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The Importance of Sleep

With so many things to do and goals to achieve, we seem to be running short of time. Yet doctors recommend we should sleep for 7-8 hours daily – that’s a third of our lifespan. Is it necessary?

Sleep is vital, important for maintaining good health – both physical and mental. How we function during the day – our eating patterns, mental performance, memory, even emotional control, depends on how well we slept the night before. And the effect can be cumulative.

This is what sleep does…

  • It is important for learning and memory – All that you learn during the day is stored as memory because of the new nerve cell connections formed during sleep.

  • It improves problem solving skills, makes one more creative and helps in decision making.

  • It improves the ability to focus and pay attention.

  • Adequate sleep (7-8 hours of night time sleep) is essential for many functions of the body.

Improper/inadequate sleep…

  • Increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke as the regular repair and healing of blood vessels and heart does not happen.

  • Increases the risk of Diabetes – Improper sleep regulates the release and utilisation of insulin, leading to insulin resistance and high blood sugar.

  • Increases risk of obesity  by adversely affecting hunger and satiety hormones.

  • Increases risk of infection – improper sleep over a period of time weakens the response of immune system, increasing the frequency to catch cold and other common infections.

  • Decreases growth and tissue repair – less sleep decreases the release of growth hormones slowing growth in children and tissue repair in adults.

  • Finally-poor sleep is also the cause of many accidents.

That’s reason enough to go to bed!

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