Why you absolutely need sleep to be at your best

 When was the last time you slept for seven hours straight? If that question sparks a laugh because you can't imagine having the time for a full night' rest, you're not alone. The CDC recently reported that one in three adults do not get that amount every night. Here are five reasons you should be getting more sleep.
  1. Sleep affects your mood. Have you ever noticed that when you stay up late or have a bad night' rest, you seem slightly more on edge the next day? Even one night of bad sleep can leave you feeling more irritable, angry and even hostile. In one University of Pennsylvania study, participants limited to 4.5 hours of sleep a night for one week reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad and mentally exhausted. When they returned to normal sleep, they reported a dramatic improvement in mood.
  1. Lack of sleep impacts the ability to focus and the forming of memories. Scientists have found that sleeplessness leads to the inability to focus and affects alertness. It also impairs judgment and causes one to be more forgetful. One University of California, Berkley, study found memories stuck in the hippocampus , the part of the brain that creates, organizes and stores memories, leading the brain to overwrite them with new memories.
  1. Better sleep means better results from exercise. Sleep is critical to performance, especially when it comes to physical activity. More studies show that sleep is when the body has time to fully recover and rebuild. So, even if you are working out multiple times a week and still don't see results , it could be due to sleep deprivation. More importantly, it' the stage of sleep that matters most. Did you know that during the deep stages of sleep, your body' tissues repair themselves? Even if you get eight hours of sleep, it might not be enough high-quality sleep. If you're interested in knowing more about your sleep quality, consider purchasing a sleep and activity tracker, such as the REM-Fit Active. This device keeps track and informs you of the quality and the amount of sleep you're getting.
  1. Quality sleep helps regulate your metabolism. In one study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, participants who got four hours of sleep for four nights experienced their bodies resisting insulin. This is often the first sign of weight gain, diabetes and other health issues. When you're sleep deprived, you're also less likely to make good decisions when it comes to food choice. We tend to overeat when we're tired to make up for the lack of energy and because our brains are more sensitive to the rewards of food.
  1. Sleep strengthens the immune system and fights inflammation. Your body is more likely to fend off illnesses when you've had enough sleep. Recent studies show that well-rested people who receive flu vaccines are more likely to develop a stronger protection against the illness. Since your body undergoes repair during deep sleep, this is when it fends off the inflammation that is often associated with diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  Sleep is essential. Make time to get the rest and relaxation you need so you can continue to perform at your best, no matter what your goals are. Did you know it' National Sleep Awareness Week? To help raise awareness, Protect-A-Bed and REM-Fit are partnering with blogger Kristin Hale, @itsfreeatlast for a Twitter party today, March 10 at 7:30 p.m. We look forward to hearing from you then!