To function properly, human beings need to sleep. The recommended number of hours to get per night is usually put at around eight – though this will vary with age. While the precise function served by sleep is not known, we can say there are many of them. If you don’t get enough sleep, the effects tend to be obvious.
What are the benefits of sleep?
Sleep performs a crucial role in organising all the information you’ve taken in throughout the day. It will turn all those short-term memories and transfer them into long-term ones. This ensures a feeling of clarity when you wake up. You might notice this effect when you’re trying to learn a new skill or hobby. That piano piece you were learning is likely to be a lot less stubborn after a good night’s sleep.
Sleep will also improve your focus and concentration – or rather, a lack of sleep will inhibit these things. If you’re going to be driving long distances or operating heavy machinery, a good night’s sleep is crucial to your safety. But the same also applies to less dangerous forms of work: sleep well and you’ll be more productive.
Sleep also has effects on your metabolism and your body’s ability to rebuild itself after exercise. It’s while your body is prone that all of the reconstruction takes place. Moreover, a lack of sleep will interfere with the hormones that regulate hunger, causing you to lapse into bad eating habits.
How can I get enough sleep?
Let’s run through a few of the obstacles to a good night’s sleep.
Stress: If you’re worried, it can be difficult to drop off to sleep. And if you’re having bad dreams, then sleep can be fitful. Poster printing specialists instantprint surveyed 1,000 UK office workers and found out that four out of five had dreamed about work – and that one in five had thought about quitting because of bad dreams.
Alcohol, caffeine and nicotine: All these substances will interfere with your sleep, particularly if you’re taking them just before bed. While alcohol might act as a sedative, it won’t actually put you into a deep sleep. That’s why you can sleep for 10 hours after a night out and still wake up feeling completely unrefreshed.
Room temperature: Ideally, you want your bedroom to be a little bit cooler at night than you might think. According to the Sleep Council, bedrooms should be around 16°C-18°C at night.
Bright Lights before bed: A bright light can mess with your circadian rhythm, as it sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to wake up and be active. Therefore, it’s worth dimming the bulbs in your bathroom and not using your phone before bedtime.