Why is sleep important?
Sleep is important for health and wellbeing. It helps us to rest and repair the body and mind and renew our energy. Most of us need around eight hours of good quality sleep, but some may need more and others less. What matters is that we find out how much sleep we need and then try to achieve and maintain it.
The occasional bad night’s sleep may not affect our health. A continued lack of sleep can affect the brain’s ability to function properly. This can result in feelings of tiredness, irritability, and difficulty in concentrating. Not sleeping well can also have an effect on our health and put us at risk of other medical conditions.
Sleep and mood affect each other. Not getting enough sleep can take its toll. It can also lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. People who do not get enough sleep might find that they feel depressed. People who are depressed may find they do not sleep well enough.
What affects sleep?
Drinks containing caffeine or alcohol can affect sleep and are best avoided too close to bedtime. It can interfere with the quality of sleep and keep us awake. Some medicines can also affect sleep. Check any medication that you are taking and speak to your GP if your sleep is badly affected.
Research has shown that being active and doing gentle exercise can help us to sleep better.
It is important to have a bedtime routine where we wind down ready for sleep and go to bed at a set time. The bedroom should be a peaceful place for rest and sleep.
A sleep diary can help you to keep track of how well you are sleeping. It can help identify factors that might be helping or hindering sleep. A sleep diary can also help document how sleep is affected.
For further self-help and advice about what you can do to help promote better sleep and prevent tiredness, please follow the links below from the NHS: