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The importance of sleeping well

Did you sleep well last week? Do you remember when was the last time you woke up fresh and refreshed, without an alarm clock or without wanting to go straight to coffee? If the answer to any of these questions is "no," you're not the only one. 

Consequences of too little sleep

After a night of poor sleep, you notice the consequences right away: you feel heavy, can't concentrate as well and start up with difficulty. When you sleep badly or too little more often, the consequences are even greater: it damages your immune system and doubles the risk of all kinds of physical and mental disorders. Think for example of Alzheimer's, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression and anxiety disorders.

Why a good night's sleep is important

You may not realize it, but a lot happens during sleep. Your brain is busy giving everything you saw, heard, read, thought, smelled and experienced during the day a place, discarded or stored. In addition, during sleep your immune system is restored and growth hormones are produced. A good night's sleep keeps your brain healthy and restores your body. In the short term, a good night's sleep also improves memory and concentration.

Every hour counts

One in four Dutch people struggle with sleep problems. A large part of this group can take measures themselves to sleep better, but sleep research shows that few people actually do so. Go to bed earlier? Many people think it's a waste of time. Yet you benefit from a good night's sleep. An hour more sleep at night results in more productivity during the day.

Different stages of sleep

Sleep consists of several stages, namely deep sleep, light sleep and dream sleep (REM sleep). The first 5 hours of the night contain most of the deep sleep, alternating with light sleep and some REM sleep. These first 4 to 5 hours of the night are called core sleep. Deep sleep is important for such things as your memory, tissue and muscle growth. After this core sleep, you get more light sleep and REM sleep. You then wake up more easily and sometimes find it more difficult to continue sleeping.


Author: Els van der Horst Somnologist and Ellen Renders sleep coach GGZE
Editor: Guus Peters

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