You’ve heard it since you were a little kid: go to bed and get a good night’s sleep. But you would be forgiven for wondering, ‘why do you need a good night’s sleep’, and ‘what exactly is a good night’s sleep, anyways?’ After all, Leonardo Da Vinci reportedly only slept for an hour a day (spread out across five naps), and there are plenty other noteworthy people throughout history who had equally odd sleep practices.
But the science is in, and it turns out your parents were right all along – a good night’s sleep really does have a positive effect on your overall health. Not just the amount of sleep you get, but the quality of sleep, the time in which you sleep and the posture in which you sleep all contribute to your sense of wellbeing.
Why Is Sleep So Important?
Sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk in other health problems, such as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Your immune system needs rest as much as you mind does, and without the proper amount and quality of sleep, your body can’t put up the proper defenses.
Also – and this is something that anyone who’s ever been sleep deprived can relate to – a lack of sleep makes you mentally foggy. It can negatively affect your decision-making skills, creativity, attention to details and problem-solving skills. Sleep is like an intellectual lubricant, and without it your brain’s gears will get rusty and clunky.
How Do You Get A Better Night’s Sleep?
The amount of sleep you need depends on a number of different factors, but in general scientists have pinpointed age as a major considering factor. Here are the main age groups (infants excluded) and how much sleep they should receive:
- People aged 6 to 13-years old require around 9 to 11 hours of sleep.
- Those aged 14 to 17-years old require around 8 to 10 hours of sleep.
- Adults, spanning anywhere from 18 to 64-years old require around 7 to 9 hours of sleep
- And anyone older than that needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep.
As for the quality of sleep you get, that can depend on your sleep posture, as well as the pain you experience during the night. For better sleep posture and back pain relief, it’s recommended you see a chiropractor – what a chiropractor can do for you is perform spinal adjustments, meaning back pain won’t keep you up at night, as well as teach you about proper sleep posture. (Spoiler: sleeping on your front is not a great way to sleep). Pain relief and proper posture will ensure that you get a deeper sleep, which will is turn boost the benefits of your recommended daily amount of sleep.
People who get a great night’s sleep, especially after a period of sleep deprivation or poor sleep quality, often report feeling, healthier, clearer and more energetic. While one hour of sleep might have worked for Da Vinci, the rest of us would do well to get our recommended daily amount of Z’s, pain-free and with proper sleep posture. And if you’re still not convinced: sleep on it!