We all know that sleep is important and while more research is needed to look at the links between chronic sleep loss and health, it’s safe to say that sleep is too important to shortchange. There are many reasons why we should get some good quality sleep every night, such as:
Serious sleep disorders have been linked to high blood pressure, increased stress levels and irregular heartbeat.
Sleep deprivation can alter the immune system – this includes the activity of the body’s killer cells. It is very important to maintain a healthy immune system to help fight disease, including cancer.
Sleep loss can result in mood changes such as irritability, impatience, lack of concentration and moodiness.
Lack of sleep contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the day resulting in accidents and errors at work.
Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates and also by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
A good night’s sleep depends on a lot of different factors such as comfort, stress levels and room temperature. It’s important to get the basics right and to start with a good mattress – this is the first step to getting a restful night’s sleep.
Did you know?
To drop off we must cool off – body temperature and the brain’s sleep-wake cycle are closely linked. That’s why hot summer nights can cause a restless sleep. The blood flow mechanism that transfers core body heat to the skin works best between 18 and 30 degrees. But later in life, the comfort zone shrinks to between 23 and 25 degrees – one reason why older people have more sleep disorders.
Sleep is the cornerstone of our health. If we fail our bodies on providing the correct sleep to allow the rejuvenation and growth that is required, we are exposing it to the serious complications that sleep deprivation can cause.
In Short: Get the top tips on sleep, and why it’s so important, from Geraldine Gleeson (the Marie Keating Foundation’s Nurse Manager and Director of Services.