Research at the University of Chicago has found that having a sleep debt wreaks havoc on your metabolism, making it easier for fat to sneak onto your body. Less sleep leads to an increase in insulin resistance putting you at risk of diabetes, and decreases your levels of leptin (a hormone that helps you feel full). One way to improve your sleep, is to develop a sleep ritual, that is, discipline yourself to go through a patterned ritual of doing the same things at roughly the same time each night as you prepare you for sleep.

6 Reasons You Need a Good Night’s Sleep

  1. Sleep helps you maintain a strong immune system. Sleep deprivation compromises your immune function and makes you more vulnerable to disease
  2. Sleep slows aging. Too little sleep elevates levels of stress hormones and lowers levels of growth hormone, necessary for cell repair. In one study, young, health sleep deprived subjects had the hormonal profiles of much older people.
  3. Sleep prevents diabetes. Sleeplessness increases insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
  4. Sleep keeps you slim. When you’re sleep deprived, you have more of the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin in your blood and less appetite-curbing leptin, a combo that leaves you longing for junk good.
  5. Sleep helps maintain sharp memory. Even one sleepless night impairs concentration and memory and can affect job performance.
  6. Sleep makes you happier. Insomniacs face a higher risk of depression, alcoholism, and suicide.