All About Sleep
What is sleep?
Sleep occurs in a recurring cycle of 90 to 110 minutes, and is divided into non-REM (rapid eye movement) and REM sleep.
It comes and goes throughout the night, making up one fifth of our sleep. Although our muscles are relaxed, the brain is very active and our eyes dart from side to side as we dream.
Now the brain is quiet whilst the body moves. Hormones are released into the bloodstream and the body repairs itself. There are 4 stages of non-REM sleep.
Why do we sleep?
Here are some of the amazing benefits of healthy sleep.
Sleeping allows our body to regenerate and repair itself, which helps combat the effects of stress, pollution, infections and more. This
keeps our body in top form to fight the battles that matter and stay in the pink of health.
Sleep reduces stress hormones, inflammation in the body, blood pressure and heart rate. Keep the sleep deficit low to live long and prosper. Sleep also lowers stress hormones that increase aging and degeneration of your organs and cells. That’s why sleep is also regarded as life’s natural elixir.
The organisation and storing of memories occurs during sleep. Lack of sleep contributes to a poor memory. So sleep to enjoy your brain boost.
Sleep is essential for maintaining normal levels of cognitive skills, such as speech, memory, innovative and flexible thinking.
Research by the Harvard Medical School found that sleep is essential for learning new skills. Sleep to learn, learn to sleep.
Hormones that affect your appetite are regulated in your sleep. Plus sleeping early prevents late-night snacking. All the more reason to get enough of sleep.
What happens if we don't sleep?
After one night without sleep, it gets more difficult to focus and your attention span shortens considerably. Over time, the part of your brain
controlling language, memory, planning and sense of time is severely affected. Lack of sleep also has a huge impact on emotional and
physical health. Research has linked sleep loss with the increased risk of obesity, as hormones and chemicals that help control appetite
and weight gain are released during sleep.
How much sleep do we need?
This largely depends on your age
Babies: 17 hours, at least 10 to 12 hours at a go, with 2 or 3 naps in between feeds.
Older children: 9 to 10 hours for optimal growth.
Adults: 8 hours
Older people: 8 hours, but they wake more easily after 3 or 4 hours. Can be supplemented by a nap during the day.