According to the Oxford English Dictionary “Sleep” is a condition of mind and body which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed and consciousness practically suspended.

Many people believe that sleeping is an unproductive and passive activity of the day (or night). But that is completely incorrect; Sleep is a necessity for it helps both the brain and body to rejuvenate. In other words, sleep can be described as a remarkably productive and critical part of our everyday lives.

Hard working individuals, including students, have tendencies to skip or ignore their slumber due to the fact of “time is money” or “only the dead sleep” phrases. However, studies showed that this practice is the worst strategy/method for getting things done. Skipping on well-deserved naps and/or long-length sleeps can cause concentration problems, irritable moods and drowsiness; that will affect your work ethic and diligence in the long run.

For example, many university and college students may decide to drink coffee, energy drinks, take caffeine tablets etc. and stay up all night revising for an exam or finishing up homework; this will affect the way their physiological and psychological health is meant to be for the next day of classes. - One of sleeps many purposes are memory consolidation, which is highly required in this case.

Another paramount for sleep is metabolic health. Most people in our society pay more attention to eating healthier and exercising, than receiving a restful sleep. Studies have shown that when you sleep 5.5 hours per night rather than 8.5 hours, a proportion of the lower energy you burn comes from fat; while more comes from carbohydrate and protein. In conclusion, insufficient sleep (abnormal sleep) cycle can lead to metabolic syndrome and insulin insensitivity. Meaning, increasing your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Now, I know you’re asking yourselves “how much sleep do I need to be productive and healthy?” Well, considering the experiment conducted by previous researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Washington State University; their subjects who slept for a full 8 hours displayed no attention lapses or cognitive decreases, while the others that slept 4 and 6 hours steadily decreasing in consciousness. Additionally, the researchers stated “if an individual get 6 hours of sleep per night for two weeks straight, their mental and physical performance declines to the same level as if they had stayed awake for 48 hours straight.”

Ironically, many of us are suffering from sleep deprivation so that we can work more, but in reality, the drop in performance ruins any possible aids of working additional hours.

Generally speaking, experts primarily agree that 95% of adults need to sleep 7-9 hour each night to optimally function. Most adults should be aiming for exactly 8 hours per night. Hence, children, teenagers and older adults typically need even more.

The power of sleep is the source of energy!

By Bryanna Hylton