Sleep: The Basics
Sleep is important for our mental and physical health. Good sleep patterns can affect how you feel and how you perform during the day. Check out this section to learn more about the importance of sleep and what to do when you can’t get a good night’s sleep.
Why is Sleep Important?
Sleep is important to help us feel good, mentally and physically. Getting a good night’s sleep:
- allows your body to heal, repair, and fight sickness
- helps you to feel energized for the next day
- improves focus and memory
- stabilizes your mood, helping you to be more resilient and able to solve problems and tackle challenges
- makes completing tasks like studying and working easier
- regulates your metabolism and hormones
- helps contribute to your long-term health
Getting enough sleep gives your body the time it needs to recharge. This TedTalk explains what’s happening in our brain when we sleep and why it’s so important to our daily functioning:
So how much sleep do I need?
The right amount of sleep is different for everyone, but you may need up to 10 hours of sleep per night if you’re between the ages of 12-24. Since young people are still growing, getting enough sleep is really important during this time. Some young people struggle with getting enough sleep because of changes in their body clock during puberty, meaning they often feel tired later and wake up later than adults. Often young people have to wake up earlier than their body is ready for because of school start times, which causes them to lose a few hours of sleep every night.
How do I know if I’m getting enough sleep?
If you feel well-rested during the day and have the energy and focus to put towards your daily activities, you are likely getting enough sleep. Other good signs are if you can fall asleep easily at night and don’t often wake up during the night.
It’s very common for people to struggle with getting enough sleep. Busy schedules, school, activities, and time with family and friends can all easily take priority over sleep. Some signs you could be getting a better night’s sleep or that your sleep schedule could use some tweaks are:
- having difficulty getting out of bed in the morning
- falling asleep in class or at work
- an inconsistent sleep schedule
- feeling moody and irritable
- having trouble concentrating or focusing on tasks, like schoolwork or studying
- feeling tired often and having low energy during the day
- easily forgetting things
- often going to bed later than you want, or pulling all-nighters for school or work
It is normal to feel overwhelmed when your sleep schedule needs adjustment as it can start to impact other areas of your life.
What happens if I don’t get enough sleep?
Many of us don’t get enough sleep at night. It’s easy for life – school, social life, responsibilities, stress, health problems, etc. – to get in the way of a good night’s sleep. Not getting enough sleep can affect us in many ways, including:
- making you feel tired and worn down
- making it difficult to concentrate and harder to remember things – which can affect things like studying and work
- negatively affecting your mood – you might feel anxious, sad, or worried and you may be cranky and unpleasant to be around
- making you hungry as your body looks for another way to get energy
- making you more likely to get sick
- making you feel less motivated to participate in usual activities and responsibilities
What can I do if I’m struggling to get a good night’s sleep?
There are many things you can do to get your body and mind ready for a good night’s sleep.
Want to explore and learn more? Here are a couple options that will help you.