Sleep is a pretty mysterious concept (though we highly recommend more of it ourselves)!

Although there are many theories, researchers don’t know why we need to sleep to stay healthy and alive. But it’s no mystery that sleep deprivation can be harmful to both the body and the mind.

And it’s also no secret we are a sleep-deprived society, placing more importance on work and not enough on rest.

People need seven to eight hours of sleep for optimal function. Each person is different and everybody has a different need for sleep. The lucky ones can feel rested after five hours of sleep while others need 10 for the same restful feeling.

But just telling people to sleep more isn’t the answer. Most of us know we should go to bed earlier, drink fewer espressos and work out more to help improve sleep, but it isn’t always easy to fit those in our busy schedules.

So here’s why it is not just important, but crucial. While we are sleeping, our body is repairing our cells. When we are not sleeping, our brain cells are deprived of this cycle, causing decreased function.

Bottom line – without sleep no amount of caffeine can make us think better, remember more or basically function at our highest level.

Ever notice that after losing a few hours of sleep or staying up all night, you have trouble concentrating and tend to feel slower? Sleep deprivation can cause slower reaction times, making it harder for us to concentrate and keep attention. This is also why our memories can be compromised when we are tired.

And the long-term effects are even worse. Consistently losing those precious hours of sleep can lead to depression, high blood pressure, heart disease, weight gain, and in serious cases, may lead to death. Sleep deprivation also does a number on the digestive system, creating stomach pains, diarrhea and other uncomfortable digestive issues.

So, do you want to hear the good news?

Massage therapy is a great way to help us get better sleep.

Not only will getting a massage provide sleep benefits that study after study has shown, taking the hour away from other distractions and stresses will help get us in a mindset of calm and relaxation so we make rest and better sleep a conscious decision.

An added bonus of placing a priority on sleep: people who regularly get their recommended hours actually tend to live longer than those who don’t.

So try drinking one less espresso, work out once a day and get a massage…so you can get more sleep and be more productive when you’re awake!

Have trouble sleeping? CLICK HERE for some ways to get better sleep.

– Jocelyn Bradley