that staying awake for more than 18 hours is comparable to having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05%. After 24 hours, this increases to 1.00%, which is over the legal driving limit.

A 2018 study found that people who slept 6, 5, 4, or fewer than 4 hours had a risk of causing a car accident that was 1.3, 1.9, 2.9, and 15.1 times higher, respectively.

This study suggests that your risk of a car accident increases significantly with each hour of lost sleep.


In summary, the importance of sleep cannot be understated, with impacts on numerous aspects of our health:

• It helps in maintaining a healthy weight, reducing obesity risk.

• It boosts brain function, enhancing problem-solving skills and memory.

• It supports heart health, reducing the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.

• It helps in balancing blood sugar, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

• It enhances immune function, reducing the risk of catching a cold and improving vaccine responses.

• It ensures safety on the road, reducing the risk of car accidents.

Actionable Step

While life often gets in the way, it’s essential to make sleep a priority:

• Aim for at least 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep if securing 7-8 hours is challenging.

• Prioritise consistent, quality sleep as a necessity, not a luxury.

•Your body and mind will thank you for making sleep a non-negotiable part of your routine.

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