Often underestimated, getting a good nightâ€™s sleep really is a crucial part of maintaining your overall health and wellbeing. The amount of sleep that you require differs from person to person, but any adult who thinks that they need less than 7 or 8 hours of quality sleep each night is fooling themselves.
Of course, there are times when we are obligated to burn the candle at both ends and coffee or energy drinks can help us through these tough times, but to regularly lack quality sleep can actually be very detrimental to our health, both mentally and physically. Plus, regular consumption of high levels of caffeine can actually have an adverse effect on our concentration levels and can also have very negative effects on our health as well.
In 2004, the British television station Channel 4, aired a Big Brother-like reality TV show called â€œShatteredâ€ in which participants were deprived of sleep, without stimulants, for up to a week at a time.
In their exhausted states the contestants were set a number of challenges including watching paint dry, viewing video footage of other people yawning and memory tasks, and the person who managed to stay awake longest was awarded a prize of Â£100,000, which is approximately $150,000 US dollars.
Health Risks Associated with Insomnia
The show came under attack from a number of expert bodies including The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy as being â€œdangerous and exploitativeâ€ after participants suffered memory loss, slurred speech and even hallucinations. Fortunately, none of these effects were permanent or did any lasting damages.Â None the less the show highlights the importance of sleep and its effects on your waking life.
One of the reasons why sleep is so important is that it is vital to the immune system.
When we sleep, other processes in our bodies slow down â€“ food digestion, and breathing for example â€“ and the body puts its energy towards other things instead, particularly into repairing any damage to the body and to fighting infections. This is the reason why we feel tired and need to stay in bed when we have the â€˜flu or other illnesses â€“ itâ€™s our bodyâ€™s way of telling us that it needs time to rest and repair! Sleep also allows regeneration of vital cells and proteins. Without good quality, regular sleep, wounds take longer to heal, infections take longer to clear and our skin looks dull andÂ lackluster.
How Sleep Affects Your Mood?
Peter Tripp, an American radio DJ who once attempted the world record for going the longest time without sleep, developed a radical personality change which including mood swings and bouts with depression. Although this is an extreme, people who regularly achieve good quality sleep have more get-up-and-go, are happier and more active. They also cope with stress much better, and since stress is a common reason why people canâ€™t sleep well, itâ€™s clear that stress avoidance and good sleep go hand in hand.
People who sleep better have fewer accidents, too.
It has been estimated that up to 100,000 crashes happen per year in the US killing 1,500 people and injuring 71,000.Â Sleeping and driving can definitely be a terrible, that we do not recommend.
As one can tell, Sleep is something that we need, not just a luxury!Â If we do not get the daily dosage that we need daily we will not only be fully energized and be able to reach our max potential on a daily basis.