Getting the proper amount of sleep helps lower stress on the body. Individuals who get at least 7hrs of sleep a night have been shown to have lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that can hinder your body's ability to lose fatty tissue - if that's not a good reason to get enough sleep, I don't know what is!
If that isn't enough, maybe this will tip the scale. Studies have shown that getting at least 7hrs of sleep has a positive affect on your immune system. Those individuals in the studies who were limited in the amount of sleep they were allowed to get were more likely to get sick and had a lower antibody response to vaccines.
Below are some general tips for improving your sleep :
Keep the room dark : light triggers hormonal responses in your brain to be awake
Wind down 1 hr before bed : avoid stimulating activities like intense exercise, tv/phone etc. instead try reading, yoga, a hot bath, or cuddling with your pets/kids/significant other
Drink tea before bed : avoid caffeine, try chamomile tea or sleepytime tea (my personal favorite is to mix the vanilla and peach sleepytime teas)
Keep the room a comfortable temperature : most studies say that 65-68 degrees F is ideal for deep sleep (I also find that having a fan on helps me from getting too hot - I even have it going during the winter!)
Pink noise : white noise is jarring and unnatural, pink noise is every day sounds that are soothing, think the sound of the ocean, a fan, a thunderstorm, vinyl crackle, or a campfire crackle
I also wanted to include some apps that I have found very helpful in tracking and improving my sleep. Just click on the name of the app to be taken to their website to learn more!
Sleep Cycle : this runs strictly through your smart phone (apple or android), you can track how restful your sleep is, how long you're sleeping, set a smart alarm to wake you up during the lightest cycle of your sleep, and more
Sleep Watch : this connects with an apple watch and is the most comprehensive free tracking I've found for sleep. It looks at the time you're asleep, how restful it is, asks how you felt waking up and how fatigued throughout the day, tracks your heart rate and heart rate dip, will ask you questions about your day/night if your sleep was significantly better or worse than usual
Calm : this app has guided meditations that you can do to wind down before bed, but my favorite feature is the sleep stories. Someone with a soothing voice reads you a story as you fall asleep. I personally listen to the story that Stephen Fry reads
Relax Melodies : this app lets you piece together your own pink noise collection. You can choose from all sorts of sounds - the ones I listed above are the ones that are in my personal bedtime mix
And remember, no grit - no pearl