WHY SLEEP MATTERS

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Here's the inside line on what to do to make sure we are getting the rest we need - written for Kiss the Moon by Lisa Artis of The Sleep Council  

Why does sleep matter? Sleep is critical to health and wellbeing. It is a basic and fundamental human requirement and is vitally important for good physical, mental and emotional health as well as crucial for memory, learning and growth.  

What happens to our body while we are sleeping? When you’re fast asleep, a whole raft of functions takes place to make sure that we get optimal benefit from our nightly rest. The body goes into repair mode and regenerates skin, blood and brain cells, as well as muscles. Sleep regulates your mood, improves your memory but also maintains health, weight and energy levels.  

What about our skin - what’s going on overnight?  The main reason sleep deprivation causes such change in the skin is because of stress. Stress creates a hormonal response whereby the body produces extra adrenalin. This a major impact on skin function – think drier skin, lines, sagging skin.  

What are the tell-tale signs of someone who needs more sleep? There are the obvious signs of tiredness such as being low on energy, having dull, unhappy skin and bags under your eyes. However, there are some less obvious ones to watch out for too. These include finding it hard to concentrate and being short tempered. Poor sleep can even affect your appetite - making you feel always hungry. That's because running low on rest can increase production of ghrelin - otherwise known as the hunger hormone.  

What is a top bit of advice for anyone struggling to sleep? Create a restful sleeping environment. Your bedroom should be cool, quiet, dark and have a comfortable supportive bed, ideally not older than seven years. A bedroom should be kept for rest and sleep and free from distractions. Anything entertaining or work related such as TVs, computers and tablets, games consoles and mobile phones should be turned off or even better, banned from the room!  

How can people find out more about The Sleep Council?

Visit www.sleepcouncil.org.uk  

Written for Kiss the Moon by Lisa Artis of The Sleep Council 

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