Why is sleep so important? Sleep is important because it allows the body time to recover from all the activities done during the time spent awake. When you don’t get the amount of sleep your body needs, you begin to pay for it. Continuous lack of sleep results in daytime drowsiness, trouble concentrating, irritability, increased risk of falls and accidents, and lower productivity.
If sleep needs are not met, a progressive sleep debt occurs and eventually the body requires that the debt be paid. Not getting enough sleep, while still functioning in a seemingly normal manner, can impair motor and cognitive functions.
Sleep deprivation occurs when you do not get the right amount of sleep for your individual needs and can result in a negative outcome. Lack of sleep can be both short term (like a college student pulling an all-nighter) or long-term (people who work long hours every day) – but neither is good for your body. Something to keep in mind is that if you find yourself falling asleep at random times, regularly needing an alarm clock to wake up, or the frequent need for naps during the day - you may be sleep deprived.
Other signs you may be suffering from sleep deprivation include:
• difficulty waking up in the morning
• poor performance in school, on the job, or in sports
• increased clumsiness
• difficulty making decisions
• falling asleep during work or class
• feeling especially moody or irritated
While caffeine and other stimulants can help to counteract some of the short-term effects of sleep deprivation, they cannot substitute for sleep. It has been found that eight hours of sleep per night appears to be optimal for most adults, although some may need more or less, and teenagers require about nine or more hours of sleep per night to be as alert as possible.
There is nothing more important than regularly getting a good night’s rest. Sleep allows your body the time it takes to recover and rejuvenate.