Sleep why is it so important for our health?


Sleep is fundamental for our good health and well being and there is a reciprocal relationship between the two.   A good nights rest every night, is quite probably the singular most important factor in our day to day health.  We need to consider it with the respect it deserves.

It is not something that we can manage without, and is essential for facilitating normal functioning.  Lack of it even for one night can impact on the way we feel the next day,  often it can be rectified quickly.  However, when we lose sleep on a regular basis, it impacts on us negatively and quickly.  It hinders our ability to pay attention, remain alert, and lowers our concentration, reasoning, and problem solving abilities.  Thereby making it more difficult to learn efficiently.  Usually when we are sleeping during the night, we undertake various sleep cycles and these play a role in ‘consolidating’ memories in our brain.

What happens to our brain, when we lose sleep on a regular basis?

There are three kinds of sleep, light, deep, and REM sleep.

When we sleep our body and brain does not shut down completely we enter phases, lighter and deeper phases.  Light sleep as it name suggests is easier to be woken from, for example noise, temperature, touch, and movement can wake us up.  It is described as a Non -REM sleep and it  is a useful and an important part of the daily cycle, memory is backed up at this point.  The body rests and repairs cells, although perhaps not to the extent that happens in deep sleep.

Deep, non-REM  or slow wave sleep, is the most refreshing type, Hence the phrase “sleeping like a baby”, when we are in the deeper phases, our brain stays busy, managing an internal support system that helps us to keep running in optimum condition.  This cycle, helps the body repair itself and build energy for the next day; our tissues and muscles recover, our immune system gets a boost and all the information we have absorbed during the day gets consolidated in our memory.  Unfortunately, the older we get the less deep sleep we get.

Most adults will cycle through the non-REM and REM phases every 90 to 120 minutes. This process is known as the circadian rhythm. The REM stage of sleep is now known as (rapid eye movement) sleep and is linked to extremely vivid dreaming.   There are different theories about REM sleep’s function and they seem to agree that it helps in forming new memories, stimulates the central nervous system, and restores brain chemistry to a normal balance.


If your struggling with getting enough sleep, here are some suggestions that may help.Ideas that may help