Importance of sleep

Sleep is an essential function that allows your body to recharge, leaving you refreshed and alert when you wake up. Sleep also helps the body remain healthy and supports healthy brain function.

Without enough sleep, the brain cannot function properly. This can impair your ability to concentrate, think clearly, and process memories.

According to the Sleep Foundation, most adults require between seven and nine hours of nightly sleep. Work schedules, day-to-day stressors, a disruptive bedroom environment, and medical conditions can all prevent us from receiving enough sleep. A healthy diet and positive lifestyle habits can help ensure an adequate amount of sleep each night.

Sleep and Aging

Older adults may experience changes in the quality and duration of their sleep. Changes in melatonin levels may play a role in disrupted sleep in older adults. As people age, the body releases less melatonin, which is normally produced in response to darkness that helps promote sleep by regulating circadian rhythms.

Tips for a good night’s sleep

  • Go to bed and arise at about the same time each day

  • Engage in relaxing activities before bedtime

  • Exercise regularly but not late in the evening

  • Avoid eating meals or large snacks just before bedtime

  • Eliminate daytime naps

  • Avoid caffeine-containing drinks after midday

  • Avoid alcohol or the use of nicotine late in the evening

  • Minimise external disruption (e.g. light and noise)
  • If you are unable to sleep, do not become anxious; leave the bedroom and participate in relaxing activities such as reading or listening to music until you are tired.