What feels better than sleep?
Not many things, unless you’re a vampire. And not many things affect our day-to-day lives and health so powerfully. Sleep is a necessity of life; it refreshes us for the next day and maintains our health, both mentally and physically.
Scientists at the University of Michigan, in line with this thinking, have determined that getting just one extra hour of sleep each night can do more for your happiness than getting a $60,000 raise. By monitoring the brain activity of sleep-deprived volunteers, the scientists also found that the tired group was 60% more susceptible to “negative emotional stimuli.” It is also becoming evident that sleep deprivation is a risk factor for hypertension, obesity, heart disease, and earlier death.
One extra hour of sleep each night can do more for your happiness than getting a $60,000 raise.
So what can be done about sleep deficiency? The answer in a nutshell: get more sleep. It may sound redundant, but that’s about the best way to solve this issue. That means taking a look at your current lifestyle and making better choices—for example, giving up an hour of social media in exchange for an earlier bedtime. Sleeping in on weekends and holidays is also something to consider; it can, to a certain but not total extent, make up for the lack of sleep on weekdays. There’s generally an improvement in mood and in both physical and mental performance. Another easy way to sleep better is to make sure you’re sleeping on the best mattress for you. Take a look at where you hit the pillow every night and make sure you’re getting the most supportive and comfortable sleep you can. But these don’t cure the effects of sleep deprivation; rather, they just postpone them. The consequences will slowly build up until it leads to a serious condition—such as heart disease.
Though the remedy for sleep deprivation is simple and inexpensive, the personal and logistical barriers are daunting. However, it is possible. If we as a society are able to overcome the challenge of sleep deprivation, then our communities will be healthier, happier, and more productive—and who doesn’t want that?