Get Moving Challenge Week 5: Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is important for people of all ages in order to protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life and safety.

What is a good nights sleep?

All humans need sleep to survive; it is a vital indicator or overall health and wellbeing.

We spend up to one-third of our lives sleeping and the overall state of our sleep health remains important throughout the lifespan.

Most of us know that a good nights sleep is important, but too few of us make it a priority or understand how much sleep we really need to be truly rested.

Sleep needs vary across ages and are especially impacted by lifestyle and health, although it is widely agreed that the following hours
provide a good guide to adequate sleep.

  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 Hours
  • Adults (18-64): 7-9 Hours
  • Older Adults (65+): 7-8 Hours 

The Benefits of good Sleep

The way you feel while you’re awake depends on what happens whilst you’re asleep. During sleep your body is working to prepare for the next day. Some of the main benefits of sleep include:

  • Healthy Brain Function: Sleep helps your brain recover and prepare for the next day. Having a good night sleep helps you learn and remember new information and also improves upon your emotional wellbeing.
     
  • Physical Health: During sleep, your heart and blood vessels are being healed and repaired. Sufficient sleep keeps your blood glucose levels and immune system in check.
     
  • Daytime Performance and Safety: A good night sleep improves your productivity and reaction times. People who get enough sleep each night will be more alert during the day and are less likely to make mistakes.

 

Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency

Sleep deprivation affects people of all ages at any point in the lifespan, although there are certain groups who may be more at risk than others. These can include:

  • Those who have limited time for sleep, such as fulltime care givers, new parents and people who work long hours or more than one job.
  • Those who have schedules that conflict with their internal body clock or regular hours of sleep, such as shift workers, teenagers with early school schedules or people who travel far and often for work.
  • Those who make lifestyle choices that prevent them from sleeping- including medicine or drinks to keep awake, alcohol or drug use, and those who simply do not leave enough time for sleep.
  • Those with undiagnosed or untreated medical problems, including stress, anxiety or sleeping disorders.

Tips for Sleeping Well

If you’re feeling tired during the day you may not be getting enough sleep during the night. In taking steps to improve upon your sleeping habits you may find that you are happier and more productive during the day. Try these simple tips to improve your sleep, and if you are still feeling too tired during the day you may need to consult your doctor.

  • Going to bed and waking up at the same times will help reset your body clocks sleep-wake rhythm. Being outside and physically active during the day also helps your body to recognise sleep-wake times. For shift workers you may find it useful to take short naps to increase available time for sleep.
  • Use the hour before bed for quiet time. Partaking in a relaxing activity before bed can help your body and mind relax and ‘switch off’, these routines tell your body ​that it is time for sleep.
  • Avoid using technology (phones, televisions, computers etc.) before bed. The artificial light tells the brain that it’s time to be awake. Avoid caffeine and medicine intake before bed; shift workers should also limit intake in the first parts of their shift.