Getting enough sleep is essential for helping a person maintain optimal health and well-being. When it comes to your health, sleep is as vital as regular exercise and eating a balanced diet. So what is sleep?

The following are some of the many benefits health professionals associate with getting a good night’s rest.

1.Better productivity and concentration

There were several studies that scientists did in the early 2000s that looked at the effects of sleep deprivation.

What the researchers concluded is that sleep has links to several brain functions, including:

  • concentration
  • productivity
  • cognition

2.Better calorie regulation

There is evidence to suggest that getting a good night’s sleep can help a person consume fewer calories during the day. When a person does not sleep long enough, it can interfere with their body’s ability to regulate food intake correctly.

3.Greater athletic performance

Getting a sufficient amount of sleep can boost a person’s athletic performance.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adequate sleep for adults is between 7 and 9 hours a night, and athletes may benefit from as many as 10 hours. Accordingly, sleep is as important to athletes as consuming enough calories and nutrients. One of the reasons for this requirement is that the body heals during sleep. Other benefits include:

  • better performance intensity
  • more energy
  • better coordination
  • faster speed
  • better mental functioning

4.Lower risk of heart disease

One risk factor for heart disease is high blood pressure. According to the Centre For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), getting adequate rest each night allows the body’s blood pressure to regulate itself.

Doing so can reduce the chances of sleep-related conditions such as apnea and promote better overall heart health.

5.More social and emotional intelligence

Sleep has links to people’s emotional and social intelligence. Someone who does not get adequate sleep is more likely to have issues with recognizing other people’s emotions and expressions.

For example, one study in the Journal Of Sleep Research looked at people’s responses to emotional stimuli. The researchers concluded, similarly to many earlier studies, that a person’s emotional empathy is less when they do not get adequate sleep.

6.Helping with depression

The association between sleep and mental health has been the subject of research for a long time. One conclusion is that there is a link between lack of sleep and depression.

A study appearing in JAMA Psychiatry examines patterns of death by suicide over 10 years. It concludes that lack of sleep is a contributing factor to many of these deaths.

7.Lower inflammation

There is a link between getting adequate sleep and reducing inflammation in the body.

For example, a study in the World Journal Of Gastroenterology suggests a link between sleep deprivation and inflammatory bowel diseases that affect people’s gastrointestinal tract.

The study showed that sleep deprivation can contribute to these diseases — and that these diseases, in turn, can contribute to sleep deprivation.

8.Stronger immune system

Sleep helps the body repair, regenerate, and recover. The immune system is no exception to this relationship. Some research shows how better sleep quality can help the body fight off infection.

However, scientists still need to do further research into the exact mechanisms of sleep in regards to its impact on the body’s immune system.

Sleep recommendations

Spending more time outside can improve sleep quality.

Sleep needs vary from person to person, depending on their age. As a person ages, they typically require less sleep to function properly.

According to the CDC, the breakdown is as follows:

  • Newborns (0–3 months): 14–17 hours
  • Infants (4–12 months): 12–16 hours
  • Toddler (1–2 years): 11–14 hours
  • Preschool (3–5 years): 10–13 hours
  • School age (6–12 years): 9–12 hours
  • Teen (13–18 years): 8–10 hours
  • Adult (18–60 years): 7-plus hours
  • Adult (61–64 years): 7–9 hours
  • Adult (65+ years): 7–8 hours

As well as the number of hours, the quality of sleep is also important. Signs of poor sleep quality include:

  • Waking in the middle of the night.
  • Still not feeling rested after an adequate number of hours sleep.


Sleep is a vital, often neglected, component of every person’s overall health and well-being. Sleep is important because it enables the body to repair and be fit and ready for another day. Getting adequate rest may also help prevent excess weight gain, heart disease, and increased illness duration.

10 tips for improving your sleep :

If you’re having a hard time getting to sleep at night and want to change some of your habits, here are 10 things you can try:

1.Create a sleep schedule and stick to it

Going to bed and getting up at the same time every night will do wonders for your sleep.

2.Create a bedtime ritual

Every night before going to bed, do something that relaxes you. Keep away from your email or phone, because they will distract you and keep you awake. You can even try some relaxation / mindfulness / meditation techniques.

3.Manage your stress

This can be very difficult to overcome, but there are things you can do to help yourself. Try chatting to others about your worries and if you’re finding it hard to cope, don’t be afraid to look for help. Many people also find it helpful to write down their problems. Some people keep a notebook beside their bed and jot down any worries or thoughts that are stressing them out and keeping them from sleeping. 

4.Get some exercise

Regular exercise during the day can be a miracle worker for good quality sleep. However, try not to exercise up to two hours before bed, because this can have the opposite effect!  

5.Only use your bed for sleeping

Don’t bring work, reading or TV to bed. If sleeping is an issue for you, experts recommend only using your bedroom for sleeping. So don’t lie there for three hours tossing and turning, or stay up late working in your room – get up and do a soothing activity.

6.Make your bedroom as quiet and dark as possible

Use a blackout blind and wear earplugs. In the evening time, try to keep the lights low and avoid exposing yourself to harsh light. Avoid looking at your phone or computer for at least an hour before bed and keep your actual bedroom as dark as possible. That means unplugging any bright alarm clocks.

7.Manage your naps

Naps can be a great energy booster during the day, but try to have them earlier in the afternoon and limit them to around 20 minutes. Remember though, if you have insomnia or other more serious sleep issues, it’s not recommended that you nap during the day. 

8.Don’t eat too late

If you eat too late, this could keep you up at night. Try to have your meals a little earlier

9.Limit alcohol and smoking before bed

Alcohol can definitely make you sleepy, but it can also interfere with sleep, so that you never get proper deep sleep. Don’t smoke or drink alcohol for a few hours before bed. 

10.Be careful with caffeine

Caffeine keeps you awake and alert, and stays in the body for up up 8 hours, so if you have issues sleeping, you should have your last cup of tea or coffee by 2pm at the latest.

Still having sleep problems?

If your sleep problems persist, you should go to your doctor to discuss it. Sleep problems are very common and normal, and your doctor will be able to advise you on what you should do.