Importance Of Sleep
Sleep is essential to our overall health and well-being. It allows our minds and bodies to rest properly so that we may wake refreshed and ready for the day ahead. It affects every aspect of our lives; from our appearance and physical ability to our attitude and mental prowess. When we sleep well; we tend to look, feel and perform well. We also have an increased ability to perform the following activities:
- Organize, retain and recover memories
- Make decisions
- Interact socially
- Process emotions
- Maintain a strong and healthy immune system
- Develop physically and mentally
When we do not receive a sufficient amount of quality sleep, however, we tend to perform inadequately in all areas. We feel tired, frustrated, moody and unmotivated. In addition, we are increasingly unable to function properly and tend to suffer from the following:
- Poor judgment
- Poor performance at work, school, sports or other activities
- Impaired memory, concentration and learning ability
- Poor coordination
- Impaired driving ability
- Anxiety, depression and other emotional problems
Insufficient sleep over time is even more problematic and leads to the accumulation of what is called a “sleep debt.” This type of sleep deprivation can have serious long-term effects leading to health problems, obesity and hyperactivity. The best way to avoid accumulating a “sleep debt” is to make sleep a priority each and every day. If you wake up feeling refreshed, you are probably sleeping enough. If not, you need to adjust your sleeping habits. See our Sleep Tips for more information and start sleeping right
- Wake up at the same time every morning.
- Exercise regularly and be sure to complete your workout a few hours before bedtime.
- Eat right and be sure to avoid large meals two to three hours before bedtime. If you get hungry, have a light snack before bed.
- Avoid taking naps during the day, especially if you’re having trouble sleeping at night.
- Avoid caffeine too close to bedtime as it tends to keep you awake.
- Avoid alcohol and nicotine, which lead to poor, disruptive sleep.
- Keep computers, televisions, phones and other work-related materials out of your bedroom.
- Engage in a relaxing bedtime ritual to help you fall asleep. This might include aromatherapy, listening to music, meditation or soaking in a hot bath.
- Go to sleep when you feel tired. If possible, go to sleep at the same time every night.
- Make sure your mattress set and pillows are comfortable and supportive.
- Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet and at a comfortable temperature.
- If you can’t fall asleep, get out of bed, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy.
- If you wake up during the night, avoid looking at the clock as it can cause anxiety and prevent you from sleeping well.
- If you still have trouble sleeping, try keeping a sleep diary.
- If you have further concerns, consult a doctor for advice.