The Importance of Sleep
4 January 2022
People have come to value time so much that sleep is often regarded as an interference to us working harder or longer. It’s become increasingly clear though, that no matter how hectic our lives, we cannot afford to ignore the research. Recent studies reveal the importance of sleep for safety, our mental and physical well-being.
Sleep serves multiple functions. It is critical for us to remain alert and for us to think clearly. Memories are consolidated during sleep, and it plays a vital role in regulating our emotions. It is also needed to sustain attention for learning. A lack of sleep impairs our ability to focus and learn efficiently.
Sleep also helps us restore physically as well as mentally and allows for the organisation of information in our brain. Our body and mind needs sleep to function properly. It is thought to keep our immune system and heart and blood vessels healthy. Sleep is important in our growth development and in maintaining our bodies healing process. It helps the control of appetite and weight. Sleep deprivation causes changes to hormones that allow us to feel full and help regulate hunger and appetite.
Most people don’t get enough sleep
Going without adequate sleep carries both short- and long-term consequences. Perception and judgement can be affected, and this can lead to serious accidents and injury. Lack of sleep can cause moodiness and difficulty focusing. People can also find they’re unable to learn and retain information. Studies have found long term, chronic sleep deprivation can lead to many health issues including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal problems, changes in mental wellbeing and even early mortality.
Our sleep needs depend on many things, including age. Over a typical lifespan, the amount of time spent sleeping declines. Newborns need a great deal of sleep, but this declines throughout childhood until adolescence. Most experts agree that the majority of adults need between 7-9 hours sleep.
Measures to ensure the best night’s sleep
Even if a person’s role includes shift work. there are measures to ensure good sleep. Avoid stimulants 2-3 hours before going to bed, including both nicotine and alcohol. Alcohol may cause sleepiness, but it also leads to more disrupted sleep.
When our minds are filled with thoughts & worries, we may need extra help to get to sleep. Possible helpful aids may be:
Written by Susie Biggin