Until the 1950s, most people thought of sleep as a passive activity. We now know it is essential for our survival and wellbeing. It provides the opportunity for our body and mind to repair themselves and it is critical for maintaining good physical and mental health.
Sleep allows us to conserve energy, consolidate and reconsolidate memories, process information, regulate body temperature and stimulate various nerve circuits within the brain to ensure its proper functioning. The sleeping brain also helps the body’s stress response to switch off.
Sleep is not a luxury.
We’ve all suffered through days of headache, fatigue and irritability after a bad night’s sleep for whatever reason. Sure, you can make up for it with a power nap or by sleeping it off the following two nights. But when insufficient sleep becomes the norm and you’re not getting anywhere from 7 - 9 hours of quality sleep each night, then problems start developing.