Sleep is essential for your health and wellbeing. Just as important as healthy eating and exercising, sleep plays an important role in healing heart and blood vessels, repairing damaged cells and boosting the immune system.
Here are 8 interesting things you may not know about sleep.
1. Insomnia is closely associated with depression. People who suffer from depression, struggle to have a deep uninterrupted sleep due to an inability to switch off at night and enter sleep mode. This is why when visiting the doctor the first thing they ask is "are you sleeping?" as the two go hand in hand.
2. Regular physical exercise is known to improve sleep quality. By exercising during the day your body becomes physically and mentally tired enough come the evening to want to sleep.
3. Avoid exercise just before bedtime. Exercise stimulates the brain and releases endorphins which prevents you from switching off, winding down and having a restful sleep.
4. In medical trials Folic Acid and Vitamin E have been used successfully to treat Restless Legs Syndrome. This disorder is surprisingly common and prevents many people from sleeping properly at night.
5. Contrary to popular belief you can never 'catch-up' on lost sleep. If you've had a late night and not had enough sleep the best thing you can do is to get to bed at your normal time, as once sleep is lost you can never make it up.
6. Some medicines can prevent you from having a good night's sleep. Certain prescription drugs are known to react with brain function and prevent you from having a deep undisturbed sleep.
7. New born babies sleep approximately 22 hours a day for the first few months, waking only to be fed and changed. Babies need sleep because their body and brain is changing and growing at such a rapid rate that they need sleep for the energy required for growth.
8. Most people need between 7 to 8 hours sleep a night and teenagers can sleep up to 14 hours a day due to the changing hormones in their bodies and brain. As their brains better absorb information later in the day, health professionals have for years been recommending that colleges adapt their timetables to start their lessons later.