You may be able to get by without your lunch, your iPhone (possibly), or even without your car for a day, but one thing’s for sure: miss out on a decent night sleep and you’ll be behaving like a bear with a sore head! And for good reason. The importance of sleep is often undervalued today, but the fact remains – sleep is absolutely essential for maintaining excellent health and wellness throughout your life.
The Importance of sleep – for everyone
Quality sleep at the right time of the night is imperative for everyone, not just children. Throughout our lives, our bodies need to function optimally, for repairing and rebuilding, feeling well, keeping alert in the workplace, on the road, and being able to enjoy our free time with family and friends.
How important is sleep to function well?
The importance of sleep is paramount in functioning well. It is vital for the processes of both your brain and your body. Let’s have a look at the issues with our brains and emotions first.
While you are sleeping, your body is actively working to support healthy brain function. Essentially, your brain is preparing itself for the next day. To help you stay mentally alert and clear, the brain has to form new neural pathways. Sleeping well will also improve learning. This encompasses all types of learning, be it playing an instrument, practising sport, studying, driving or learning a new language. Sleep helps your brain increase its ability to problem solve and to learn new skills. There are other benefits too: it affects creativity, decision-making and the ability to concentrate.
Your physical health is strongly dependent on sleep. In fact, if you are sleep deprived, studies show a strong link between sleep deprivation and increased heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease and stroke.
How important is sleep for weight loss?
You may be keen to know that if you are struggling to lose pounds, lack of sleep may have something to do with it! Lack of sleep affects your hormones, as sleep helps maintain the correct balance of your hungry hormones (grehlin) and the hormones that make you feel full or satisfied (leptin). If you are sleep deprived, your levels of grehlin increase – and your levels of leptin actually decrease. The result? Lack of sleep affects your weight by making you feel hungry!
Your body’s reaction to insulin, which is the hormone that controls your blood-sugar levels, is also negatively influenced. Sleep deficiency can give you a higher than normal blood-sugar level, which over time, may increase your risk for Type II Diabetes. This also makes it easier to pile on the pounds!
Sleep deprivation - the effects of going without enough sleep
Unfortunately, the list of negative effects from going without sleep are plentiful. Sleep deprivation has been linked to risk taking behaviour, depression, suicide, antisocial behaviour and rapid mood swings. Your immune system can suffer, resulting in an increased risk of catching colds and flu – or more serious ailments. If children are deprived of sleep, they may be robbed of adequate hormones, which are essential to boost their muscle mass, bones, and to help repair their cells and tissues. It is also essential for them while they go through puberty. For young women, sleep has a strong effect on fertility.
Some people don’t get enough sleep because they suffer from sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea and given the profound importance of a good night's sleep, if you suffer from any sleeping disorders, it’s vital that you get medical attention to correct this issue.
If you understand the importance of sleep, but are thinking to yourself, ‘I’d love to know how to get to sleep’, perhaps it’s worthwhile looking at ways to help with your insomnia. There is an infinite amount of resources available regarding relaxation techniques to explore; alternatively many people find benefit by experimenting with herbs, diet, exercise, hypnosis, or even a short-term dose of prescription sleeping pills.
Sleep & your health
Underlying health conditions or body changes can also contribute to insomnia: menopause or conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome can hamper your ability to sleep well. If you are suffering from any health conditions, and have trouble sleeping, check with your doctor – as managing the root of your problem will give you a far better chance of enjoying some quality sleep.
Your mattress & pillow
It has to be said: no pills, meditation or exercise can help with the quality of your sleep if you are sleeping on a veritable bed of nails! To have the best chance for a good night's sleep, it’s imperative that you sleep on a comfortable, suitable, quality mattress and pillow. Check the state of your mattress and pillow, and if you feel that they may be interfering with healthy sleep patterns, invest in a good mattress and pillow. At Mattress & Pillow Science, we have a fantastic range of pocket spring mattresses and therapeutic pillows that have been specifically designed to improve the quality of your sleep.
Experience the Mattress & Pillow Science difference for yourself. View our mattresses and pillows online now or visit us at one of our Melbourne stores in Caulfield South, Moonee Ponds or Surrey Hills for a free consultation with one of our expert sleep consultants.
Mattress & Pillow Science - the healthy sleep specialists.