This ‘World Sleep Day” I thought I would share with you the importance of getting enough sleep, especially in times like these when we really need our body to be as healthy as possible. Adults need between 7-9hrs sleep each night, children more….but not many of us get this amount on a regular basis. Poor sleep can play havoc on our health and well being. Below I have listed five reasons why a good nights sleep should be high on your health priority list.

1) Sleep is essential to our health - a good nights sleep can really do wonders for the effectiveness of our immune system T cells. T cells are a type of white blood cell, they recognise bacteria and viruses when they enter the body and activate integrins (proteins that attach to other cells) to attach to them killing the infected cell.

2) A good night sleep will help your brain function. When we don’t get enough sleep our memory is impaired and it’s harder to take in and learn new information. I always thought ‘baby brain’ was just a myth - but with the lack of sleep I got when my son was a newborn, I was very surprised about how forgetful I became.

3) Sleeping well keeps your heart healthy - when we sleep our blood pressure reduces, which gives our heart and blood vessels a little rest. Studies show that poor sleep can leave you at a greater risk for strokes and heart disease.

4) Poor sleep can lead to weight gain and is a strong risk factor for obesity and diabetes. If you are trying loose weight and exercise and diet don’t seem to be working - pay attention to your sleeping habits.

5) Sleep can help with stress in the body. When we aren’t getting enough sleep and our bodies are tired and overworked, this can cause an increase in production of cortisol (stress hormone).This is because the brain chemicals connected with deep sleep are the same ones that tell our bodies to stop releasing cortisol. If you are not getting a good night sleep you won’t be giving your body the break from the elevated cortisol. This can lead to a raised level of inflammation in the body and feeling even more stressed when you wake up. Increased stress can also give you raised blood pressure, effect your digestive system and is not good from our mental health.