Coming out of Covid: Hectic schedules are back, sleep is what we lack!

Sleep is considered the most important part of the day; however it has also been proven to be the most neglected. Whilst restrictions are easing, most schedules are increasing. With everything starting up again, most people have gone from zero to hero in a very limited time period which is the main reason why some people are getting little or no sleep.

What is sleep and why is it so important?

Moorcrof (2005) states that when an individual is in an unconscious condition in a relaxed manner, it is referred to as sleep. Sleep has been shown to be an essential component of health, affecting the well-being and quality of life of individuals. The brain controls sleep and responds to change in organism, internally and externally. A good night’s sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet.

According to Belloc and Breslow and his seven lifestyle habits, in order to replenish energy stores used during the day, an adequate sleeping pattern should be followed. Sleep is more than just a periodic resting condition of the body and nervous system, it is a phase during which recuperation, formation and synthesis of protein is more active. Healthy sleep requires adequate duration, appropriate timing, good quality, regularity, and the absence of disturbances.

Sleeping the recommended number of hours (7-8 hours per night) on a regular basis, has proven to be associated with improved health outcomes. These outcomes include improved cognitive function, concentration, mental health, quality of life and physical health. Sleep deprivation on the other hand has many negative effects on hormones, exercise performance, brain function and can contribute to the risk of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, depression and accidents. Insufficient sleep can lead to decreased concentration, daytime sleepiness, emotional instability and depression (Nadolski, 2015).

Individuals who participate in physical activity, tend to experience a more refreshing sleep pattern, which has a positive influence on their health and therefore regular exercise is highly recommended.

Hectic schedules tend to get the better of us, but if there is a chance to plan your day, try and incorporate a good sleeping routine and try your best to get adequate sleep, because as mentioned above it will be extremely beneficial towards your own health and well being.

Line Malan

Exercise Scientist 

References:

Belloc, N. B., & Breslow, L. (1972). Relationship of physical health status and health practices. Preventive Medicine. http://doi.org/10.1016/0091-7435(72)90014-X

 Moorcroft W.H. (2005) Understanding sleep and dreaming. New York, N.Y.: Springer. 339p

Nadolski N. (2005). Getting a good night’s sleep: diagnosing and treating insomnia. Plastic Surgical nursing 25(4): 167-175, Oct-Dec