The importance of a good night's sleep

A good night’s sleep is vital for our physical and mental health. An adult should get at least eight hours of good quality sleep a night. However, most adults in the UK only achieve this for two nights in a week and over a third never get this much sleep on any night.

Why do I need a good night’s sleep?

Lack of sleep is often blamed for lack of focus or bad moods. However, it affects many other areas of your life too, including your physical health. If you regularly have poor sleep, you may be at greater risk of conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity

Five ways sleep can boost your health:

1. Immunity

Sleep is a restorative process for your body each night, which is why poor sleep can disrupt your immune system. If you pick up colds and other infections easily, have a look at your sleep quality. 

2. Weight

Although sleep does not itself cause weight loss, it can help prevent weight gain. People who suffer from a lack of sleep have lower levels of leptin, the hormone that helps regulate how many calories you burn and eat, and higher levels of ghrelin, the hormone that boosts our appetite. People with poor sleep tend to feel hungry more often and crave bigger portions. 

3. Mental health

Sleep plays a huge role in mental wellbeing. Most people with anxiety or depression have less than six hours sleep a night. When you sleep your body rests, which allows your energy levels to rise. Higher energy levels lift your mood. A good night’s sleep helps prepare us mentally for the day ahead. 

4. A healthy heart 

Long-term lack of sleep can lead to heart problems. It can cause a higher heart rate, which increases the production of chemicals such as cortisol (the stress hormone). Cortisol increases your heart rate and prolonged high cortisol levels puts you at higher risk of a heart attack or high blood pressure

5. Sex drive and fertility 

Sleep increases your sex drive and fertility. Those who suffer from poor sleep have lower libidos. Poor sleep may also reduce your fertility by interfering with the production of the reproductive hormones oestrogen and testosterone. Men with sleep conditions such as obstructive sleep apnoea also tend to have lower testosterone levels and lower libidos. 

How to get a good night’s sleep

Routine 

Follow a sleep schedule all week and avoid late nights at the weekend. Changing your sleep routine at the weekend resets your body clock and makes it harder for you to return to early mornings in the week. Aim to go to bed at a time that allows you at least six hours sleep. 

Switch off

Turn off your screens at least one hour before bedtime, this includes your phone, as the blue light emitted by screens can be disruptive to sleep. Read a book or try listening to relaxing music instead.  

Unwind

It’s important to unwind before going to bed; if you are stressed or overthinking, this can stop you from falling asleep. If you find you worry about the next day’s tasks, try writing to-do lists. 

Many people find having a warm bath relaxing, or activities such as yoga or meditation which help calm the mind; these can all help prepare you for sleep. 

Prepare your bedroom 

Make sure your bedroom is a calm, inviting and a relaxing space. Avoid harsh lighting; a dark and quiet room with a temperature between 18°C and 24°C is ideal for sleep. 

If you’re concerned that you have a sleep condition, contact your GP.

Author Information

Cahoot Care Marketing

Niched in the care sector, Cahoot Care Marketing offers a full range of marketing services for care businesses including: SEO, social media, websites and video marketing, specialising in copywriting and content marketing.

Over the last five years Cahoot Care Marketing has built an experienced team of writers and editors, with broad and deep expertise on a range of care topics. They provide a responsive, efficient and comprehensive service, ensuring content is on brand and in line with relevant medical guidelines.

Their writers and editors include care sector workers, healthcare copywriting specialists and NHS trainers, who thoroughly research all topics using reputable sources including the NHS, NICE, relevant Royal Colleges and medical associations.


The Spire Content Hub project was managed by:

Lux Fatimathas, Editor and Project Manager

Lux has a BSc(Hons) in Neuroscience from UCL, a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and experience as a postdoctoral researcher in developmental biology. She has a clear and extensive understanding of the biological and medical sciences.Having worked in scientific publishing for BioMed Central and as a writer for the UK’s Medical Research Council and the National University of Singapore, she is able to clearly communicate complex concepts.

Alfie Jones, Director — Cahoot Care Marketing

Alfie has a creative writing degree from UCF and initially worked as a carer before supporting his family’s care training business with copywriting and general marketing.He has worked in content marketing and the care sector for over 10 years and overseen a diverse range of care content projects, building a strong team of specialist writers and marketing creatives after founding Cahoot in 2016.