Sleep Awareness Week 2020
WHEN: 3 - 9 August 2020
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Some facts about sleep from Emeritus Prof Dorothy Bruck
Why is sleep so important?
We know that sleep is important because every animal ever studied sleeps. We have an overwhelming need to sleep if we are prevented from sleeping for several nights and because certain behaviours that are vital to our ability to function become impaired when we are sleep deprived. While scientists don't yet know exactly why we sleep, we know it is vital for both our physical and mental restoration.
What are some of the negative things that can happen when you don’t get adequate sleep?
The first things that suffer are related to our brain function. We can't hold our attention, our memory becomes poorer, our reactions are slowed and our mood fluctuates more than normal. If inadequate sleep continues to occur regularly we find that our physical and mental health may be at risk. The likelihood of depression increases, it seems likely our immune system suffers and we are at higher risk for metabolic impairments, such as those leading to diabetes. Our performance at work is impaired and there is a higher chance of driving accidents.
Why is Sleep Awareness Week so important?
Sleep Awareness Week draws attention to the importance of sleep as a vital component to a healthy lifestyle. While we have all heard a lot over the years about the importance of a good diet and regular exercise, the importance of sleep has received less attention. The Sleep Health Foundation argues that sleep is the third pillar of health, alongside diet and exercise. Interestingly, the recent Parliamentary Report on Sleep Health Awareness (entitled Bedtime Reading) agrees with this assessment and also argues sleep should become a national health priority.
If you suspect you have a sleep disorder see your GP.