Sleep 101: 4 reasons why sleep is so important

How to get a good sleep. Wellbeing.

Trent Segal is a Sleep Sciences Clinical Educator at The Prince Charles Hospital.

The average human will spend about one third of their lives asleep! The time we spend sleeping is critical for our mental and physical health in so many ways.

Sleep plays a bit of a housekeeping role for our minds and removes toxins from your brain that build up through the day. It also improves your concentration levels, mood and decreases your cortisol levels (stress hormone).

Still not convinced? Sleep Sciences Clinical Educator Trent Segal shares four key reasons to prioritise sleep:

Reason 1: Boost your memory

Sleeping helps to reactivate memories and strengthen the connection between brain cells, including the transfer of information from your short-term memory to your long-term memory, like a bank transfer. This means that low-quality sleep can cause memory loss and forgetfulness.

Reason 2: Maintain cognitive function

Cognitive function includes your mental abilities – things like learning, thinking, reasoning, problem-solving and ability to pay attention. Sleep helps to enhance all these skills, so if you have a big exam, don’t pull an all-nighter studying! In fact, sleep is your best asset to ensure you are firing on all cylinders.

Reason 3: Heal damaged cells

Scientists have discovered some waste products build up in the brain and get cleared during sleep. If there are areas that need healing, your brain encourages the release of hormones during sleep that encourage tissue growth to repair blood vessels, healing your wounds and sore muscles much faster. Thus, sleep deprivation can rob us of powerful healing time for our cells.

Reason 4: Improve your overall wellbeing

Good sleep is just as important for our health and happiness as a healthy diet and regular exercise. It allows our bodies to rest and repair and our brain to process information. Problems such as a weakened immune system and mental health issues such as anxiety and depression can be linked to poor sleep.

Struggling to switch off and sleep through the night? Here are five tips to help you get the best sleep ever.

If you’re regularly having sleep trouble, you might need some professional help. Sleeping disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea and narcolepsy can be treated and managed. Start by speaking to your GP if you have any concerns or questions, or, visit the Sleep Health Foundation’s website.