Do You Want To Be Happier, Healthier, And Smarter? All You Have To Do Is Sleep In

What do you do when you have to have a productive day? You get up early, fill the coffee pot and set to work, right? Well, this may actually be doing you a disservice. The early bird may not always get the worm. You should consider giving yourself the chance to sleep in if you can. Why?

1. You probably aren't getting the sleep you need.

According to most medical journals, adult men and women require eight hours of sleep to operate at their best. Somewhere between 7 and 9 hours will typically do the trick.

"Sleep is important for mental function: alertness, memory consolidation, mood regulation and physical health," says Phyllis Zee, MD, PhD. But many people are chronically underslept, and that leads to major health problems down the road. Especially if you wake up early for work, unless you're in bed at 9pm every night, you're probably not getting enough sleep.

2. Your wake up times should be consistent - it doesn't matter when.

When you wake up isn't nearly as important as how - that is, you should go to bed and rise in the morning at about the same time each day. The time you wake up isn't at all important unless you have a specific time you must rise that's different each day. Even then, try to regulate it as best as you can.

3. Sleeping in improves your memory.

When you sleep in, long-term memory retention, memory organization and learning improve. Why? It has to do with our Rapid-Eye-Movement, or REM stage sleep. Mark Greer of the American Psychology Association suggests that these mental skills can be strengthened by simply resting them.

“Besides boosting alertness, sleep – particularly REM sleep – is a way for the brain to store new information into long-term memory,” says Greer.

4. Sleeping in makes you a happier person all around.

Waking up naturally instead of by an alarm simply leaves you feeling fresher first thing in the morning and throughout the day. How tired you feel during the day has more to do with how you wake up than anything else. You might think you're up and ready to go, but really, you're in for a crash in the afternoon.

So at the core of the issue: get enough sleep, wake up at the right time, let yourself sleep in and you'll be much better off.

Photo credit: Johanna Isacson

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