It’s easy to think of sleep as necessary to switch off and recharge, but it’s so much more important than that. While you’re in the land of nod, your body and even your brain are carrying out vital processes that are required to keep your health and wellbeing in tip top shape.
Growth and repair
Cells throughout your body need long periods of sleep in order to grow and repair. These include areas such as your cardiovascular system, with sleep contributing to the health of your blood vessels and heart. Insomnia can lead to high blood pressure, inflammation, strokes and even heart attacks.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Brittany Colette
Maintaining your immune system
Your immune system produces cytokines while you’re sleeping and these infection-fighting substances are vital for warding off bacteria and viruses. Sleep deprivation inhibits both the production and release of these vital proteins, leaving your body more susceptible to illness. Even the flu vaccine has been found to be less effective in those suffering from chronic sleep loss.
A number of hormones are reliant on a good amount of uninterrupted sleep to be produced. For example, your body needs a three-hour spell to make testosterone, which is responsible for all sorts of things including bone and muscle mass, red blood cell production, and even sex drive. Growth hormones, released by the pituitary gland, are also increased during sleep.
All of the information taken in by your brain throughout the day is not properly consolidated until you go to sleep. It is processed and transferred via the neurons from the short-term memory to the long-term memory, helping you to keep hold of important information and filter out the irrelevant elements you can do without. Bad sleeping habits can make it harder to learn new things and retain knowledge.
Of course, one of the first things you’ll notice after a wakeful night is feeling tired, with yawning, fatigue and irritability all signs of insomnia. While such symptoms may feel relatively short-term and unimportant compared to wider health concerns, they can affect your ability to do your job or drive. They may also negatively impact relationships and put you in greater danger of injuring yourself.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Marut Homtawee
How much sleep is enough sleep?
According to the Sleep Foundation, we all need different amounts of sleep at varying points in our lives, based on the level of development going on in our bodies and minds. For one-year-olds, 11 to 14 hours of sleep per 24 hours is required. In school-age children, this drops to between nine and eleven hours, while teenagers should be getting between eight and ten hours. Us adults require seven to nine hours a night, but it can be a struggle to achieve such an amount consistently.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, then our Sleep Easy range could help. It is made up of a selection of products combining soporific ingredients like lavender and camomile to gently ease you into a calm and relaxing state that is conducive with sleep. Pick a Candle, Reed Diffuser or Scented Room Sachet for your bedroom or choose the Sleep Easy Gift Box to take you seamlessly from bath to bedtime.