The health benefits of sleep.
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I'm a fan of getting the day started early to squeeze in a workout before heading into the office, but it can really take a toll on your sleep. And sleep can then take a toll on your overall health. In fact, it's more important than many realize, as not getting enough can not just affect your mood, but your metabolism and even immune system. Here's how: 

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Between late study sessions, getting to work early, and trying to squeeze in the occasional night out, sleep is often the first thing to go while juggling a hectic schedule.

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We should all be shooting for a solid eight hours of shut eye per night, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Association, but what happens when you’re not living the typical 9-to-5 lifestyle and you’re running from work to class to the gym and back home to try and spend time with the roomies?

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According to the National Institutes of Health, sleep is critical to mental, emotional, and physical health, along with cognitive performance. 

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Even tennis player Serena Williams reminded us how important it is after her win against her sister, Venus Williams, in the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open last week with her honest answer to a reporter's question about why she wasn't smiling. She shut down the reporter, saying she was tired, didn’t want to be there, and wanted to be in bed.

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Just like Serena, at some point something’s gotta give and you’re going to end up in bed. It may not be a late night press conference, but a hectic schedule can get the best of you.  

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Deficiencies in sleep can actually alter brain activity and are linked to trouble making decisions, solving problems, and dealing with emotions, behavior, and coping with change. Studies also show sleep deficiency may be linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior.

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Trying to catch up on sleep with naps isn’t enough either. According to the National Sleep Foundation, it’s nearly impossible to make up for lost sleep through napping since your body needs to shut down and recharge each night.

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A Harvard Medical study published in 2010 found that even when you sleep an extra 10 hours to compensate for sleeping only six hours a night for up to two weeks, your reaction timing and ability to focus is worse than if you had pulled an all-nighter. 

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Tonight, be sure to skip Lil’ John’s advice in “Turn Down for What” and hit the sack a little earlier. 

Michelle Rivas is a Founding Creator and wellness blogger. When she's not writing for Vivala.com, you can find her at thehealthylatina.com.