Sleep is one of my favorite topics to talk about with my clients, my children, and truly anyone who will listen. Although we all instinctively know that our bodies need sleep, it tends to be one of the first thing we give up when we are pressed for time.
Sleep plays a vital role in our physical health and mental wellbeing. It provides the necessary down time for our bodies to rejuvenate. Whenever my children complain about any ailment, whether it's physical or emotional, I always say to them "you know what's good for that?" and they will reply (quite sarcastically) "I know, sleep!" But it's true! This is primarily due to the fact that major restorative functions in the body such as tissue repair, muscle growth, and protein synthesis occur almost exclusively during sleep.
Borrowing time from our sleep can negatively affect our health. According to the National Institute of Health, lack of sleep affects our immune system, brain chemicals, hormones, weight, and aging process.
Studies show that we should aim for at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Quality sleep improves performance, memory, and mood. As a matter of fact, the Division of Sleep Medicine at the Harvard Medical school, says that most experts have concluded that getting enough high-quality sleep may be as important to health and well-being as nutrition and exercise.
Sleep experts say there is ample evidence to prove that when people get the sleep they need, they will not only feel better, but will also increase their odds of living healthier, more productive lives.