Why Getting Enough Sleep Is Important

young-couple-sleepingOne of the major reasons why getting enough sleep is so important is because it will help with rejuvenating your body physically so that it functions properly.

Not enough sleep will cause you to feel lethargic the following day, and you will notice that your body doesn’t perform at it’s best. When you’ve had a good night sleep, you will wake up feeling more refreshed, energised, emotionally balanced, and have better concentration. 

I have found that not getting enough sleep affects my ability to focus and slows down my reaction. So if I get to work the following day feeling fatigued due to lack of deep sleep, it takes me longer to process information, especially when reading material. There is also that likelihood of making poor decisions or mistakes on the job, which isn’t good.

Other problems associated with not enough sleep includes a weakened immune system, easily irritable, hormonal imbalance, memory loss, mentally and physically tired. You will basically look tired to people around you! There is that possibility of falling asleep on the job or even while driving, which becomes dangerous. 

So, I would like to encourage everyone to get enough sleep at night for optimal function the next morning!

According to an article in Fernwood Magazine, “Nutritious eating, regular exercise and quality sleep are keys to good overall health, but lacking balance between these can leave you feeling like nothing’s working right”. (Source: Reset you body clock, March April 2015 edition, page: 16)

How much sleep do we need?

A healthy adult should aim to get at on average 8 hours of sleep. For younger individuals, this would vary. Infants need 16 – 18 hours, toddlers need about 12 hours, school-age children should get at least 10 hours, and teens need about 9 – 10 hours of sleep. (source)

What affects our sleep patterns?


stressed-at-workThere are certain groups of people who are at risk of not getting enough sleep, such as, night shift workers, entrepreneurs, physicians, truck drivers, people who travel a lot, parents, teenagers, and people with health disorders.

Stress is one of the major factors that can disrupt sleep. Circumstances such as traffic accidents, death of loved ones, marriage issues, students going through exam period, and work-related stresses can affect your normal sleep times.

Other factors include environmental factors such as interruptions from family members, temperature of room at night, neighbors having parties that are too noisy, your partner snoring or rolling around in bed.

You habits can also affect whether you will fall asleep at night. Working on your laptop, tablet, or playing with your smartphone, near bed time is not recommended because artificial light from these electronic devices stimulate brain activity, hence, affecting your ability to get a good night sleep.

According to Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, they showed that exposure to artificial light from computer screens significantly reduced the levels of the hormone, melatonin, which is responsible for regulating our internal clocks and plays a role in our sleep cycle. (source

What Can We Do To Get A Good Night Sleep?

  • Avoid using electronic devices where you are looking at a bright screen. If you have to use it, then at least dim the lights or install a program called f.lux, which makes your computer screen adapt to the time of day, so that you will get a better sleep at night. 
  • Establish a nightly routine that will help you relax and switch off to prepare for bed. This means reading a nice book, have a cup of chamomile tea, listening to a mindfulness tape, and anything that you know will help you relax and de-stress.
  • Keep a regular sleep or wake-up routine
  • Get regular exercise, which helps with relieving stress. But try and exercise earlier during the day not near bed time. How can people sleep properly after getting hot and sweaty just before bed time? Unless it’s between the sheets, which can help with relaxation. 
  • Try going to bed earlier every night to get enough sleep
  • Avoid heavy meals, smoking, alcohol, and caffeine just before bedtime. Instead, have a glass of reduced-fat milk before bed time to help you fall asleep. Milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid that contributes to the production of sleep-promoting melatonin in the brain.woman-drinking-glass-of-milk
  • Try and wake up without an alarm clock (if you can). People who have established a regular sleeping and waking habit will not need to depend on an alarm clock because their body is conditioned to wake up at a certain time.
  • Make sure that you feel comfortable during sleep time. If temperature is too hot or cold, then it will disrupt your ability to have a deep sleep.

Conclusion

sleeping-man-disturbed-by-alarm-clock-early-morningSleep is a very important activity that we all need to do in order for our bodies to function at its best. Sleep deprived individuals will find themselves feeling tired, and not as focused the following day.

There are risks of not getting enough sleep for yourself and other people too. It can contribute to car accidents and work-related accidents.  

For example, if you are a medical doctor who needs to perform surgery on patients, then concentration is something that you need to take seriously. There is no room for mistakes. 

For adults, an average of 8 hours of sleep each night on a regular basis is necessary. But younger individuals more sleep. Practice those things that I mentioned above regarding what we can do to get a good night sleep. It will be better for you!

If you have other ideas on how we can get a good night sleep, please share by commenting below!

4 comments

  1. Dave Sweney says:

    Great article on sleep, and you included how much we need, why we need good sleep, and lots of tips on how to achieve getting the sleep we need…

    I am a bit older than some of your visitors likely. As I have aged I find that less sleep is possible/needed. I used to try to get at least 8 hours, but due to work and family requirements, this was not always possible…

    Now that I am older if I get 6 hours I am lucky, at times it is only 4 at a stretch, and later perhaps a siesta gets me an additional 2 hours or so (total I try for each day is 6)…

    I have heard of many health hazards of not getting enough sleep, and your article makes it clear why this may be so. Thanks for that and I will now actively work to get a little more total.

    Cheers!

    Dave

    : )

  2. Samantha says:

    Hi Teresa. Thanks for the reminder about the importance of good, regular sleep! I’ve started drinking a cup of chamomile tea each evening before bed, and I found it helps me relax and send my brain a signal that it’s time to wind down.

    I use f.lux and have found it to help me not feel so wide-awake if I have to be on my computer close to bedtime.

    One thing that always gets me is waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep for an hour or two. Do you have any tips on what I could do to relax in those cases?

    • Teresa says:

      Hi Samantha,

      Occasionally, I also wake up in the middle of the night and not able to get back to sleep too. But I still close my eyes and hope that eventually I will fall asleep.

      If I still can’t fall into deep sleep, I would try and do something to relax my mind like visualize clouds and count them in my mind :)

      Don’t know if this works for other people though. But it sure helps me deal with these kinds of situations.

      What have you done when you can’t fall asleep?

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