Why is Sleep Important?

Good question, why is sleep important?

It’s really odd that most people don’t know the answer to such an ordinary daily necessity. Sleep is the one thing that is inevitable. After all, our bodies will succumb to it. And, it happens to every living creature.
It’s like eating and drinking, we can’t survive without it. But if we are already taking in energy with foods, then why is sleep important?

No consensus on why is sleep important

Have you ever faced a day with little sleep? You may have felt uneasy and may have had bouts of irritability the whole day. This alone should tell you how important sleep is, the body recuperates and recharges so that it gets ready for long, stressful or happy, fun and exciting days.
There are all kinds of opinions on this matter. Even sleep experts can’t agree on the exact reasons why sleep is so important.
Why is sleep important then?

Average need for sleep
Age Hours
Newborns (0-2 months) 12 – 18
Infants (3 -12 months) 14 – 15
Toddlers (1 to 3 years) 12 – 14
Early childhood (3 to 5 years) 11 – 13
Late Childhood (5 to 12 years) 10 – 11
Teenagers(12 to 18 years) 8.5 – 10
Adults (18+) 7.5 – 9

1. Like a machine that needs regular maintenance, our body maintains and regulates itself through sleep. The amount of sleep each person needs varies, but you’ll know when you haven’t had enough sleep. The average human needs about eight hours of sleep to totally recover from a tiring day. Some people claim that about five hours of sleep is enough to recharge after a hectic day, but this only goes for three percent of the population. And, as we age, the human body sleep amount will change.

2. Why is sleep important? Part of the answer is obvious; people who get an adequate amount of sleep perform better in activities, have a sharper memory and have a better cognitive ability than a person who lacks a good night’s rest.

3. Growth hormones are released during sleep so it’s essential for children to have enough sleep. However, it has become clear that growth hormones are important for adults too although they don’t grow anymore. People who don’t produce enough growth hormones have problems like depression, anxiety, lethargy and fatigue. These are the same exact symptoms we see in people with sleep deprivation.

4. Sleep is made up of 2 parts. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep is found to be essential in maintaining brain function and the human ability to remember skills and procedures. Non Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep (sleep stages 1 – 3 together), on the other hand, is necessary to maintain and/or remember factual knowledge.

5. Sleep experts agree that dreaming is important. Dreaming helps the body to regain memories and sort out thoughts. We dream after the sleeping stage of deep sleep, which is why uninterrupted sleep is very important for proper brain function.

6. Another answer to the question of why is sleep important is that a good night’s sleep helps anyone to recover from physiologic illnesses and psychological conditions like depression. It also benefits people who are feeling restless and uneasy. A complete sleep calms the mind and allows the body system to reboot and recharge after physiologic or psychological stress.

7. The body performs its autonomic functions like digestion, breathing and blood circulation when we are in sleep. However, after a heavy meal, you should allow one to three hours before taking a nap or retiring for the night. Your digestion system must work hard after a meal so you can’t sleep directly after eating.

8. It is during sleep that the body can heal itself. Also, various organs like the nervous system, immune system and muscular system can rejuvenate.

Why is sleep important – final thoughts

Why is sleep important?
It’s no secret that insomnia leads to all kinds of mental, physical and emotional difficulties. After all, a lack of sleep impairs concentration, decision making, emotions, problem solving and thinking skills. It’s also been linked to depression and anxiety. Mental effects of sleep deprivation will lead to further stress, which will undermine your physical well-being as well as your relationships with the people around you.

Now, this may not completely answer the question as to why sleep is important and perhaps we will never know. But, listing the consequences of insomnia definitely makes it clear that we simply need sleep – we just cannot function without it!
And that fact, that understanding, is probably the best answer to the question of why is sleep important.

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