With the hustle and bustle of each day, sleep is one of the primary things we tend to compromise. I’m sure you’ve heard about how important sleep is to your body and immune system, many of us have; but the reality is very few of us prioritize resting enough to reap the benefits. Instead, we opt in for coffee, energy drinks, prescription medications, sugar and anything else that will help us stay awake and alert during the day.

I want to encourage you to make a change today and commit to getting at least one extra hour of sleep at night. If you already sleep well, then I encourage you to add more breaks into your day to prioritize resting.

Here are a few reasons you should get more sleep:

  1. Boosts your immune system & aids in stress management

When you’re sleeping well, it’s much easier to manage stress in all areas of your life. The more stressed you are, the more susceptible you will be to illnesses, fatigue and chronic challenges that make your life much harder. This is why lack of sleep weakens our immune system in the long run.

  1. Improves memory

The National Sleep Foundation did a study to test how our brains can improve our memory, and after testing this process by teaching people new skills and then scanning their brains after a period with or without sleep, they found this:

“When people have a chance to sleep, for example, after practicing a skill similar to piano scales, the centers of the brain that control speed and accuracy are more active than those regions in people who haven’t slept.”

As human beings, we take in a lot of information every day, so being able to effectively memorize as much of that information as possible is crucial. If you’re feeling forgetful or foggy, try getting more rest!

  1. Stimulates creativity

Did you know that REM sleep, or rapid eye movement sleep, actually contributes to your creativity? If you ever find yourself struggling to produce at work, lack of sleep might be the culprit. In addition to getting a good night’s rest, it’s also important to take breaks throughout your workday so that you can tackle each task with a fresh mind and in a more relaxed state.

Having positive mental and emotional health depends largely on how well you sleep. There’s a reason babies get cranky and irritable when they are tired. Similarly, so do we as adults. The difference is that we no longer have snack breaks and nap time built into our schedules. We must create them. Go back to basics! As we journey into the new year, there will be a lot of marketing telling us we should hit the ground running; pursue those goals; smash those resolutions. But I challenge you to resist the urge to be more productive and instead, learn to rest.