Sleep 101: Why sleep is so important to your health. Why is sleep good for you? Why is sleep necessary?
Do I need 8 hours of sleep? Can I get away with my poor sleeping habits? Why is sleep important? If you have any of these questions or others relating to sleep health then you have come to the right place!
Below we will discuss how sleep works, why we need it, the benefits of sleeping, the side effects of lack of sleep, and so much more. If you are ready to debunk poor sleeping habits and want to feel energised during the day then this article is for you.
How sleep works – Why is sleep important? The science behind sleep.
What is sleep exactly and how does it help us stay healthy? What is sleep and why is it important for health?
In my one-on-one consultations with my clients, I always mention the holy trinity: get enough sleep, heal your gut, eat nutritious diets, and move your body. That is how you win at health and life!
We’ll talk about sleep since it makes or breaks your entire day. If your sleep is poor, your energy, mood, and productivity will be poor. No matter how many cups of coffee you drink, how many naps you take, or what boosters you have. Your brain needs the full 7-9 to reset, recover, and repair.
Why is sleep so important? While you sleep, your cells are supporting your brain functioning and help you maintain physical health. Sleep allows you to grow and develop into a healthy adult. It reduces your risk of getting chronic health problems. Thus making it a natural way of becoming and staying healthy.
Sleep has long-term effects on your brain. It affects how you learn, work, react, respond, and interact. Sleeping also affects all major systems in the body namely the immune, respiratory, and circulatory systems.
Your body clock and your health what is the internal body clock? All about your body clock.
When we talk about sleep, we have to talk about your body’s internal clock. The definition is in the name. It is a physiological and physiological built-in that gives your mind, body, and spirit a set routine. It determines when you wake up when you sleep when you get hungry- even when your digestive system is activated.
This is an important system to have control over. You can set schedules, goals, and routines. However, your body’s internal clock is the determining factor in whether or not you will be able to show up at full capacity to complete this task.
The top tip to maintain your body’s internal clock is to control your sleep. Wake up around the same time every day, sleep around the same time every night, have a morning and evening unwinding routine, ensure you get the full 7-9 hours of rest, and show up consistently. When your internal body clock is set properly, you will begin to find yourself feeling more energized and in control of your fatigue.
If you need more scientific research on the internal clock then I suggest you check out these papers: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6783289/
4 Stages of sleep: NREM, REM, and the sleep cycle. What are the stages of sleep? Stages of sleep.
What are the 4 stages of sleep? Stages of sleep: What happens in a sleep sycle
To understand the importance of sleep, we need to understand what happens when we sleep. This can be described in the 4 stages of sleep namely:
- Stage 1 NREM- Light sleep
- Stage 2 NREM- Deeper sleep
- Stage 3 NREM- Deepest sleep
- Stage 4 REM- Dreaming
Each cycle of sleep contains its own scientific occurrences that are important for your brain and development. A good night’s rest consists of each stage. Sleep is divided into non-REM (NREM) and REM stages.
Let’s now look at each one individually for a better understanding.
Stage 1 NREM (Light sleep)
The first stage of sleep is when you just start falling asleep. This is the light sleep stage. Here you need to tread lightly. Any sense of external stimuli can wake you. From a change in light exposure to a soft noise. I’ve noticed that a good way to improve stage one, in turn, all stages, is to wear an eye mask and noise-canceling earplugs.
This is the stage where your brain begins to slow down. Other components also slow down such as your eye movement, breathing, and heartbeat. Your body begins to relax. This only lasts for up to 10 minutes. Your brain is still semi-active.
Stage 2 NREM (Deeper sleep)
The second sleep is the NREM stage 2. This lasts 20 minutes for each cycle. Here your body temperatures become lower, your eyes stop moving, and your heart rate and breathing rate become regular. Here you start dozing off and you’re not as aware of your surroundings as much anymore.
Your brain waves become rapid and rhythmic. This is a fundamental brain wave. Here is where your brain processes and gathers the memories you gained from the day. Most of our sleep time is spent in this stage.
Stage 3 NREM (Deepest sleep)
The next stage is the deepest sleep. This is where slow brain waves are released. If your kid is screaming in the house or your husband’s football game is playing at full blast- you most likely won’t hear it in this sleep stage. This is where your body starts physical repairs.
This is the most important part of sleep that makes you feel rested and rejuvenated during the day. Being awakened from deep sleep is the worst experience and often leaves you feeling groggy and moody. This stage is where your breathing slows down and your blood pressure drops. You experience full muscle relaxation.
This stage combined with the next stage is a vital combination. Here your body is promoting muscle growth and bone strength. Your immune system is being repaired. Illnesses and infections are being fought off. Your cells work and repair to rebuild and rejuvenate.
Stage 4 REM (Dreaming)
The final stage of the sleep cycle is the REM stage. This is where your brain is experiencing a lot of activity while your muscles experience none. Your body is physically paralyzed while your brain activity is similar to that of you being awake. This is the stage where you experience dreams. Your breathing becomes more irregular and faster. Your eyes move fast.
Why do we need sleep? Reasons why sleep is important
26 Benefits of sleep. 26 Reasons for getting a good night’s rest. 26 Top benefits of getting more sleep. What are 26 reasons why sleep is important? What are 26 reasons why sleep is important? What are 26 reasons why good sleep is important?
Here are 26 reasons why you need sleep:
- It improves your blood pressure.
- It eases the work on your heart.
- Improves heart rate.
- Reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Generates hormonal function in the body.
- Improves fat digestion.
- Strengthens the quality of liver function.
- Improves cognitive functioning.
- Better memory.
- Optimal physical performance.
- Reduce weight gain.
- Reduce salt retention.
- Aids in inflammation.
- Regulate calories better.
- Improves endurance.
- Stimulates energy.
- Higher athletic performance.
- Better mental functionality.
- Improves reaction time and accuracy.
- Improves emotional intelligence.
- Reduce chances of depression.
- Prevents insomnia.
- Strengthens the immune system.
- Repairs and regenerates cells.
- Stimulates productivity.
- Improves ability to fight off germs.
Let’s face it. The best thing about life is the ability to sleep. Being able to come to your bed after a long day and just relax is amazing. It’s even better because science recommends it and your health needs it. In our fast-paced world, the opportunity to sleep is a blessing.
I know, the grind is important. You need to reach goals and gain things to feel successful. No money ever feels enough and an achievement only satisfies us until the next opportunity. Our life is fast. We have a lot to do and 24 hours just do not feel enough.
While I understand this, I also understand that your body can’t operate 24/7 working and grinding. The best thing you can learn in your early years is to prioritize sleep. Going even further than that, you need to learn how to achieve good meaningful sleep. These 26 reasons why sleep is important are definitely essential aspects of being a happy and well-rounded human.
How important is sleep for young people? Do young people need sleep? What happens when you don’t sleep at a young age?
Why is sleep important for teens? Why is sleep important for kids? Why is sleep important for children? Why is sleep important for babies?
Sleep is important for kids because of the following reasons:
- Their brain needs to develop.
- They need the energy to concentrate in school.
- Proper sleep helps improve memory retention.
- It improves their mood.
- Their learning abilities will get better.
- Better social interaction.
- Boosts sports performance.
- Promotes growth of healthy cells.
- Supports their immune system.
- Helps their hearts to grow healthily.
- Reduces their fatigue during the day.
- It calms their stress from the day.
- It’ll improve grades.
- Stimulates their general awareness.
- Helps to regulate appetite.
- Allows them to be creative.
To all the moms and dads here, you need to know that sleep is important for everyone in the house. You, your partner, your pets, and your children. Children specifically need sleep because they are growing every day. From being a baby to becoming a young adult. Many of their life phases are affected by how much sleep they get.
Nap time is the best time. However, the sweet spot is getting them that full 8 hours of sleep. You need to sit down with your children and explain to them why they need sleep. The reasons it is good for them. Moreover, you need to practice good sleep hygiene yourself so that they can have an example to follow.
For all the parents struggling with kids that do not want to sleep, have a look at these do’s and don’t of kid bedtime routines: https://www.verywellfamily.com/kids-and-bedtime-routines-2634260
Why is sleep important for the brain? Why is sleep important for students?
Sleep is important for your brain, thus it is important to people that need constant brain functioning and memory retention. Students, elders, and growing babies especially need sleep for their brain functionality. However, young adults should also prioritize sleep to keep their brains sharper for more years of their life.
Your brain needs sleep. During sleep, your brain removes wastes and toxins. It happens at night and clears out particles that can lead to Alzheimer’s. Sleep is important for your brain thus it is important for you.
Why is sleep important for athletes? Why is sleep important for muscle growth?
If you train, you need to sleep. Whether you jog, are an athlete, lift weights in the gym, swim, or do gentle pilates. Your body needs sleep. This is because when you exercise, your body breaks down your muscle tissues and depletes your energy levels as well as fluids. When you sleep, your muscles are completely relaxed.
This is where they begin to heal. It allows cells to regrow and repair. Your cells begin to function optimally. During sleep, your body also restores energy and alertness for physical activity. Your muscles grow and strengthen during your rest period. It is essential to sleep well and to have rest days in between exercising particular muscle groups.
Why is sleep important for mental health?
I’ve had many clients that tell me they sleep when they feel down. Although sleeping won’t solve your problems, it definitely boosts your mood and feels a whole lot better than staying awake and dealing with depression. How does this work?
You can tell a lot about how sleep affects our mood by observing how you feel after a night’s rest. If you are still tired, chances are you are moody and already have a bad day. There are ample studies that show a link between anger, irritation, depression to lack of sleep.
Insomnia and low mental health also go hand in hand. Your poor mental health causes insomnia, which in turn causes even worse mental health. Lack of sleep can increase the risks of anxiety and depression. This can then lead to not only psychological sadness but also physical sadness. Your immune system then gets affected and you can turn ill.
Why is sleep important for weight loss?
You can’t sleep your way into your dream body. However, a good night’s rest can definitely help you reach your health goals. When you have a bad night’s rest, you are more likely to have low dopamine and serotonin release. Then you already begin your day drinking coffee, eating unhealthy, and making bad choices to feel better.
Contrarily, if you sleep well you are more likely to live well. You are less likely to need caffeine. To reach for the apple instead of the doughnut. To have energy for your run. Sleep then helps you create better habits which help with weight loss.
Sleep isn’t your 30-day step to weight loss. However, it is definitely a key contributor. Lack of sleep spikes your cortisol levels. This puts your body in a state of conserving energy for when you are awake which makes you prone to weight gain.
Side effects of not sleeping enough. What are 11 effects of lack of sleep? What are the 11 signs of sleep deprivation?
What symptoms can lack of sleep cause?
Here are the side effects of not sleeping enough:
- Coronary heart disease.
- More prone to strokes.
- Higher blood pressure.
- Obesity or irregular weight gain.
- Increased hunger hormones.
- Reduction in insulin response
- Increase fatty unhealthy food consumption.
- Lowers physical activity.
- Obesity or overweight symptoms.
- Prone to colds and infections.
- Problems focusing.
The cons of not sleeping are awful. It’s better to just avoid it in total/ That one last episode, Instagram scrolling, late-night binge eating, or late-night work hours aren’t worth sacrificing your health. Wherever you can, manage your time. Schedule things for the daytime and stay committed. Then your hours at night will be cleared for you to sleep. Thus giving you more energy the next day to complete all your tasks early and effectively. And so a beautiful cycle of productivity and rest begins.
Tips for improving sleep. How can I improve my ability to sleep?
What are 30 tips to improve sleep? What are 30 tips for improving your sleep?
Here’s how to improve your sleep quality:
- Sleep at the same time every night.
- Wake up at the same time every morning.
- Do not hit the snooze button on your alarm.
- Avoid drinking large amounts of water before bed.
- Do not eat before bed.
- Have an unwinding bedtime routine.
- Cut out technology (blue light) an hour or two before bed.
- Make sure your bedding is soft and comfortable.
- Invest in a good mattress and pillow.
- Get silicone moldable earplugs.
- Sleep with an eye mask on.
- Play sleep sounds or white noise to reduce external disturbances.
- Write a to-do list for tomorrow to ease your mind of worries.
- Journal before bed to unwind.
- Ensure the temperature in your room is comfortable.
- Reduce light and noise exposure.
- Exercise in the afternoon.
- Do not eat a lot of junk food during the day.
- Eat leafy greens and plant-based foods.
- Schedule your day properly.
- Seek medical help for insomnia or sleep apnea.
- Use a nose spray/inhaler to prevent snoring from waking you up.
- Consider sleeping away from snorers and restless sleepers.
- Speak positive affirmations about sleep while you wander off.
- Consider a sleep talk-down meditation.
- Get into the mindset of sleeping hours before you get into your bed,
- Avoid bringing work to bed.
- A warm bath before bed.
- Wear comfortable and soft pajamas.
- Keep water by your bed and lips moisturized.
The best thing about sleep is that it can be improved every day. There is never just one way to sleep. Although we’ve been sleeping since the day we were conceived, we will learn new things about sleep every day. Following these easy steps will surely begin to transform the way you sleep.
If you transform the way you sleep, then you transform the way you operate when you are awake. You need to remember that even if you go to bed early enough for 7-9 hours of sleep, many factors can affect your sleep quality. External stimuli, stress, worry, discomfort, health issues, and unhealthy habits all reduce the quality of sleep. Even if I sleep early, when my 7-9 hours are disrupted and I wake up in the middle of the night, I always feel terrible the next morning. Thus the first step is to reduce the chances of your sleep being interrupted and you waking up in the middle of the night.
Another important thing to pay attention to is your daily habits. If you still feel tired after 7-9 hours of sleep, then chances are you have health issues. They’re not always chronic. Sometimes you are just overweight, eating low-energy food, or not managing your daily task well. The key to better sleep is improving your lifestyle.
If you need help becoming a better version of yourself, change how you eat, how your gut operates, how you deal with stress and your daily habits. Then you have come to the right place. I am a Nutritional Therapist and gut health expert ready to help you sleep better by improving the way you live. Contact me today: https://www.healthconcepts.ie/contact-me/
FAQ about the importance of sleep. People also ask about sleep.
To end of this blog, I’ll answer more FAQs on sleep and its importance:
- Is it okay not to go to sleep?
- Is it possible to not need sleep?
- Why do humans sleep so little?
- How can I sleep 8 hours in 1 hour?
- How much sleep is enough?
- Why do I wake up tired?
- How much sleep do I need by age?
- What happens if you don’t sleep?
- Is resting as good as sleeping?
- Why do I feel better with less sleep?
- Does closing eyes count as sleeping?
- Why am I awake but my mind asleep?
Is it okay not to go to sleep?
Just like your body needs to breathe and eat. It needs to sleep. It is part of the cycle that makes us humans. Your systems can actually shut down without sleep. Sleep deprivation is a taunting thing to experience.
Is it possible to not need sleep? | Is it possible to not be able to sleep? | Can you function on no sleep?
Yes, you can function without sleep. For a couple of days. However, you will absolutely not function optimally. Your brain won’t operate normally, you can develop dementia, your organs can fail and in the worst-case scenario- your heart can get complications.
Why do humans sleep so little?
We live in a fast-paced world. Blue lights from screens are constantly keeping us awake. Our brains are on constant alert and filled with dopamine and serotonin from external sources. We spend a lot of time procrastinating on technology so our days go by too fast and we never get a chance to sleep for 7-9 hours fully.
How can I sleep 8 hours in 1 hour?
Research shows that short bursts of naps are as good as a full night’s rest- temporarily. If you want to get some sleep, sleep for either 20 minutes or 90 minutes. This is a good sleep cycle that won’t have you feeling groggy. However, you still need the full 7-9 for optimal performance and growth.
How much sleep is enough?
The amount of sleep you need varies from person to person. I like to use the range 7-9 and most scientists say 8. So if you are sleeping anywhere from 7 to 9 hours, you are in the sweet spot of getting all the rest you need to feel rejuvenated and healthy.
Why do I wake up tired?
We wake up tired because of many reasons:
- Poor gut health.
- Bad stress management.
- Fear and anxiety.
- Bad night routine.
- Too many stimuli before bed.
- Big meals before bed.
- Lack of exercise.
- Poor nutritional choices.
- Chronic illnesses.
- Low mental health.
- Bad time management during the day.
Is resting as good as sleeping? | Can a human rest without sleeping?
It is very possible to rest without sleeping. Rest is the state of not doing anything productive. It can look different for everyone. Some people rest with a nap. Others rest laying with their eyes closed. Other people rest while watching tv. It’s a state that makes your body feel the most relaxed/
Why do I feel better with less sleep?
The quality of your sleep doesn’t always depend on how many hours. It depends on the cycles you complete. One sleep cycle can be completed in 90 minutes. But you can also go through these sleep cycles multiple times in 8 hours.
Does closing eyes count as sleeping?
No, closing your eyes and sleeping are not the same. Closing your eyes is merely stopping visual stimuli. Sleeping is when your brain slows down, breathing slows down, muscles relax, and cells are repaired.
Why am I awake but my mind asleep?
Have you ever been awake while your mind was asleep? This can be good or bad. It is good because your mind is clear and free of worries. It can be bad if your mind is not functioning due to stress, insomnia, or another disease.
The summary of the importance of sleep
Sleep is the greatest gift we received as humans. It is when our bodies do the work while we are on vacation. It is the moment your cells and organs work without you having to do a single thing but show up. All you need to do is show up for your body.
You can eat well, drink water, and go to therapy. But if you do not fix your sleep schedule, you will always lead a low vibrational life. I know it isn’t easy to sleep in this world, but you have to make an effort. It is so important to get a good night’s sleep and get to sleep by 10 pm. The importance of having a wind-down hour before sleep time will change your life!
People are so hard on their bodies, they stress, work or watch movies that have them sitting on the edge of the couch and then climbing into bed and wondering what is wrong with their bodies, and why can’t they sleep. Avoiding blue lights is important for the brain to switch off. You could use the body clock here and learn so much by what time you wake in the middle of the night.
The body only truly repairs when asleep. Another important tip is to not go to bed on a full stomach. Your body will be wasting valuable time digesting instead of repairing as it should while you’re asleep.