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Scientifically speaking, sleep is essential because it rests the body, restores brain chemicals like serotonin and nor epinephrine. Recent research even suggests that sleep helps the brain organise and store information in an orderly fashion, compartmentalising the days events and your feelings on a nightly basis . Now, in layman’s terms, and simply stated, sleep is indispensable to one’s overall health and well-being.
Babies and toddlers need a lot of sleep, in most cases up to 16 hours out of 24. As you grow older, into children you require less, anywhere from 9 to 16 hours. As you get to your teenage years the amount drops again to around 9 hours, although if you know any teenagers they often take much more. Finally in your adult years you typically require 7-8 hours. This can vary greatly however with those who need less (up to as little as 5 hours) and those who need more (as many as 10 hours).
Interestingly, scientific evidence links sleep in humans to their internal clock, (also known as your Circadian Clock). Your clock is responsible for many things including the trigger for your sleep and wake times. The clock uses signs in your environment as part of regulating your sleep pattern as well as the need for physical and mental recuperation. Of course, these sleep requirements are geared to measure good, restful sleep, something many people fail to achieve. Your clock also regulates and introduces various hormones including melatonin which chemically causes drowsiness preparing you to drift asleep.
Millions of people, about 60 percent of the world’s adult population, complain of sleep problems multiple times per week with 40 percent of those, reporting sleepiness which interferes with the daily schedules. Not getting enough sleep can cause all sorts of issues, some more severe than others. Lack of sleep effects your emotions and your mood, making you grumpy, tired, and irritable. In addition, lack of sleep can make you more prone to weight gain and less able to concentrate and think clearly.
Remember the brain receives a chemical boosts from sleep as mentioned earlier. Serotonin affects emotions, sleep, appetite, and mood, while nor epinephrine affects your heart rate, blood pressure, metabolism, and stress responses.
Lack of sleep over a long period can cause problems. Daytime sleepiness, brought on by lack of sleep means you may cause accidents and injuries both on the road, at home, and at your job. Sleep deprivation also disables your cognitive abilities – concentration, memory, problem solving, reasoning, judgement, and attention span.
Chronic sleep loss can increase your risk of health problems including heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and more. Lack of sleep can also lower your libido, make you put on weight, and cause premature ageing of your skin such as puffy eyes, fine lines, and dark circles.
Waking from a good nights sleep can leave you feeling relaxed, focused and ready for the day ahead. Good, restful sleep is continuous, allowing your body systems to relax, renew, and restore themselves. A really good night’s sleep means your body cycles through the sleep stages multiple times, including the deep sleep stage as well as the REM sleep stage (the dream stage).
Well before you do anything check out our article on getting the best nights sleep.
If you still are sure, it might be time to talk to your doctor about different technique's to get that good’s night sleep everyone deserves!