Why is sleep important?

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Sleep allows our bodies to carry out functions that are vital for our physical and mental wellbeing.

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Why do we sleep?

We still don’t really know, but we do know that we need it.

Sleep allows our bodies to carry out functions that are vital for our physical and mental wellbeing, leading to a whole range of benefits…

Cell growth and repair
during sleep, new cells grow and existing cells are repaired, keeping us healthy, and our immune system strong

Memory
while we sleep our brains move short-term memories into long-term storage, especially important for young minds learning about the world or studying for exams

Relaxation
sleep gives us respite from the information overload of the day

Healthy eating
good sleep balances production of the hormones leptin and ghrelin, which help us to follow a healthy diet rather than craving more carbs

Concentration
healthy sleep helps us to function better during the day, driving more safely, working and studying more effectively, getting more out of the activities we enjoy

Good mood
after a good night’s sleep we usually feel happier, and more able to deal with the issues life throws at us

Social interaction
feeling rested helps us to keep an eye on our actions, taking fewer risks, reacting appropriately to other people, enjoying others’ company

Energy
a good sleep pattern means we have the energy to get the most out of the time when we’re awake

For children and young people, this means:

Healthy growth

Positive mood and sociability

Better mental health

Doing better at school

Enjoying life

Improved immunity and better recovery from illness

Healthy weight

For parents and carers, it’s also important to be aware of how lack of sleep can affect your own mental and physical wellbeing. Look out for changes in mood and concentration, or for raised levels of anxiety or depression, and remember that driving when sleep deprived can be as dangerous as driving when drunk.

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