The second week of March (This year, 8th-14th) is Sleep Awareness Week. Sleep is often taken for granted, yet it’s absolutely critical to your overall health. The National Sleep Foundation wants to spread awareness of the importance of sleep.
The Importance of Sleeping Enough
Not only is it important that you sleep enough every night, but the quality of your sleep is important too. Good sleep has been linked to learning, emotion regulation, metabolic regulation, memory consolidation, performance, and brain recuperation processes. As you can imagine, this means that sleep is particularly important to children that are still developing.
The Risk of Not Sleeping Enough
Not getting enough sleep one night will result in what’s known as “sleep debt.” This will have a bigger and bigger impact on your health over time. An ongoing lack of proper sleep can eventually cause memory problems, increase in pain perception, weakened immune system, and depression. Additionally, sleep deprivation can lead to other risks, such as:
- Drowsiness can lead to falling asleep while in the middle of a potentially dangerous situation. In fact, it’s estimated driver fatigue causes roughly 83,000 car accidents and approximately 850 deaths every year.
- Magnification of alcohol effects. If you’re sleep-deprived, alcohol consumption can cause you to become more impaired than usual.
- Poor hand-eye coordination, which affects your ability to drive safely
How Much Should You Sleep?
You should sleep on the same schedule every night. This will help improve the quality of your sleep. Adults should sleep for at least seven hours each night. Younger children need more sleep to enhance development.