The benefits of sleep impact nearly every area of daily life. While it may be obvious that sleep is beneficial, most people don't realize how much sleep they need and why it is so important.
According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, your body manages and requires sleep in much the same way that it regulates the need for eating, drinking, and breathing.
Extensive research has been done on the effects of sleep. These studies consistently show that sleep plays a vital role in promoting physical health, longevity, and emotional well-being. This explains why, after a good night's sleep, you feel better, your thoughts are clearer, and your emotions are less fragile. Without adequate sleep, judgment, mood, and ability to learn and retain information are weakened.
Achieving restful sleep begins with keeping a consistent sleep schedule and creating an environment that promotes relaxation. Sleeping on comfortable, supportive mattresses helps enhance sleep quality, as well.
Can’t sleep? Understanding insomnia and its symptoms
Insomnia is the inability to get the amount of sleep you need to wake up feeling rested and refreshed. Because different people need different amounts of sleep, insomnia is defined by the quality of your sleep and how you feel after sleeping—not the number of hours you sleep or how quickly you doze off. Even if you’re spending eight hours a night in bed, if you feel drowsy and fatigued during the day, you may be experiencing insomnia.
Although insomnia is the most common sleep complaint, it is not a single sleep disorder. It’s more accurate to think of insomnia as a symptom of another problem, which differs from person to person. It could be something as simple as drinking too much caffeine during the day or a more complex issue like an underlying medical condition or feeling overloaded with responsibilities.
The good news is that most cases of insomnia can be cured with changes you can make on your own—without relying on sleep specialists or turning to prescription or over-the-counter sleeping pills.