Insomnia: how important is good sleep?

Who doesn't wish for it? To sleep deeply and wake up refreshed. Many of us rarely experience this feeling anymore. Stress at work, overwhelming daily life, lack of exercise, or unhealthy diet often lead to inner restlessness and poor sleep. But how important is sleep for our mental health, and what are the consequences of poor sleep?

What happens in the body while we sleep?

During nighttime rest, when all external and conscious influences disappear, the body uses energy for various processes. Learned information is consolidated, stress is reduced, and our immune system is strengthened. There are different sleep phases. First, we enter the falling asleep phase. Here, we close our eyes and doze. Then, the body transitions into the so-called stable sleep. Pulse and blood pressure drop, and muscles relax. In this phase, we are not yet in deep sleep and can be easily awakened. This is followed by the deep sleep phase. In this sleep phase, the brain recovers, processes impressions, and stores them in memory. In the next phase, the REM phase or dream phase, we let our imagination run wild. In this phase, we often have vivid or adventurous dreams. The various sleep phases alternate in approximately 90-minute cycles.

Poor sleep due to inner restlessness

The well-known "whirling thoughts" often make it difficult for us to fall asleep. Everyday experiences that distress us, problems at work, or with family can weigh us down. Prolonged periods of stress can greatly strain the body and mind. This inner restlessness often prevents us from falling asleep or transitioning into the deep sleep phase. About half of the population occasionally suffers from sleep disorders. We toss and turn in bed and often feel exhausted and drained in the morning.

The effects of poor sleep

Anyone who has ever slept poorly knows: Concentrated work and composure are hard to achieve after a sleepless night. It is harder to find the right words, and routine tasks require more mental effort.

Our reaction time is also influenced by how well we slept the night before. Regularly getting too little sleep can have negative effects on our cognitive abilities. If the deep sleep phase is consistently too short, experiences and learned information cannot be fully processed.

How long should we sleep?

The optimal sleep duration is not yet clearly established according to current scientific knowledge. However, scientists at Western University in London conducted a large-scale study on the sleep patterns of 10,000 participants. The study, published in the journal "Sleep," concluded that the optimal sleep duration is between seven and eight hours. Many people find it difficult to reach this amount during the week. They should try to make up for the lost sleep on weekends.



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