(Image credit: Getty)
by Claire Davies
“Sleep. We all do it, and some of us do it better and for longer than others. But why do we sleep and why is sleep important? These may seem like obvious or basic questions, but the answers are neither obvious nor basic, as a lot of human sleep remains uncharted territory. Science now knows more about it compared to even ten years ago, but most sleep experts agree there are still many riches to discover.
“Type the word ‘sleep’ into Google, as many people are during Sleep Week, and you’ll be met by a sea of articles discussing why sleep is important – and why it can sometimes be so difficult to fall asleep. Regular questions include, ‘How many hours of sleep do you need?’ and ‘How can I sleep instantly?’ As a species, we seem obsessed with slumber numbers: how much, how fast, and also what does our age have to do with it? And it isn’t just Google being asked why sleep is important – doctors are regularly quizzed, usually by folk who are at their wits’ end over poor sleep.
“For some, good sleep is an elusive beast, and cruelly it seems like the more a person struggles to sleep, and the more effort they put into trying, the more they struggle. And on it goes. But understanding the importance of sleep and how to let it happen (because we can’t make it happen), the sooner you’ll return to what feels like healthy, happy snoozing for you. It’s also worth remembering – as neuroscientists and sleep doctors are now reminding us – one size does not fit all when it comes to getting some decent shut-eye.”