21st December 2016

Why is Sleep Important?


photo by Cris Saur

Why is Sleep Important?

Sleep is an important part of what makes your body and mind function properly don’t ignore it!


If it’s a case of not being able to sleep well or burning the candle at both ends, either way regular lack of sleep can put you at risk from some pretty serious medical conditions such as heart disease and obesity.

Im sure you recognise the symptoms of lack of sleep. Grumpiness and bad tempered with an inability to focus on anything properly. It can pretty much take you off balance for a whole day.

The odd night here and there shouldn’t cause too much damage but over a long period of time it can start to have more serious effects. It could make you feel down and more anxious and you may find yourself falling asleep during the day. It could also increase risk of injury especially if you drive tired.


What Happens if I get a Good Night’s Sleep?

Here are 5 ways a good night’s sleep can help your health and well being from the experts at the NHS.

  1. Sleep boosts immunity

If you seem to catch every cold and flu that’s going around, your bedtime could be to blame. Prolonged lack of sleep can disrupt your immune system, so you’re less able to fend off bugs.

  1. Sleep can slim you

Sleeping less may mean you put on weight! Studies have shown that people who sleep less than seven hours a day tend to gain more weight and have a higher risk of becoming obese than those who get seven hours of slumber.

It’s believed to be because sleep-deprived people have reduced levels of leptin (the chemical that makes you feel full) and increased levels of ghrelin (the hunger-stimulating hormone).

  1. Sleep boosts mental wellbeing

Given that a single sleepless night can make you irritable and moody the following day, it’s not surprising that chronic sleep debt may lead to long-term mood disorders like depression and anxiety.

When people with anxiety or depression were surveyed to calculate their sleeping habits, it turned out that most of them slept for less than six hours a night.

  1. Sleep prevents diabetes

Studies have suggested that people who usually sleep less than five hours a night have an increased risk of having or developing diabetes.

It seems that missing out on deep sleep may lead to type 2 diabetes by changing the way the body processes glucose – the high-energy carbohydrate that cells use for fuel.

5. Sleep wards off heart disease

Long-standing sleep deprivation seems to be associated with increased heart rate, an increase in blood pressure and higher levels of certain chemicals linked with inflammation, which may put extra strain on your heart.


How do I make Sure I sleep Well?

  1. Exercise regularly but not too late at night.
  2. Make bedtime a routine – go through the same motions every night so your brain knows to start shutting down for sleep.
  3. Have a cool bath or shower before bed to bring your core temperature down.
  4. Get a decent bed & make sure its made the way you like it for optimum coziness.
  5. Make sure your bedroom is completely back once the lights go out – Use black out curtains or blinds.
  6. Make sure your bedroom is the right temperature – it shouldn’t bee too hot in your bedroom, just cool enough to make sure you’re not too hot under the duvet. Consider changing the duvet if you can’t bring the room temperature down.
  7. Don’t have a tv in your bedroom.
  8. If possible charge mobile phones and other devices somewhere else in the house
  9. Don’t drink caffeine before bed including energy drinks or smoke – they’re all stimulants and will wake you up.
  10. Don’t have a nap in the evening.


How much Sleep do I Need?

The average is approx. 8 hours per night but it can differ. The best way to figure this out is to establish how tired you feel after having a certain number hours of sleep and see which you feel more comfortable with. Beware of having too much sleep though as this may have the opposite effect!

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