The Importance Of Sleep For Our General Health And Wellbeing

Apr 08, 2016
Tagged with: The Importance Of Sleep For Our General Health And Wellbeing

For most people sleep is just a fact of life. It happens over and over again on a daily basis, making it easy to take for granted. We all know that life is impossible without sleep. However it does so much more than just keep us alive. The importance of sleep should not be underestimated. It plays a key role in our overall health and general wellbeing.


Why Is Sleep Important?

When we fall asleep our body gets to work. It’s the time where our body rejuvenates itself. This is why we wake up feeling refreshed. Not only do our muscles heal and grow while we sleep, our heart and blood vessels repair themselves as well. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute there is a link between sleep deficiency and “an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke”.

Sleep keeps us strong in another way too. It maintains the strength of our immune system. You have probably noticed this before, and are familiar with the feeling of being run down after a few sleepless nights. Without regular adequate sleep our immune system weakens, reducing its fighting power. This makes us more susceptible to common infections.

The importance of sleep relates not only to our physical health, but our mental health as well. Everyone knows that waking up feeling tired and drowsy can lead to a bad state of mind. This goes deeper than just waking up feeling grumpy. Sleep deprivation can have a serious impact on the way we handle stress and our relationships with the people around us. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “Resilience to stress, emotional regulation, and inter-personal relationships are impaired by sleep deficiency”.


How Can You Use This Information?

Knowing the importance of sleep can help you in your daily life. Not only can you recognize its importance, you can be proactive about getting the most out of your sleep to fully reap the benefits.

The first step is to find out how much sleep is perfect for you. This will vary according to your age, health and lifestyle. As an indication you can use these recommendations from the National Sleep Foundation:

  • Teenager (14-17): 8 – 10 hours
  • Young adult (18-25): 7 – 9 hours
  • Adult (26-64): 7 – 9 hours
  • Older adult (>64): 7 -8 hours

To find out how much sleep is perfect for you, set an alarm for the morning following the recommended sleep time for your age group. Use the same go to bed and wake up time for 5 days and see if you start to wake up naturally a few minutes before your alarm goes off. If you do, perfect. You have found your ideal sleep duration. If you are still waking to the alarm clock going off, set the alarm for 15 minutes later and try this time for 5 days. Hopefully you will start to wake up just before your alarm goes off. If not, continue to set your alarm for 15 minutes later and testing for 5 days until you do.

Now that you have your optimal sleep time, keep to the schedule. Our body benefits from routine. By going to bed and waking up at the same time consistently, you will not only fall asleep more easily you will also sleep better.


The Final Word

It is very beneficial to understand the importance of sleep. Getting in the right habits and trying to optimize your sleep can add significant value to your physical and mental health. How much sleep do you get every night? Is it enough? Do you feel the impact it has on your general health and wellbeing? I would love to hear from you, so if you have an opinion please share it in the comments below.

Author: Nick Hasche

  • bobl07

    This is such an important issue. I know that as an athlete that trains, sleep and rest are so important for recovery of muscles. Thanks for the tips.

  • Nick Hasche

    Absolutely. Sleep plays a crucial role in athletic development. Your muscles repair and grow while you sleep. Regular and proper sleep will also reduce your down time between workouts. This allows you to train more often and boost your performance!