Stop staying up late. Here are 11 surprising health benefits of sleep

Bragging about how little sleep you get will get you nowhere. Sleep is absolutely essential. Getting too little of it does not mean you are more productive than the rest of us.

Instead, it means you have lower cognitive function, slower reaction times and are, yes, less productive in your waking hours. We know all of this, but what about the more surprising health benefits of sleep?

Following are 11 benefits of sleep that will convince you to hit the hay:

1. Live longer. You may be tempted to think that less sleep means more out of your days. However, according to Health.com, a 2010 study found more deaths occurred in women who get less than five hours of sleep a night.

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2. Reduce inflammation. Health.com says people who sleep fewer than six hours per night have higher levels of inflammatory proteins in the blood. These inflammatory proteins are associated with heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and premature aging.

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3. Stick to your diet. A University of Chicago study found dieters who got adequate sleep lost 56 percent more fat than those who were sleep deprived, reports Health.com. This is because sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same part of the brain.

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4. Maintain blood sugar levels. WebMD reports on a study that found after three days of sleep deprivation, 10 healthy young adults had blood glucose levels that qualified them as pre-diabetic.

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5. Reduce chronic pain. There is a link between sleep loss and a low pain threshold, says WebMD. To treat chronic pain, make sure to get a full eight hours of sleep.

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