by pedrosimoes7

Even though we are a culture that regards getting by on just a few hours of sleep a night a reflection of one's strength, recent research has shown us just how dangerous not getting enough sleep can be to health and job performance. In fact, the benefits of getting adequate sleep are much greater than what we initially thought. Sleep, just like food and water, is an integral part of our wellness. Here is a look at five important reasons why sleep is a necessity.

1. Improved Concentration: We all know the consequences of staying up all night with a crying baby or an office party that goes until the wee hours of the morning. Our ability to concentrate the following day is grossly impaired. And while slamming a few cups of coffee may help out immediately, over time, the less sleep you get, the more disrupted your ability is to focus, learn and store, and retain memories. So if you have your eye on that promotion this year, getting the right amount of sleep every night is a surefire way to give yourself a competitive edge.

2. Fewer Sick Days: Numerous studies have proven that the less sleep you get, the weaker your immune system becomes, leaving you vulnerable to a host of foreign invaders that your immune system, when it is in a healthy state, can fend off quite easily. By getting an adequate night's rest, you can stay healthy and show up for work bright, refreshed and ready to tackle that upcoming presentation with enthusiasm. Well, at least, not just with tired and weary eyes. And best of all, you can apply all of those accrued sick days you were too healthy to cash in to your vacation time.

3. Improved Heart Health: Individuals with sleep disorders have higher rates of some of the hallmark features of heart disease including hypertension, high cholesterol, increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which has been linked to cardiovascular disease, and increased rates of irregular heartbeats.

4. Reduced Risk of Mood Disorders: Not getting enough sleep is more than enough to start your day out in an irritable and short-tempered mood. When you're sleep deprived, the slightest stresses at work can set off a cataclysmic series of negative reactions in you. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that subjects who were limited to only 4.5 hours of sleep a night for one week reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted. When the subjects resumed their normal sleep patterns, they reported a dramatic improvement in mood.

5. Healthier Weight: During sleep, the levels of key appetite-controlling hormones change. When you are not getting enough sleep, the hormone ghrelin, which controls hunger, is increased and less of the hormone leptin, which monitors satiety, is produced. This double-fisted hormone punch is one of the main reasons why those who are overweight or obese also report not getting enough sleep. Sleep deprivation seems to naturally cause us to eat more. According to the Centers for Disease Control, sufficient sleep is increasingly being recognized as an essential aspect of chronic disease prevention and health promotion. Adults are encouraged to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, and while this may seem like a luxury, it is worth re-organizing your day and nighttime activities to get the proper Zs. Your health and your job will thank you.

This article was provided by Heather Ashare at, an online diet and weight loss resource providing the tools and information needed to educate yourself to start living a healthier life for today and tomorrow.