Author: Natasha

Why Is Sleep Important?

Sleeping well is very important. During your sleep, you recover from all physical and mental efforts of the day. The number of growth hormones in your body increases, which helps repair and grow new cells and tissues. In addition, your immune system becomes active during your sleep, and the amount of stress hormones in your body decreases. Also very important: the events and emotions of the past day are processed. That is why people often want to ‘sleep over it’ before making a big decision. The next morning you can suddenly look at it differently!

Those precious hours of sleep are essential for even more reasons. That is why we have listed these for you:

Sleep is essential for the proper functioning of your body and mind. It regulates your body temperature and ensures that your nervous system works properly.
Lack of sleep makes you irritable and impatient. It even affects your sense of humor. That is, of course, not entirely the intention. Therefore, try to get enough sleep.
Sleep deprivation makes it difficult for you to focus on tasks, remember things, and make wise decisions. You should consider how this can affect your work.
Sleeping too few hours affects how your body processes food. In the long run, this can even lead to unnecessary extra pounds.
Ever heard of beauty sleep? There is a reason why they call it that. Skin and hair cells renew at night. Lack of sleep disturbs this process.
Severe sleep deprivation has the same effect as alcohol, slows down your reaction time. You can imagine how dangerous it is if you drive a car in such a situation.

The sleep cycle

Every night you go through an average of four to six times a sleep cycle, which takes about an hour and a half. That cycle consists of different sleep phases. The best known of these is REM sleep: then your dream and your eyes move quickly back and forth behind your eyelids. REM, therefore, stands for ‘rapid eye movement.’ A total of four sleep phases can be distinguished in the sleep cycle.

  • Non-REM1 Slumber phase
  • Non-REM2 Light sleep
  • Non-REM3 Deep sleep
  • REM sleep Dream sleep

Length of sleep phases

Your sleep has different depths. Alternately you sleep deep and shallow. By morning, the stages of shallow sleep are getting longer, and you wake up eventually. How long these sleep phases last varies per person and depends on factors such as your sleep efficiency. It has to do with the amount of time you spend in each sleep cycle in each phase. For example, do you spend more time in deep sleep? Then you probably feel reasonably rested after a short night.

How much sleep do you need per night?

It varies per person how much sleep you need per night. A convenient standard time you can keep is based on your age. Generally, experts recommend seven to eight hours of sleep per night for adults. The elderly often need even less sleep. This is because they usually do less in a day, so they need less sleep. Babies’ sleep needs are a lot higher: they need up to 17 hours of sleep! This is because it takes a lot of energy to make the nervous system recover every night. Below is an overview of the amount of sleep you need on average per age.

Younger than one year 3 to 5 pm

  • One year 14 hours
  • Two years 13 hours
  • 3 to 4 years 12 o’clock
  • 5 to 8 years 11 hours
  • 9 to 12 years 10 hours
  • 13 to 16 years 9 o’clock

What is your ideal sleep duration?

To find out what your individual sleep needs are, sleep experts recommend going to bed several nights in a row when you’re tired and only getting up when you wake up on your own. Good to know: you may catch up on some sleep the first nights! So look at the sleep duration of the last few nights to know how much sleep your body needs.

Can You Catch Up On Sleep Deprivation?

When you sleep less than your body needs, you build up a so-called ‘sleep debt.’ Such debt of sleep accumulates: do you sleep two hours less than you need every night this week? Then at the end of the week, you have already built up fourteen hours of sleep debt! Sleeping in one Saturday morning is not a big dent in that. Your body remembers your sleep debt until you redeem it by consistently sleeping more than you need.

Tips to sleep better

Don’t you fall asleep? Or are you not sleeping well? Good ‘sleep hygiene’ (or sleep health) is essential for a healthy body and brain. We have listed a few tips for better sleep for you.

  • Keep a steady rhythm: go to bed at a fixed time and get up at a fixed time.
  • Provide a quiet bedroom with no distractions, such as your phone or laptop. Use earplugs if you are bothered by ambient noise.
  • Make sure your bedroom temperature is about 18 degrees.
  • Engage in relaxing activities before bed, such as reading, yoga, meditation, or walking.
  • Exercise sufficiently so that you are also physically tired in the evening. But exercising just before you go to sleep doesn’t work.
  • Use your evenings for some intimate quality time: sex stimulates the production of hormones that make you feel relaxed and sleepy.
  • Write down your thoughts if you tend to worry in bed.
  • Do not drink coffee, black tea, soda, or other caffeinated or high sugar drinks right before bed.
  • Avoid taking naps too often during the day. This can disturb your natural sleep-wake rhythm.
  • Do not drink alcohol, use drugs, or smoke. These three things contribute to a less good night’s sleep.