Why is Sleep Important?

By Sarah Mengel l Accredited Exercise Physiologist
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Sleep is important for good health and wellbeing as it plays a role in both our physical and mental health.

PHYSICAL HEALTH

Sleep is important for the healing of tissues and cells, it is required for the regulation of some hormones and important for a strong immune system. Sleep deficiency can harm your over time as it can increase the risk for some chronic conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes and stroke.

Sleep is also important for growth and development in children. Deep sleep triggers the body to release the hormone that promotes growth in children/teens and an increase in muscle mass.

BRAIN FUNCTION AND MENTAL HEALTH

While are sleeping our brains are forming new pathways to help with learning and remembering information. Sleep also helps with problem solving, decision making, controlling emotions and dealing with difficult situations.

HOW MUCH SLEEP DO WE NEED?

7-9 hours sleep per night is optimal for adults. Check out the table below for more detailed recommendations

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The above sleep duration recommendations are based on a report of an expert panel convened by the US based National Sleep Foundation and published in 2015 in their journal Sleep Health.

SLEEP HYGIENE TIPS:

  1. Limit caffeine and alcohol before bedtime
  2. Switch of screens 30 minutes before bedtime
  3. Create a sleep routine with regular bedtime and wake up time
  4. Avoid going to bed on a full or empty stomach
  5. Start winding down an hour before bedtime
  6. An evening nap can make it hard to sleep at night