Sleep matters

Sleep matters

Tuesday, August 2, 2022


The importance of sleep on your physical well-being 


Some people believe they need less sleep than the average person. While this may earn you bragging rights, it’s not good for your health. Sleep is not just the absence of being awake; it’s an active process that promotes good cognitive and physical health. While you’re sleeping, your body is doing important work, such as forming pathways in your brain that help you learn and create memories and removing toxins that accumulate while you’re awake. Sleep also helps your body support your immune system, repair cells and tissues and maintain a healthy balance of hormones. 


We aren’t getting enough sleep  


Sleep deprivation is a serious public health problem. Roughly one out of three adults do not get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Here are a few ways sleep deprivation can be harmful: 

  • Heart disease. Sleep helps your body repair the wear and tear on your heart and blood vessels. When you don’t get enough sleep, it raises your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. 

  • Diabetes. Lack of sleep can lead to higher-than-normal blood glucose (sugar) levels, increasing your risk for type 2 diabetes, which, in turn, raises your risk for heart disease. 

  • Immune dysfunction. Without a robust immune system, you can’t properly fight infection and prevent disease and without adequate sleep, your immune system can’t do its job. 

  • Obesity. Sleep deficiency can lead to obesity, which is a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes and sleep apnea which also raises your risk for heart disease and diabetes. 

  • Injury and accidents. Sleep deprivation can lead to deadly accidents and mistakes. Driver sleepiness plays a role in about 100,000 car accidents each year. 


How many hours of sleep do you need each day? 

  • Newborns 14 -17 hours    

  • Infants 4-12 months 12-16 hours  

  • Toddlers 1-2 years 11-14 hours    

  • Preschoolers 3-5 years 10-13 hours    

  • School age 6-12 years 9-12 hours    

  • Teens 8-10 hours   

  • Adults at least 7 hours  




Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.