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Why is sleep important?


Getting enough sleep is essential for maintaining good health and well-being. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can lead to a variety of negative health outcomes, including an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Additionally, chronic sleep deprivation can lead to cognitive impairment, mood disorders, and decreased immune function.

One of the most well-known health risks associated with a lack of sleep is an increased risk of heart disease. A study published in the journal Sleep found that individuals who slept less than six hours per night had a 48% higher risk of developing or dying from heart disease than those who slept six to eight hours per night. This increased risk is likely due to the fact that a lack of sleep can lead to an increase in inflammation and a decrease in glucose tolerance, which are both risk factors for heart disease.

Another health risk associated with a lack of sleep is an increased risk of diabetes. A study published in the journal Diabetes Care found that individuals who slept less than six hours per night had a 30% higher risk of developing diabetes than those who slept six to eight hours per night. This increased risk is likely due to the fact that a lack of sleep can lead to an increase in insulin resistance, which is a key factor in the development of diabetes.

Obesity is another health risk associated with a lack of sleep. Studies have shown that individuals who sleep less than six hours per night are more likely to be overweight or obese than those who sleep six to eight hours per night. This increased risk is likely due to the fact that a lack of sleep can lead to an increase in appetite and a decrease in energy expenditure, which can contribute to weight gain.

In addition to the physical health risks associated with a lack of sleep, chronic sleep deprivation can also lead to cognitive impairment, mood disorders, and decreased immune function. A study published in the journal Sleep found that individuals who slept less than six hours per night had a cognitive performance equivalent to that of someone who is legally drunk. Additionally, studies have shown that a lack of sleep can lead to an increase in the risk of depression and anxiety.


Getting enough sleep is an important factor for maintaining good health and well-being, and as such, it often forms one of our key pathways on Green Pathway journeys. We call this improving your 'sleep hygiene'; in other words, the habits and practices that promote healthy sleep.


By assisting you with ways to improve your sleep hygiene, we hope you will be able to fall asleep faster, sleep more deeply, and wake up feeling refreshed. Here are some tips for improving sleep hygiene:


  1. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even at the weekend.

  2. Create a bedtime routine. Establish a routine that you follow every night before bed, such as reading a book or taking a warm bath.

  3. Make your sleep environment comfortable. Keep your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet. Use comfortable bedding and a supportive mattress.

  4. Limit exposure to screens before bedtime. The blue light emitted by screens can disrupt your body’s natural production of melatonin, making it harder to fall asleep.

  5. Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption. Both of these substances can interfere with your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

  6. Avoid heavy meals and intense exercise close to bedtime. Eating a heavy meal or engaging in intense exercise close to bedtime can make it harder to fall asleep.

  7. Manage stress. Stress and anxiety can make it difficult to fall asleep. Try using relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.

  8. Consider a white noise machine to block out any unwanted background noise.

  9. Keep your bedroom for sleep and sex only.

  10. Use your bed only for sleep and sex, so your brain associates it only with sleeping.


By incorporating these tips into your daily routine, you can improve your sleep hygiene and enjoy better sleep.

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