Sleep: Importance, benefits, and how much do we need?

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What is sleep?

Sleep is a natural state of the body that is inactive, and the mind is unconscious. Sleep is characterized by reduced muscle activity or voluntary movements and lesser interactions with the surrounding.

Sleep occurs in repeated patterns or episodes. Sleep is an essential component of well-being. In the modern, fast-paced world, sleep has become an escape.

It is important to understand that sleep is not a luxury but necessary for improving physical and mental health.

Having an inadequate sleep or sleeping excessively can cause health hazards.

How much sleep does a person require?

Sleeping habits or the body’s sleep requirements change depending on an individual. Demographic factors like age play a crucial role in determining how much sleep a person requires.



0 – 5 years10 – 13 hours
6 – 14 years8 – 12 hours
17 – 60 years8 – 10 hours
60 years and above7 – 9 hours

The above table is a general recommendation of sleep requirements. However, there are a few factors that might influence how much sleep a person requires. The sleep requirements of every person are different.

What are the factors affecting sleep?

Some of the common factors which affect sleep are:

  • Irregular sleep schedule
  • Consuming too much caffeine
  • Mental health disorders
  • Various sleeping disorders
  • Stress
  • Neurological problems
  • Illness or pain
  • Medications

Deprivation of sleep can cause many health issues.

Some of the common sleeping disorders which interpret a person’s sleep schedule are:

  • Sleep Apna
  • Insomnia
  • Parasomnias and
  • Narcolepsy

Why should we have enough sleep?

Having a proper sleep schedule will improve health. Sleep is essential for:

  • Allow the brain to process information
  • Maintain various body functions
  • Recovery of muscle tissues
  • Restore energy
  • Controlling emotion
  • Clarity of thoughts and
  • Improve focus.

Some of the other benefits proper sleep can offer are as follows

Various studies conducted on people showed that people who sleep less than seven hours a night have a greater chance of weight gain.

Adequate sleep and weight gain are connected. There are various factors including hormones which are affected when there is no sleep or less sleep.

Various studies revealed that people who are sleep deprived have a greater appetite and consume more calories.

Therefore, prioritizing sleep to manage body weight is important.

  • Heart health

When a person is sleep deprived, there is an increased chance of developing heart disease.

Sleeplessness will increase the risk of high blood pressure and may even cause a stroke.

Having an adequate sleep can improve health significantly.

Sleeplessness is directly associated with developing type 2 diabetes. Lack of sleep can cause changes like decreased insulin sensitivity in the body. Sleeplessness can also increase inflammation.

Sleeplessness is also associated with a greater chance of developing obesity and metabolic syndrome, which may trigger diabetes.

By sleeping enough, we can reduce the triggers which lead to diabetes.

  • Depression

Mental health is often overlooked. People with poor sleep tend to develop a few mental disorders, depression or anxiety.

Having enough sleep will reduce its symptoms. Having a sound sleep is essential to maintaining good mental health.

  • Healthy immune system

Having proper sleep has been shown to improve the immune function in the body. The immune system is the natural defense mechanism present in the body to fight against foreign agents.

When a person gets at least seven hours of sleep, immunity functions are improved and help the body fight against various diseases.

To sum up

The importance of sleep is often overlooked. Sleeping is as important as nutrition or exercise. Lack of sleep is directly associated with various negative health effects.

Even though the sleep requirements of individuals vary, various researchers suggested that a person should get at least 7 to 10 hours of sleep per night for optimal health.

It is always recommended to consider a medical professional for proper advice based on their individual needs.


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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