Insomnia: how important is good sleep?
Who would not want that? Sleep deeply and then wake up refreshed. Many of us rarely experience this feeling anymore. Stress at work, with family, or at school often leads to anxiety and poor sleep. But how important is sleep for our mental health and what are the consequences of bad sleep?
What happens in the body while we sleep?
During the night, when all external and conscious influences disappear, the body uses the energy for various processes. Learned content is anchored, stress is reduced and our immune system is strengthened. There are different phases of sleep. At first we are in the sleep phase. Here we close our eyes and doze off. Then the body switches to so-called stable sleep. Our pulse and blood pressure drop and the muscles relax. In this phase we are not yet soundly asleep and can be woken up more easily. This is followed by the deep sleep phase. During this sleep phase, the brain recovers, impressions are processed and stored in the memory. In the next phase, the REM phase or dream phase, we let our imagination run wild. In this phase we often have impressive or even adventurous dreams. The different sleep phases alternate in an approx. 90 minute cycle.
Bad sleep with restlessness
The well-known "buzzing around in the head" often makes it difficult for us to fall asleep. Everyday experiences that depress us, problems at work or with the family can burden us. Long periods of stress can put a strain on the body and mind. This inner restlessness often prevents us from falling asleep or from transitioning into the deep sleep phase. Around half of the population experiences insomnia from time to time. We toss and turn in bed and mostly feel exhausted and drained in the morning.
The Effects of Bad Sleep
Anyone who has ever slept badly knows: concentrated work and serenity are difficult to implement after a waking night. It is more difficult to find the right words and more mental effort is required to perform routine tasks.
Our ability to react is also influenced by how well we slept the night before. Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis can have negative effects on our cognitive abilities. If the deep sleep phase is regularly too short, experiences and what has been learned cannot be fully processed.
How long should we sleep?
According to current scientific knowledge, the optimal sleep time has not yet been clearly established. Scientists at Western University in London, however, examined the sleep behavior of 10,000 test subjects in a large-scale study. The study was published in the specialist magazine "Sleep" and came to the conclusion that the optimal sleep time is between seven and eight hours. Many people find it difficult to achieve this level during the week. You should try to catch up on lost sleep on the weekend.