The Importance of Sleep

One of the first thing people neglect is sleep or good sleep I should say, we neglect and forget the importance of sleep.  Sleep is key, essential absolutely necessary for our well-being and physiological operations, with special support for neurological performance, endocrine balance, immune system functioning, and muscular skeletal growth and repair.  Sleep is the spur for HGH (human growth hormone) so no sleep and we don’t grow, by grow I mean cellular regeneration.

Rather than stay up watching your favourite box set, or catching up on the soaps think of the many gifts that a good nights sleep will give you.  After a good nights sleep you will enhance your memory and creative problem solving skills, it will also make you a better person to be around helping you to see the positives in your interactions, add to that a boost in your physical performance, speed, strength, speed and accuracy and your general mood and energy levels. Fed up of feeling sick and being ill, the immune system is at its most active during sleep add in the fact that a good nights sleep also helps combat the daily stresses of life helping the effectiveness of your immune system in general.

Sleeping is a basic human need, like eating, drinking, and breathing. Like these other needs, sleeping is a vital part of the foundation for good health and well-being throughout your lifetime.  Sleep deficiency can lead to physical and mental health problems, injuries, loss of productivity, and even a greater risk of death.

It occurs if you have one or more of the following:

  • You don’t get enough sleep (sleep deprivation), You sleep at the wrong time of day (that is, you’re out of sync with your body’s natural clock), You don’t sleep well or get all of the different types of sleep that your body needs, You have a sleep disorder that prevents you from getting enough sleep or causes poor quality sleep.

Sleep deficiency is linked to many chronic health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and depression.

Serotonin is a chemical that affects sleep; produced by the brain, insufficient levels of serotonin are also related to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Levels of serotonin are highest in the brain when we are awake and active, and the brain produces more serotonin when it is lighter outside. This is why most people feel tired at night-time, and why it is a good idea to turn off the lights when we are trying to sleep. The immune system also influences serotonin, and therefore influences sleep patterns, which may explain why we need to sleep more if we are feeling ill.  More information can be found at The Mental Health Foundation website

How much sleep.

New born babies tend to sleep for an average of 16–18 hours per day, which decreases to about 13–14 hours after one year. Adolescents tend to require more sleep than adults, possibly due to the physiological changes that are happening in the body during this period. As the person reaches adulthood they tend to sleep 7–8 hours per day. Older adults tend to sleep roughly 6–7 hours per day, but take more frequent naps throughout the day. The amount of time an average adult needs to sleep varies from person to person, and can range between 5 and 11 hours.  There is no set amount of sleep a person needs, log your sleep over a two-week period to work out what you need.


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