Why Is Sleep Important?

Dark background with teen girl in the middle, who is playing with fairy lights.  "Why we need more sleep" is written in the middle.

In this BIT: Why is sleep important? Discover sleep benefits, what happens during sleep deprivation, and how to sleep more.

We hear all the time that sleep is important for us. An adequate amount of sleep results in our bodies functioning better, including that we can think better, our bodies can grow and rest as well as retain memories, learn new things, process emotions and so much more.  But can sleep make us happier? The answer is yes. 

 Now the real question is, how can it scientifically?

Teen girl with brown, long hair laying on a brown table, asleep.  She is wearing blue overalls and a beige tank top.

Studies show that when we are sleep deprived, and sleep only 4 hours per night, our immunity cells (the ones protecting us from getting sick) drop by 70%.  Getting a good amount of sleep boosts and maintains our immune system, reducing those runny noses and the feverish looks we get while we are sick.  In addition, when we are in a certain part of the sleep cycle, our bodies go into repair mode and release specific hormones that make us grow. These hormones are one of the best fixers, especially for our skin. They help to reduce those dark circles under our eyes!  In contrast, if you don’t get enough sleep, your stress hormones become elevated, your growth hormones don’t get enough activity, and collagen production is reduced, leading to sagging skin and wrinkles.  Overtime, skin will lose elasticity, but even after just one night you will already see dark circles as well as puffy eyes.   

Usually we feel better when we look better and sleep helps us achieve that. Additionally, our immune system gets a boost, which reduces those runny noses and that definitely do not make us happy.

Pink background with a teen girl in the middle.  She has long, black, straight hair, is wearing a white tshirt, and has her eyes closed, holding one of her hands up to her eyes, looking very sad.

In addition, during sleep deprivation, studies show that people’s mood turns negative, they become easily frustrated, irritated, and sad.  UC Berkeley neuroscientist Matthew Walker did an experiment where viewers looked at images that went from neutral to disturbing. The subjects that were well rested reacted 60% percent less to the negative photos than the tired subjects. This proves the point that when you’re tired, your brain literally becomes more negative.  Additionally, two researchers, David Kahneman and Alan B. Krueger found that satisfaction in life is very much correlated with sleep, and that sleep is the most influential factor in our mood on a daily basis. 

Here are a few ways to find more happiness through sleep, and how to sleep more:

  • Go to bed 15 minutes earlier.  Maybe spend a little less time reading, watching TikTok, or simply just go to bed earlier. 
  • Lower the temperature in your room by 1-2 degrees to help you fall asleep faster and better. 
  • Don’t look at your phone or an electronic device before bed for at least 30 minutes before bed to help your body adjust to your environment.  Instead, catch up on reading a book! 

We hope that these sleep benefits inspire you to prioritize your sleep more, and find more time for it.


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