Gina Vaynshteyn
April 10, 2015 9:14 am

Raise your hand if your version of heaven is not having to set your alarm clock for the next morning. OK, that makes all of us, right? Right. As a human person with responsibilities, or school, or kids, or LIFE, sleeping in is a coveted luxury. For many of us, we only get to experience the glorious feeling maybe twice a week, and that’s just unfair. Because let’s be real with ourselves — not many things beat being peacefully cocooned and snoozing underneath a warm, soft layer of fitted sheet and comforter that’s impervious to the igloo your apartment has transformed into overnight. Well, turns out there’s a reason why we all love sleeping in: Because it’s GOOD for us.

But the reason why we even want to sleep in is probably because we’re not getting enough regular sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, young adults (ages 18-25) and full-grown adults (ages 26-64) need at the very least 7 hours of sleep (at the most, 9 hours). When we don’t get these recommended hours, that’s when problems with memory, mood, and overall health start, according to Everyday Health.

Additionally, if we go to bed late and wake up early, we’re “cutting down on the amount of time we spend in the REM phase of sleep, which, in effect, could be curbing our own memories,” reports Elite DailyREM, which stands for “Rapid eye movement,” is that stage in our slumber that’s the deepest. It’s when we do all our dreaming, and it’s also when our awesome brain has the chance to process and configure memories and deal with stress. Plus, According to Easy Wake, the more REM sleep you get, the more likely you’ll be happier. And healthier. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute claims that more sleep helps heal and repair blood vessels and decreases heart and kidney disease.

Waking up without the aid of an alarm clock might even curb that afternoon crash many of us experience (and have us beelining for that huge cup of pick-me-up coffee). Mike Kramer over at Spark People hypothesizes that being able to start the day naturally is the key to energy that lasts all day. Which makes sense.

The bottom line? Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep, and if you can, go to bed earlier so you can experience the glorious health benefits of sleeping in! Or just press that snooze button hard and feel no guilt. Hey, it’s good for you.

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