How Sleep Makes You Happier
Finally being able to sleep after an arduous, stressful, sweaty workday is one of the best feelings on the planet. However, you don’t need to wait for an unusually hectic day to feel happiness from sleep.
Even though you may not feel happy every time you go to sleep, getting a good amount of sleep leads to a happier mood when you’re awake. A 8-week study showed that getting better sleep gave a mood boost similar in energy to what they’d presumably get if they’d won a big lump of money. More research shows that just an extra 60-90 minutes of sleep a night would make Americans generally safer and happier.
After all, sleep is generally associated with a variety of health benefits. Better health can open up quite a few doors to a happier life, and here’s a few ways it does just that:
1. You’ll be more productive.
Is a lot of your happiness tied to your productivity, whether it’s how many loaves of bread you can bake in a day or how many lines of code you can write? Or how much of a new language you can learn to impress your new foreign friend? If you get an adequate amount of sleep, you’ll see that it’ll be so much easier to do just about everything you’re already doing, just with more focus. Zoning out less due to fatigue will definitely give you more minutes to learn those extra phrases in that swanky new language.
2. You’ll have better personal and professional relationships.
Thriving interpersonal relationships are a force that sparks joy for many of us, especially extroverts. Whether it’s a smile from a classmate, a vivacious dance party, or just a chill Zoom session with friends, genuine human connections can warm us up even on the grittiest days.
Building those heartwarming connections is way easier on 8 hours of sleep, since your brain will be better wired to respond to other people’s emotions in an appropriate way. Sleep deprivation can lead you to overreact to social situations, which isn’t going to give other people the best impression of you. That’s because your prefrontal cortex isn’t well-rested enough to control your emotions, making you more likely to freak out and regret it later.
3. You’ll be more beautiful on the outside too.
You’ll have more confidence to form those fulfilling interpersonal relationships if you’re feeling beautiful. Ever heard of the phrase “I need my beauty sleep”? That’s what happens when sleep beautifies us by repairing our skin tissues and stimulating growth hormones. You probably already know that sleep deprivation leads to dark undereye circles and sallow skin just the next day. So imagine what prolonged sleep deprivation could do to your face. Studies have even shown that people rate sleep-deprived faces as less attractive, so don’t let that be you.
Beauty sleep isn’t just for facial beauty, but also harnesses your weight gain: better sleep is associated with moderate levels of hunger-causing hormones leptin and ghrelin that keep you at a healthy weight. Imbalanced levels can lead to obesity.
Keeping your cool in a traffic jam courtesy of your well-rested prefrontal cortex will make you look like a beautiful person to your friends, but it doesn’t hurt to look fly while toughing it out too.
4. You’ll have better overall mental health.
Even if you manage to look like a supermodel on 4 hours of sleep a night, fighting those dark circles and mood swings, much of happiness and beauty is rooted in your overall mental health. Sleep has been positively correlated with improved mental health, such as lower levels of depression. People with poor sleep tend to report higher levels of anxiety and incidents of manic episodes in people with bipolar disorders.
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