“Sleep is life’s nurse, sent from heaven to create us anew day by day” – Charles Reade
Sleep – It’s one of the basic needs of life, just like food and water. We spend almost one-third of our lives sleeping. Sleep relaxes and refreshes us. After a long, tiring day, isn’t it amazing to sleep like a baby on a cozy bed and wake up fresh? You can go 4 days without water, 25 days without food and you can only go 6 to 7 days without sleep. Sleep is more important than food and is essential to survival. Today, we will understand the importance and benefits of a good quality sleep
How much sleep is needed?
The amount of sleep you need depends on your age as shown in the below table.
|Age Group||Recommended amount of sleep|
|New-born child||14 to 17 hours a day|
|12 months||About 10 hours at night, plus 4 hours of naps|
|2 years||About 11 to 12 hours at night, plus a 1- to 2-hour afternoon nap|
|3 to 5 years||10 to 13 hours|
|6 to 13 years||9 to 11 hours|
|14 to 17 years||8 to 10 hours|
|Adults||7 to 9 hours|
18 negative effects of insufficient sleep:
Sleep affects every single area of your life, and it’s important to have sufficient, uninterrupted sleep. Below are the impacts of insufficient and poor-quality sleep
2. Weight gain
4. Worsening of brain function
5. Loss of memory
6. Poor decision-making
7. Poor reasoning skills
8. Inability to solve complex problems
9. Reduction in reaction time and alertness
10. Weakened Immune system
11. Greater chance of getting diseases like cancer, hypertension, diabetes, etc
12. Higher risk of accidents
13. Poor physical, emotional, mental health
15. Accelerated Aging
16. Poor sense of well-being
17. Reduced productivity levels
18. Decreased creativity
Sleep deprivation affects not only an individual but also affects the economy of a country. Does it sound exaggerated? Here are the statistics for you. A study named “Why Sleep Matters — The Economic Costs of Insufficient Sleep” was conducted by researchers in five countries: the US, UK, Canada, Germany, and Japan. Its findings are as below.
Research findings about sleep deprivation:
1. Sleep deprivation leads to a higher mortality risk and lower productivity levels among the workforce.
2. Every year, the US loses just over 1.2 million working days and financial losses up to $411 billion(which is 2.28 percent of its GDP) due to sleep deprivation among its working population. Productivity losses at work occur through a combination of absenteeism, employees not being at work, and presenteeism, where employees are at work but working at a suboptimal level.
3. Every year, Japan loses $138 billion and 600,000 working days, Germany loses $60 billion and 200,000 working days, UK loses $50 billion and 200,000 working days, Canada up to $21.4 billion and 80,000 working days.
4. Improving individual sleep habits and duration has huge implications, with research showing that simple changes can make a big difference. For example, if those who sleep under six hours a night increase their sleep to between six and seven hours a night, this could add $226.4 billion to the US economy.
So, just by sleeping well, you are not only taking good care of your health but also boosting your country’s economy. What a great benefit of sleeping well! Isn’t it?
15 Benefits of a good quality sleep
The most respected journals in the world have reported that sleep quality has a greater influence on a woman’s ability to enjoy her day than household income and even marital status. Below are 15 benefits of a good night sleep
1. When we are awake and active, toxins build up in the brain. Sleep removes these toxins. So, if you want your brain to function optimally, sleep well
2. Our body is a complex machine with billions of cells working together. Sleep heals and repairs these cells, tissues, and organs.
3. Sleep helps you de-stress and start your day fresh
4. A good night sleep improves your alertness throughout the day and keeps you energized
5. Sleep heals you physically, emotionally, mentally and even at a spiritual level
6. Sleep rejuvenates your body and mind
7. Sleep plays an important role in keeping you young and beautiful. No wonder it’s called beauty sleep.
8. In addition to proper diet and exercise, sleep plays an important role in losing weight and maintaining fitness
9. It helps you accomplish your goals
10. Enhances your decision-making capability
11. You do everything better with a good night’s sleep. Your career, health, relationships, well-being are enhanced
12. You become more productive in your work and thereby, gaining better financial and career prospects
13. Sleep boosts longevity and plays an important role in helping you lead a long, healthy, productive life
14. Sleep balances your hormones
15. Increased creativity
These are the benefits of good, qualitative sleep. Sometimes, due to travel or other commitments in your life, you might need to compromise on your sleep time. There is nothing to fear or be worried about such an occasional compromise. Just make sure that you eat a healthy diet and make up for this lost sleep the next day or sooner.
Having said this, prioritize sleep and give it due importance in your life. In modern times, it has become challenging to get 8 hours of sleep per day due to a wide variety of reasons like social media, non-stop entertainment, hectic work, our ambition to do too much in less time. Don’t let these reasons affect your sleep.
The quantity and quality of your sleep matters. Disasters like the gas leak tragedy in Bhopal, the Chernobyl incident which killed many people, were outcomes of sleep deprivation. 40% of highway accidents happen due to drivers dozing off. These statistics tell us that it’s important for every person to have a sufficient amount of sleep, not only for their safety but also for other people’s safety.
Make your sleep productive, sufficient and high-quality one to reap the maximum benefits out of it. Some great inventions like google, sewing machine, DNA, Einstein’s theory of relativity were outcomes of the dreams people got in their sleep. The greatest mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan got thousands of new mathematical ideas in his dreams. Who knows! You, too, might get new ideas in your dreams and create the next big invention. Sleep well, and inspire others around you to sleep well.