The Importance of Sleep

We all love our bed. It’s a comfortable, warm sanctuary, a place of temporary escape. We can relax, unwind and let the noise of the day drift away. Our bed is our friend. A friend that we (probably) spend too little quality time with.

First of all- a few interesting points to note; infants require 16 hours of sleep a day, teenagers 9 hours and adults 7-8 hours (on average).  So, if you get up at 7am, you really should be tucked up and asleep at 11pm, midnight at the latest. How many of us manage this every night? I try to. My weakness is that we live in the age of fantastic television. It’s not uncommon to find myself engrossed enough to whisper the dreaded phrase to the missus; “just one more episode”. But it’s not just T.V that tests us. It’s working late into the early hours of the morning. It’s the kids keeping you up. It’s your inability to switch your brain off. It’s [insert excuse here]. Some excuses are unavoidable. Some are just poor choices masquerading as excuses. The rest are obstacles that can be traversed with suitable planning.

The amount of sleep you need increases if you’ve been deprived of sleep in previous nights. Getting too little sleep creates a sleep debt. Eventually, your body will demand that the debt be repaid. We don’t seem to adapt to getting less sleep than we need (regardless of how many times you tell yourself you don’t need much sleep). While it can be true we may get used to a sleep-deprived schedule, our judgment, reaction time, and other functions are impaired. Meaning that actually- we’re just getting accustomed to performing at a lower level. I hate settling for second best, especially if that second best is me!

Other consequences to a lack of sleep include; memory problems, depression, lack of motivation, a weakened immune system, increase perception of pain and memory problems! Obviously, some of these are more serious than others, but the point is, all are avoidable by dragging yourself up to bed at a reasonable hour and getting some well-deserved, and much needed sleep.

We’ve all heard the phrase “healthy body, health mind”. Well that’s not the complete story. Read instead;

Adequate Sleep = Healthy Body + Healthy Mind

It’s not the sexiest equation you’ve ever seen (E=MC2 as if you didn’t know), but it is elegant in its simplicity. Sleep plays an essential role in physical and mental health. It is during sleep that your body heals and repairs – brain functions, heart and blood vessels, muscle fibres and tissues. Without adequate sleep our body doesn’t repair, rebuild and grow. And we all want to grow up to be strong and happy, right? I know that’s what I want to be when I’m an adult.

Sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite.

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