Updated: Jan 3, 2021
Sleep is a fascinating topic. Some people say they understand that sleep is important but then never actually do anything to prioritize it. There is always something more tempting to do than to sleep, even when your body might be telling you otherwise. On the other hand, there may be other people who say they don’t need a lot of sleep and are happy with 4 to 5 hours a night. They claim that they simply don’t feel tired and therefore no ill-effects are done. Then there are some people who would love to be able to sleep more but are unable to fall asleep or stay asleep.
So really, how important is sleep? In short, REALLY IMPORTANT! Insufficient sleep increases the risk of conditions such as: diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, mood disorders, neurodegenerative disease, and more. In fact, not getting enough sleep has been associated with having a shorter lifespan. This is actually not so surprising if you understand that the sleep cycle works to regulate other biological cycles in the body and is deeply connected to metabolism, appetite regulation, the stress response, hormone regulation, and more. Sleep is also the time when the body does its repair and maintenance. This is a time for rejuvenation, growth, repair, and healing. Sleep is also deeply connected to the immune system - if you don’t get enough sleep, you are more likely to get sick from an infection or it may even contribute/exacerbate autoimmune diseases.