Why You Need More Sleep Tonight

Today’s challenge for March 3: Sleep tight. Skimping on zzz’s ruins more than just your energy level.

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Ready for a little-known trick to getting a great night’s rest? Keep a gratitude journal. Before you hit the pillow tonight, jot down three things you’re thankful for from your day, then let your head hit the pillow. Not only does this habit improve your sleep quality, but it can even reduce your diastolic blood pressure, according to a recent study. If giving a little love to your heart isn’t enough to convince you to improve your sleep hygiene starting tonight, maybe these research-backed reasons will convince you.

Irregular sleep schedules increase your risk of diabetes.

The more you mix up the time you head to bed—and that includes staying up late on the weekend—the more you increase your insulin resistance and mess with your blood sugar levels. This leads to higher odds of a diabetes diagnosis, according to a study from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Waking up in the middle of the night shortens your fuse.

Spending all night tossing and turning can cause you to wake up on the wrong side of the bed, says a study from Johns Hopkins Medicine. Set your room temperature to about 65 degrees and keep devices out or off. That way you’ll get sound slumber and open your eyes in a better mood.

No zzz’s could mean more weight gain.

Even cutting out just 30 minutes of sleep during the week could cause the scale to tip in the wrong direction, thanks to a negative effect on insulin and metabolism. Also, those who sleep less than seven hours a night are more likely to eat while doing another activity, like watching TV, and that mindless munching could lead to extra pounds.

Family Circle tapped the Partnership for a Healthier America to help bring you this easy—and fun—wellness challenge. Post a picture of your gratitude list today, March 3, 2016, on our Facebook pages or Twitter feeds with the hashtag #14DayChallenge and you could win a prize! No Purchase Necessary. Open to legal U.S. residents, 18+. See rules for complete details.

Photo credit: David Tsay