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The Importance of Sleep

There is an old Irish proverb that says, “A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.” Turns out, it is true - well the sleeping part at least! None of us feel good when we don’t get enough sleep but it helps our bodies and minds heal and function at their best. One night of bad sleep won’t harm us but over time it can put us at risk of some pretty serious medical conditions.

Here are just some of the reasons why getting a good night’s sleep is so important:

  • Boosts immunity - Sleep strengthens your immune system helping your body to ward off any bugs and viruses trying to get a hold of you.

  • Protects our mental wellbeing - sleep helps us to process emotions, recognize social cues, to concentrate and be productive. Those who don’t sleep are more likely to experience depression and anxiety.

  • Reduces inflammation - when we don’t sleep our levels of inflammation go up which can lead to issues like Inflammatory Bowel Disorder, high blood pressure, neurological disease and more.

  • Helps keep us at a healthy body weight - when we are getting regular good sleep our bodies produce more the hormone that tells us when we are full and less of the one that makes us hungry.

  • Prevents diabetes - our bodies process glucose much more effectively when we getting good sleep.

That’s a strong list! So, what constitutes a good night’s sleep?

We have all heard that 8 hours sleep is the optimal amount each night but some of us may need more and some of us less. The important thing is to work out what your body needs - not what you can get by on but how much sleep you need to be at your best.

The sleep you have should be as uninterrupted as possible, even by toilet trips, so don’t drink too much liquid in the evening. It should also be of the best quality so putting your phone down for at least an hour before bed and avoiding caffeine later in the day can make a real difference.

It seems like such a simple thing but sleep can help us all have much healthier minds and bodies. I don’t know about you but I’m off to bed!

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