It’s no surprise that sleep is good for you, but did you know that getting a proper night’s sleep can help with everything from reducing stress to losing weight? Sounds like just what the doctor ordered!

Aim for 8 hours of sleep per night, although since some people require more/less than others, this may be too little or even too much for you. An easy way to tell if you’re getting enough sleep is to allow your body to wake up naturally a few mornings in a row. This is a nice test to save for the weekend or that long-awaited vacation you’ve been planning. Here are 5 important benefits of a good night’s sleep:

Promotes weight loss

It’s hard to believe that getting more sleep should be part of your diet plan, but it's true. Metabolism and sleep are controlled by the same areas of the brain. Who would have thought?! When you’re sleep-deprived, the same hormone that drives appetite, ghrelin, is released. Deep sleep can improve the regulation of ghrelin and leptin (a hormone that promotes satiety). Without a good night’s sleep, your body will have trouble regulating both of these hormones. You’ll also have trouble hitting those weight loss goals.

Stronger immune system

Ever wondered why you’re extra tired when you’re sick? Your body really does need more sleep to fight pesky bugs like the flu or a cold. Valuable hormones, proteins, and chemicals are released during sleep that help your body fight off infections. Not getting enough sleep will leave you with a weakened immune system. PS. It’s just as important to get enough sleep in order to prevent getting sick as it is to get enough sleep when you’re feeling under the weather.

Increased memory

We’ve all experienced that feeling after a not-so-good night’s sleep, grogginess and just being plain out of it. Getting a good night’s sleep will have you waking up feeling extra refreshed and clear-minded, ready to tackle your day. And although it’s not known exactly how, sleep actually helps strengthen your memory. Whether you’re trying to learn Italian, or just trying to remember where your keys are, a ample sleep may be just what you need.

Decreased Inflammation

Inflammation has been linked to all sorts of negative health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, stoke, etc. Getting your zzzs helps reduce the levels of inflammatory proteins in your blood, which means less overall inflammation in your body (score!).

Less stress and better mood

While exercising or trying to avoid stressors altogether can help, sleep may mean even more to your overall well-being. Not getting enough sleep can affect your body’s ability to regulate hormones - including cortisol, a stress hormone - causing your anxiety and stress levels to get completely out of whack. You’ll experience more even-keeled emotions when you’re getting the proper amount of sleep. Now that you have some excuses to stay in bed longer, don’t be afraid to hit that snooze button a few extra times tomorrow. Your body and mind will thank you for it!

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