Why Is Sleep Important For Good Health?


There are various reasons why a person may not get enough sleep. When a person is busy, they can think of sleep as an inconvenience, robbing them of time that they could use to accomplish something and so they go to bed late and wake up early. There are also others who may think of sleep as interrupting living life to the fullest and so they will get together with friends and/or go out at night, not going to sleep until the early morning hours. Then there are people who actually have problems falling asleep or staying asleep. What people may not realize is that not getting enough sleep can be detrimental to their health.

Statistics from the National Sleep Foundation

According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), adequate sleep is essential for a person’s health and wellbeing but there are still millions of people who don’t get enough sleep and many who suffer from lack of sleep. In fact, according to NSF surveys conducted between 1999 and 2004 in the U.S.:

  • At least 40 million people suffer from more than 70 different sleep disorders.
  • 60 percent of adults report sleep problems at least a few nights/week.
  • More than 40 percent of adults experience severe daytime sleepiness at least a few days/month.
  • 20 percent of the 40 described above reported severe daytime sleepiness multiple times/week.
  • 69 percent of children experience sleep problems at least a few nights/week.

The Need for Sleep

According to the National Institutes of Health, getting enough quality sleep, AT THE RIGHT TIMES, can help protect your physical and mental health, safety, and quality of life. How a person feels when they are awake has to do, in part, on what happens during sleep. While you are sleeping, your body is working to maintain your physical health (did you know sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels?) and support healthy brain function. For children and adolescents, sleep is also vital to growth and development.

Sleep deficiency can be dangerous and harmful instantly, as in a drowsy driving car crash, or over time. Chronic sleep deficiency may increase the risk of health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, stroke, and diabetes. It has also been linked to risk-taking behavior, depression, and suicide.

How Much Sleep Do I Need?

While each individual’s sleep needs vary, the general rule is that healthy adults need an average of eight hours of sleep every night. Children should get AT LEAST eight hours each night. Some people may be able to function without any drowsiness or adverse effects with just six hours of sleep, while others may need 10 hours to function at their best.

The bottom line, feeling fatigued during the day is a common symptom of inadequate sleep. If you are not getting enough sleep because of your own lifestyle choices, such as staying up to watch T.V. or going out regularly at night (and staying out late), then you need to change your habits or else risk harming your health. If you try to get those eight hours but have trouble sleeping, then it is important to see a doctor or psychologist to figure out the root of the problem.

8 Hours of Sleep for a Healthy Lifestyle

Sleep is just one component of a healthy lifestyle but it is an important one. If you are having trouble sleeping, we urge you to get a professional opinion. Healthy living is the best way to reduce your risk of health problems, including cancer. To learn more about your inherited cancer risk,