Everyone seems to be in dire need of a good night's sleep. Or, at the very least, everyone I've spoken to. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say how exhausted they are and how desperate for a solid night of shut-eye.

It's no surprise that we all crave sleep so much. It's the one chance each day we have to completely relax and awake at least semi-rejuvenated.

But did you know how much our bodies and minds actually depend on a good night's sleep? Did you know that a full night's sleep is important to all aspects of your health? It's true.

Here are the most shocking health benefits of sleep.

1) You're more creative if you get a good night's rest, because while you sleep your brain reorganizes and restructure itself, which leads to a boost in creativity.

2) Students who get less sleep on a consistent basis (all-nighters are still acceptable, it seems), are prone to lower grades and other learning difficulties.

3) A good night's sleep will reduce inflammation, which is linked to a multitude of health problems, including heart disease (the #1 killer of women), strokes, diabetes, and arthritis.

4) Your memory improves. Scientists have found that when you're trying to learn something new, you mind can combine what you're attempting to learn while you're sleeping. While you sleep, your mind is actually PRACTICING the things you're learning!

5) Your attention span increases if you're getting proper amounts of sleep. Children become hyperactive while sleepy and adults get tired and woozy. So get to bed!

6) A good night's sleep allows you to maintain a good weight. The part of the brain that controls sleep also controls an increase in metabolism. That means when you're sleepy, your brain will tell you to eat more, which in turn can pack on the pounds.

7) Your stress levels will dip. Stress shoots to the moon when you're not sleeping properly and decreases when you're getting proper rest. Controlling stress can help moderate blood pressure and improve heart health.

8) Sleepiness can lead to car accidents (fatal ones!), because being tired can interfere with reaction times and decision-making on the road.

What was most surprising to you about this list of health benefits of sleep?


Image via xibber/Flickr