What is sleep? A question that many of us never ask because it’s such a normal thing. Sleep is a dynamic activity that is one of the most important factors in our life. It is the key to good health and wellbeing.
As most of you will probably agree with me, we all want to excel in our positions and be the best we can be. However, to manifest this we must get enough sleep! Sleep is an essential function that allows our body and minds to recharge. Without healthy sleep, our brains cannot function properly, and this can become a problem when working a full-time job, especially in the office. In this article I will outline a few benefits that come with sleep and why it is so important.
Sleep boosts your immune system
Healthy sleep helps the body remain healthy and prevent disease, something we should all be keeping in mind during this global pandemic. When we sleep, we allow our immune cells and proteins to get necessary rest so that they can fight whatever bacteria or virus comes our way. Have you ever noticed that when we do not get enough sleep, we always seem to catch a cold or flu…? Specialists at the American Academy of Sleep medicine state that good sleep can make vaccines more effective
Sleep improves memory and productivity
As busy office workers we often must remember a lot of information, even though we need sleep to regenerate our bodies, sleep allows our brain to process and consolidate information from the day. Lack of sleep can result in your mind creating false memories or even losing them. Dr Roy N Kohler, MD states “Consistent sleep of seven hours a night is what’s recommend for adults just for daytime functioning—being on task, being alert for the day and being able to concentrate and not be so moody and tired during the day” look at the graph below to see how much sleep is recommended for your age group.
Put down the coffee!
We often think that a cup of coffee will help solve our sleepy situation, but essentially Caffeine impersonates adenosine and bonds with its receptors, putting off your brain’s job of letting you know it is time to sleep. While your cup of coffee in the office may have solved your afternoon crash, it will catch up to you later on in the evening, because the extra caffeine has set you up for another sleepless night… a vicious and counterproductive cycle you don’t want to be stuck in. Try to avoid drinking beverages with caffeine (this also includes tea) after 2 pm on your working day to improve the quality of your sleep later.
Lack of sleep can be dangerous. Seriously.
Sleep deprivation is defined as not obtaining sufficient total sleep, it can also be very dangerous.
Studies from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety have shown that lack of sleep can double the likelihood of you getting in a car accident. When your brain is not fully rested and rejuvenated your reaction time slows down. If sleep deprivation continues, hallucinations and mood swings may develop.
Other signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation include:
- mood changes.
- difficulty focusing and remembering.
- Frequent yawning
The bottom line is, sleep plays a crucial role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental & physical health as well as improve quality of life and safety. The way you feel while you are awake depends in part on what happens while you are sleeping.
Written by Veronika Kot