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The importance of good sleep    

It is very important to have a regular time to go to sleep nightly, as well as making sure you get sufficient sleep. Far too many people go to sleep too late, depriving themselves of much-need rest; and far too many teenagers are sleep deprived and are short of the minimum of 9.2 hours needed each night for healthy performance during the day.

Research tells us that ideally, teenagers do best with 10 to 12 hours of sleep each night but can still perform at a good level with a minimum of 9.2 hours of sleep. Unfortunately, many teenagers only get five to seven hours sleep each night, if that much. Getting sufficient sleep each night during the early years is important for physical, emotional and mental development. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health.

In a June 2018 article entitled “10 Reasons Why Good Sleep Is Important,” the author, Joe Leech, gives reasons we should have a good sleep each night. The following are his 10 reasons.

• Poor sleep can make you fat: Poor sleep is strongly linked to weight gain. People with short sleep duration tend to weigh significantly more than those who get adequate sleep. In fact, short sleep duration is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity.

• Good sleepers tend to eat fewer calories: Studies show that sleep-deprived individuals have a bigger appetite and tend to eat more calories. Sleep deprivation disrupts the daily fluctuations in appetite hormones and is believed to cause poor appetite regulation.

• Good sleep can improve concentration and productivity: I have found this to be true. The author stresses that it improves cognition, concentration, productivity and performance.

• Good sleep can maximize athletic performance: A good athlete knows the importance of a good night’s rest. It increases strength and endurance and facilitates the repair of muscles and tissues.

• Poor sleepers have a greater risk of heart disease and stroke: Those who regularly sleep less than seven to eight hours of sleep each night have a greater risk of heart disease and stroke.

• Sleep affects glucose metabolism and type 2 diabetes risk: Research shows that those sleeping less than six hours per night have repeatedly been shown to be at an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

• Poor sleep is linked to depression: It is not surprising to discover that mental health issues, such as depression, are strongly linked to poor sleep quality and sleeping disorders.

• Sleep improves your immune function: Research indicates that that those who slept less than seven hours were almost three times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept eight hours or more.

• Poor sleep is linked to increased inflammation: Sleep loss is known to activate undesirable markers of inflammation and cell damage. Poor sleep has been strongly linked to long-term inflammation of the digestive tract, in disorders known as inflammatory bowel diseases.

• Sleep affects emotions and social interactions: Sleep loss reduces your ability to interact socially. One study found that people who had not slept had a reduced ability to recognize expressions of anger and happiness

I thought it was imperative to share these 10 points because they are so real and startling. I am convinced that sleeplessness is the reason for many fatal accidents on the streets and poor social interaction. Parents, you can set the pace for your children becoming healthy adults by making sure he or she gets sufficient sleep each night. If your child is under five years old, she would need between 13 to 15 hours of sleep each day. This is why there is nap time during the day. If your child is a teenager, make sure he or she gets at least 9.2 hours (ideally 10 to 12 hours) of sleep each night. They will do better in school and have fewer social problems.

• Barrington H. Brennen is a marriage and family therapist and board-certified clinical psychotherapist. Send your questions or comments to or write to P.O. Box CB-13019, Nassau, The Bahamas, or visit or telephone 242-327-1980.



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