We hear a lot about the importance of getting a good night’s sleep, yet so few of us get enough sleep nowadays, to operate at our optimum, particularly when pregnant.  A lack of sleep doesn’t just affect us adults either, it can have a huge impact on children too. For many of us, it can be difficult to have a completely restful full night’s sleep as it is, yet alone with the sleepless nights that having young children often entails, as with such stressful and often very busy lifestyles we have a tendency to cram as much into the day as possible.

There are, of course, plenty of things we can do to ensure we get enough sleep though, such as to sleep on a comfortable mattress, in a well ventilated dark room, which is quiet, with soft bed linen and supportive pillows.

There are, however, other factors we have less control of such as if our partner snores, sleep walks or suffers from night sweats.  Whilst sharing your bed can be a very happy and harmonious experience, sometimes this can get in the way of our ability to sleep well, too.

If you’re really struggling with sleep you could try a natural sleep aid tablet, or an aromatherapy oil such as lavender that can help induce sleep… but if you’re really struggling, you might want to consider something more pharmaceutical such as Nytol, or if you’re still struggling after that, there are stronger tablets available and as now you can order prescriptions online it’s a lot more convenient to arrange than it once was.

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WHY IS SLEEP SO IMPORTANT

Sleep plays a vital role in us having good health and well-being.

Ensuring you get enough quality sleep, meaning deep sleep rather than light sleep, will help optimise not only your physical health and energy, but also your quality of life and mental health, as the way you feel throughout the day is often contingent on how much sleep you have at night.

If you’ve ever suffered from a hangover, you’ll know that it’s often due to dehydration but also, a lack of sleep because when you’re drunk your body doesn’t tend to get into the deep phase of sleep that is required for your body to replenish and rejuvenate; it sort of just goes into standby mode.

A lot of times when we don’t get enough sleep we are pretty useless, or at least less efficient in the day ahead.

That said, it’s not just quantity that’s important – quality is perhaps even more important than quantity.  You’ll have probably heard of the concept of power naps, which are short cycle sleeps during the day, of around twenty minutes – which is just enough time for your body to rest enough to reach the depth of sleep required to re-energise your body.

At night, during sleep, your body rests but also there’s a lot of behind the scenes work taking place, like a phone recharging each night, so that it can perform well the next day and not run out of juice halfway through the day.

The potential danger and damage that can be caused by sleep deficiency is serious, as it makes us less aware and more clumsy, which would be a tragedy if operating dangerous machinery, or even driving a car, as often people will fall asleep at the wheel just for a few seconds, in a state of microsleep. That’s all it takes to have a disastrous crash that could not injure just yourself, but others too.  Then, there are the more cumulative effects it has on the body that compound over time and puts stress on vital organs and body systems leading to chronic illnesses.

MENTAL HEALTH

Sleep is one of the most vital components that help your brain function properly. When you’re sleeping, your brain is basically resting, yet it’s also preparing for the next day by forming new neural pathways that helps you learn and retain important information from the day just gone.

Several studies show just how impactful a good night’s sleep is on improving learning.  In fact, it’s one of the most recommended things you can do prior to an exam. Getting enough sleep helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be more creative.

In contrast, if you’re sleep deficient, then you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, and controlling your emotions.  A lack of sleep has also been linked with a further incidence of depression and anxiety related conditions.

PHYSICAL HEALTH

Sleep plays an important role in your physical as it supports healthy growth and development of all cells, yet it’s important you have deep enough sleep in order for the body to release the necessary hormones required for growth and repair.

This aspect is particularly important for young people, in that deep sleep promotes normal growth in children and teens whereas sleep deprivation has been known to stunt growth.

Also, your immune system relies on sleep to stay healthy, and therefore a continual lack of sleep will lower your immune system making you more susceptible to illness.

In summary, sleep is very important and there are a number of significant dangers associated with not getting enough sleep from a health and happiness perspective.

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