Sleep. Most of us can not get enough. Some people sleep too much and some can not get to sleep at all! Sleep is a pretty personal thing. Some of us need a lot more than others and others survive on a lot less! Typically, the average adult requires about 8 hours of sleep per night in order to feel refreshed and invigorated.

But why do we need to sleep?

When we sleep we:

– Rebuild our muscles
– Improve our memories
– Grow muscle
– Repair injury and fatigue
– Synthesise hormones

Our bodies do not just shut down when we sleep – they keep going and so do our brains. We remember some of what our brains get up to while we rest in the form of dreams but much occurs at the subconscious level meaning that we forget most of what goes on while we sleep. Interesting to think that there is a whole other side of ourselves at work while we are at rest.

When we do not get enough rest, there are consequences. You might even be experiencing some yourself! The odd late night will not do much damage but regular late nights, or chronic insomnia can have some nasty side effects. Here are 5 of the most common:

1. Feeling foggy

When we sleep well, we literally jump out of bed and into the day. When we do not sleep enough, our brains feel foggy; we find it hard to remember things, get started or think productively. This is because during sleep our brains consolidate our memories and our memory actually improvements with sleep. The brain can feel a bit delusional if it is not able to rest. That foggy feeling, especially if it persists through the day or week, is often because you have not slept well enough the night before.

2. Your sex drive has gone south

As sleep regulates hormones, which includes the hormones that incite sexual arousal, a regular lack of sleep can kill sexual desire. Resting well helps your hormones do their job. New mothers often experience a dip in their sex drive; a huge component in this as well as fluctuating hormonal levels and emotional adjustments, is the lack of sleep triggered by a newborn!

3. You're overestating

When we sleep poorly, our body has little energy. To compensate, it's common to binge eat or overindulge on certain foods, especially foods that are empty nutritionally but provide an instant energy hit such as sugary laden snacks like cakes and chocolates and processed foods. When we sleep well, our bodies feel energized so we tend to eat normally.

4. Depression

If you feel down in the dumps as well as lethargic, the key cause can be lack of sleep. Bad moods and poor sleep go hand in hand. The best thing you can do to beat depression is get a restful night's sleep, eat nutritionallyense foods and exercise – this is nature's way of defeating negativity!

5. Impaired justice

Our brain takes charge of all that we do, including our judgment. A poor night's sleep can lead us to make poor diet choices and can lead to poor bad judgment in just about every area!

The moral of the story? If in doubt, get your 8 hours!