What is sleep?

Ever wondered what really happens when you hit the hay? Well, it’s not just a simple downtime for your body! When you slip into dreamland, your body kicks into action, working to keep you healthy and sharp.

While you're sleeping, your body is like a well-oiled machine, conserving energy and giving your muscles a break. But that's not all - your brain is wide awake, doing some seriously cool stuff! It's busy consolidating memories, processing information, and getting you ready to take on the day ahead.

And let me tell you, sleep is not just a time for relaxing, it's a crucial player in keeping your body and mind in top-notch condition. Think about it - it helps regulate your body temperature, keeps your immune system in check, and even supports your brain's ability to remember things better.

But wait, there's more! It's not just about feeling rested and refreshed. Sleep has an entire lineup of benefits. It plays a role in maintaining a healthy heart, repairing tissues (especially for all you growing youngsters out there), and even keeps your weight and blood sugar levels in check.

Here's the kicker, though - when you consistently skimp on sleep, you're playing with fire! All those amazing physiological processes we just talked about get disrupted, and that can lead to some serious long-term health issues down the road. Yikes!

So, let's prioritise our sleep and give our bodies and brains the love they deserve. Catch those Zs, and you'll be ready to conquer anything that comes your way!

How much sleep is enough?

We're all wonderfully different. Our bodies have their own unique quirks, and that means some of us might need a bit more or a bit less sleep than the standard recommendations. It's all about finding that sweet spot for each of us.

Ever heard of body clocks? Well, they're real and they impact our sleep patterns. You've got the early birds, those who doze off in the evening and rise with the sun, and then there are the night owls, who come alive when the moon's out and struggle to face the morning light.

And that's not all—our age also plays a part in the sleep equation. What we needed to recharge our batteries at 18 might be different from what we need at 25 or 35. So, let's dive into the fascinating world of sleep and uncover the recommended hours for different age groups. It's time to find out how to get the most out of our rest!

• (Paine et al, 2001) https://www.otago.ac.nz/wellington/otago067752.pdf
• National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary(external link) Hirshkowitz, Max et al Sleep Health: Journal of the National Sleep Foundation, Volume 1, Issue 1, 40–43