Sleep is important for your everyday health and wellbeing. Sleep deficiency can be detrimental to your mental and physical health, and can even get in the way of your safety. Long term sleep problems can cause chronic health issues.
Brain function and overall wellbeing
While we are sleeping, the brain is reconciling and consolidating all the information it has come across that day. Therefore a good night’s sleep improves memory and learning. Studies have shown that children who suffer disrupted sleep have poorer grades at school than those who sleep well. These studies were also replicated in university students. So perhaps all those “all-nighters” before exams are useless after all!
There have also been multiple studies published in the Sleep Journal showing altered brain patterns in people suffering sleep deficiency. People who do not get enough sleep commonly experience problems making decisions, solving problems, concentrating and controlling their emotions. Poor sleep has been strongly linked to depression and risk taking behaviour.
Sleep is really important in the physical sense; it is well know that healing and repair occurs during sleep. Chronic sleep deficiency is linked to many diseases, including an increased risk of heart and kidney disease, diabetes and stroke. Your risk of obesity in all age groups (which in turn increases your risk of the afore mentioned diseases anyway) is increased with poor sleeping habits.
A good night’s sleep will improve the function and balance of hormones, including the ones that make you feel hungry. So take note weight loss enthusiasts! Your blood glucose levels are better controlled with proper sleep, decreasing your risk of diabetes and inflammatory responses. A restful sleep can also improve your response to musculoskeletal issues such as arthritis.
As mentioned previously, a good night’s sleep can improve your attention span, and it also improves your reaction time. People who are sleep deficient have a slower reaction time and make more mistakes. A loss of just 1-2 hours per night of sleep can affect your abilities just as much as if you haven’t slept at all. For example, driving while you are tired and feeling drowsy can be just as dangerous as driving drunk.
So how much sleep is enough sleep? Below is a table with the recommended amount of sleep for all age groups.
|Age||Recommended Amount of Sleep|
|Newborns||16–18 hours a day|
|Preschool-aged children||11–12 hours a day|
|School-aged children||At least 10 hours a day|
|Teens||9–10 hours a day|
|Adults (including the elderly)||7–8 hours a day|
So sleep well friends!
This article is for information purposes only. Please consult your Osteopath or primary healthcare professional for further information.