Without sleep you would not survive, it is as simple as that. You need sleep to maintain your good health and wellbeing. Getting the right amount of quality sleep will mean that you can protect your mental and physical health, as well as your quality of life and safety.
How you feel during the day depends on the rest you got at night. You are never going to be ready to tackle the day on 4 hours of sleep! While you sleep, your body is working to maintain your brain function and your physical health. The growth and development of children and teens are also enhanced during sleep time.
Not getting enough sleep can be dangerous as it affects your concentration, reaction times, thought processes and how you get along with others. Over time, sleep deficiency can increase your risk for some major illnesses.
Let’s dive a little deeper into the three main areas that sleep supports…
To put it simply, sleep helps your brain to function as it should. While you sleep, your brain is getting you ready for the next day. It is cataloguing the things you learnt the day before and forming new pathways or you to remember and access that information when needed.
Sleep helps your ability to learn in all areas, it also enhances your problem solving skills, helps you pay attention and make decisions, and it feeds your creativity.
Not getting enough sleep can create negative behaviours like depression, suicidal thoughts and risk-taking activities. It makes sense that when you don’t get enough sleep, you lose all those positive benefits, compromising your problem solving skills, your ability to make good decisions, and you may even find it hard to control your behaviour.
Children and teens who don;t get enough sleep may find their social skills affected, making it hard for them to communicate with, and get along with their peers. Because their concentration is affected also, they might struggle at school and achieve lower results than they should.
One of the key functions of sleep is to allow your body time to heal and repair your heart, cells and organs from the daily damage caused. That is why an ongoing lack of sleep can increase your risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure and strokes.
Sleep plays a large part in your weight journey. Not getting enough sleep can cause an increased risk of obesity. When you don’t get the right amount of shut-eye, your hormones can get out of kilter. This can result in you feeling hungrier when you are tired.
It makes sense that sleep is also vital for growth and development. If your body is repairing damage overnight, then it is also encouraging new growth. Deep sleep triggers a boost in muscle mass and the repair of cells and tissues. It also plays an important role in puberty and fertility.
Your immune system is protected by a good night’s sleep. When you are sleep deficient, your immune system cannot protect your body in the way that it should, changing the way it responds to germs and bugs. This will mean that you are more prone to picking up minor illnesses.
Day To Day Safety
Getting your forty winks each night will help you to function at a high level all day. Those that don’t get enough sleep are often unproductive, taking longer to complete tasks than their rested counterparts, have a slower reaction time, and even make more mistakes.
It is scary to think that losing just 1 or 2 hours of sleep a night for several nights, can affect your ability to function drastically. It can make you prone to microsleeps, and you might not even know that you are doing it. Microsleeps are brief moments of sleep that occur when you are normally awake. So if you can’t remember the last 5 minutes of your drive home, or you are having trouble understanding the meaning behind a lecture, you may have experienced a microsleep.
When you haven’t got enough sleep, you may still feel capable of your daily tasks, not realising that your abilities have been compromised. This has led to many car accidents and preventable workplace accidents.
So, have we convinced you that you need your sleep? Put down your phone, stop working into the night, and finish your partying up early to make sure you protect the precious commodity that is sleep!