You know that you should be sleeping every night, but do you know why? This module will teach you about why sleep is so important.
Watch this video or read Sleep Matters: The Benefits of Sleep transcript to understand the benefits of sleep.
Sleep feels pretty awesome, but even better, it allows your body perform essential maintenance and offers many physical and psychological benefits:
Reality check: most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night.
When you start skimping on sleep, it can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health. Prioritize sleep the same way you make time to go to the gym, spend time with friends, eat, and do all the other things that help you to feel your best.
Sleep quality is just as important as quantity. You might be suffering from poor sleep quality if you’re getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night, but still find yourself:
If this sounds like you, check out the rest of this module for tips on how to improve your sleep habits!
Good, restful sleep is made up of four stages, which occur in cycles of roughly 90 to 110 minutes.
You are somewhere between sleep and wakefulness. It’s during this stage that you might experience a “hypnic jerk”: that feeling of falling that jolts you awake.
You become less conscious of your surroundings as you enter light sleep. Your body temperature decreases and your heart rate slows.
Your breathing becomes very slow, your blood pressure drops, and your muscles relax as you enter deep sleep. You become difficult to wake up, and are likely to sleep through any disturbances. During this stage, your body grows bone and muscle, releases hormones, and works on your immune system.
Your heart rate and breathing speed up, your limb muscles become temporarily paralyzed, and your eyes move back and forth. Your brain becomes extremely active, and you may experience vivid dreams. The REM stage becomes longer as the night goes on, with the first stage lasting only about ten minutes, and the final one lasting up to an hour.
Humans tend to spend about 75% of their sleep time in the first three stages of sleep, and 25% in REM sleep. Frequent nightly wakeups are not only frustrating, but keep you from progressing normally through a sleep cycle. This means you don’t get the full benefits of sleep, even if you’ve been lying in bed for 8 hours.
If you have trouble staying asleep at night, check out the section on Sleep Habits for tips on how to improve the quality of your sleep.