Sleep. You probably wish you were getting more of it, but, between work, family and The Crown, that extra hour in bed just isn’t going to happen. But what if we told you, though, that an extra hour a week could be enough to net you some pretty astounding benefits? Like what? Like a pay rise, for a start…
1. Earn more money
According to researchers from Williams College, Massachusetts, and the University of California at San Diego, 1 additional hour of sleep per week (that’s just over 8 and a half minutes a night) equates to an annual pay rise of almost 5%.
The study’s authors discovered that earlier sunsets seem to encourage people to sleep for longer and that, in areas in which the sun sets earlier, people not only sleep for longer, but enjoy higher salaries. Salespeople appear to reap the greatest benefits of all. “The biggest effects come through employees who work on commission,” researcher Jeffrey Shrader explains. “If you go to work well rested, you are livelier and happier, and can sell more to increase your earnings.”
So, aside from making you a millionaire, what could those extra 8.5 minutes do for you?
2. Think more clearly
Do you regularly scrape by on 6 hours a night? Do it for 2 weeks on the trot and your performance on cognitive tests could be comparable to someone who hasn’t slept in 48 hours. Don’t panic, though, because “an hour’s nap can make up for an hour in lost sleep at night,” according to sleep psychologist Dr Hans Van Dongen.
3. Lose weight
Yes, it is possible to lose weight while you sleep. Dieters who get plenty of shuteye lose more fat, and less lean muscle.
4. Improve your memory
Learn something before you go to bed and you’ll remember it more clearly in the morning than someone who hasn’t had the opportunity to “sleep on it”. Psychologists believe that sleep enhances memory consolidation.
5. Reduce your risk of diabetes
People who are chronically sleep-deprived are more likely to develop dementia, regardless of risk factors like diet and weight.
6. Lower your risk of dementia
Scientists believe that sleep allows the brain to clear out the toxins which trigger Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid plaques develop more quickly in the brains of sleep-deprived mice.
7. Boost your immune system
Those who get less than 7 hours of sleep a night are 3 times as likely to catch a cold as those who manage 8 hours, according to research.
8. Decrease your risk of having a heart attack
Sleep deprivation increases blood pressure and raises levels of inflammatory proteins linked to heart disease. Those who sleep for 5 hours or less are 45% more likely to have a heart attack, according to researchers.
9. Reduce pain
Research has found that sleep deprivation increases our sensitivity to pain.
10. Live longer
Those who sleep for less than 6 hours a night are 12% more likely to die early, according to a research review. However, those who sleep for 9 hours or more are 30% more likely to die prematurely. Sleep need varies from individual to individual, but most experts suggest aiming for 7 hours.
If you are worried about sleep then please contact your GP for advice.