Healthy and restful sleep is essential
Healthy sleep is essential for our body and mind. A prerequisite for healthy sleep is good sleep quality, i.e. individually perceived restful sleep, and individually sufficient sleep duration. Sleeping also helps us to reduce stress and gather energy for the next day. While we sleep, our metabolism and our immune system also recover. At the same time, our brain processes the impressions gained during the day. Our neuronal network regenerates, while growth hormones are released, especially in the first half of the night. These support the body in the growth and regeneration of bones, muscles and internal organs. In addition, our heartbeat calms down during the night and blood pressure drops.
For our sleep to be truly healthy and for us to get the maximum benefit from it, it must consist of 4 phases. These must occur in a clearly defined sequence:
Falling asleep: the first phase of sleep (N1) describes the transition from wakefulness to sleep and is a kind of “dozing”. This is only a superficial sleep.
Light sleep: The second sleep phase (N2) is called stable sleep. Collectively, these two sleep phases are called “light sleep” because sleep is still easily disturbed during these phases. One does not yet sleep deeply.
Deep sleep: With the third sleep phase (N3), we enter deep sleep. The muscles relax and the heartbeat slows down.
REM sleep (dream sleep): Finally, the fourth phase, known as REM sleep (N4), is named after the rapid, jerky eye movements of sleepers (Rapid Eye Movement). REM sleep differs from the first three sleep phases in that dreams are particularly vivid – even though dreams can also occur in other sleep phases. The sequence of these four sleep phases is called the sleep cycle.
How deep and restful our sleep is has a significant impact on our mental and emotional fitness. Sleep deprivation can have a variety of negative effects: The ability to pay attention decreases, the ability to react decreases and the person becomes irritable more quickly. In addition, restful sleep is essential for us humans to form and store new memory content. Long-lasting insomnia also increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and depression.
In a nutshell:
Healthy and restful sleep has a positive influence on our lives. Among other things, it strengthens the immune system and the cardiovascular system. If we don’t sleep well for too long, it can damage our health.
Source: https://www.stiftung-gesundheitswissen.de/gesundes-leben/koerper-wissen/schlaf-warum-wir-ihn-brauchen (accessed Feb. 21, 2022, 1:30 p.m.).