According to the Sleep Council, the average person spends about a third of their life asleep—but not everyone enjoys a regular night’s sleep and this can damage their overall health and wellbeing.
Sleep deprivation is more common than you think. Poor sleep not only impacts your productivity, it also has a detrimental impact on your general health.
The NHS Choices website states that one in three of us suffers from poor sleep, making this a widespread problem. Regular sleep disruption puts you at risk of serious health conditions such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes—and it shortens your life expectancy. It’s now clear, says NHS Choices, that a solid night’s sleep is essential for a long and healthy life. For this reason, it is vital to know how to get the best night’s sleep possible.
How many hours sleep do you need?
We all need different amounts of sleep at different stages in our lives. According to the Sleep Council, babies between one and 12 months old require 14-15 hours sleep a day; children from one to three years old need 12-14 hours per day; children between three and six require 10-12 hours per day; seven to twelve-year-olds require 10-11 hours; teenagers from 12-18 need eight to nine hours; adults aged 18-65 should get between seven and nine hours and, lastly, older people from 65+ need between seven and eight hours of sleep per day.
What is causing your restless nights?
To tackle a problem, first of all, you have to know what is causing it. Poor sleep can be attributed to a host of things, with stress, computers and taking work home often blamed. A variety of factors can cause restless nights including health conditions such as sleep apnoea—or blocked breathing—and clinical insomnia. In most cases, it's down to bad sleeping habits.
How does good sleep improve your health?
A good night’s sleep can have the following positive benefits on your overall health:
- Boosts immunity
- Encourages weight loss
- Boosts mental wellbeing
- Prevents diabetes
- Increases sex drive
- Wards of heart disease
- Increases fertility
While the occasional sleepless night will make you feel tired and irritable, it won't harm your long-term health. After several nights without sleep, the mental effects start to become more serious and prolonged periods of poor sleep can cause serious physical health problems.