Quality sleep is essential for good health and your overall quality of life. It affects both your mental and physical health.1,2
Sleep not only helps you feel rested each day. It helps with1,2:
- Learning and memory
- Thinking more clearly, having quicker reflexes, and focusing better
- Regulating your mood and emotions
- Maintaining a healthy heart and circulatory system
- Keeping your metabolism healthy
- Clearing toxins from your cells
How sleep helps strengthen memories1
The best way to remember something new that you’ve learnt, is to sleep on it. Sleep helps strengthen the memories that you have formed throughout the day. It also helps link new memories to earlier ones. You may even come up with creative ideas while you sleep.1 Learn more about sleep and insomnia
What is insomnia2
People who battle with insomnia have difficulty falling or staying asleep or wake up too early in the morning. You might find that your next-day functioning is also affected e.g. feeling very tired (fatigued), mood disturbances, reduced cognitive (mental) performance.2 Learn more about sleep and insomnia
There are 2 main types of insomnia4:
Short-term (acute or adjustment insomnia): A brief episode of difficulty sleeping. It is usually caused by a stressful life event e.g. loss of a loved one, an unsettling medical diagnosis, a pandemic, or a major job or relationship change. Adjustment insomnia lasts for less than 3 months, and your symptoms may get better as time passes and you learn to cope with the stressful event. In some instances, this type of insomnia can be persistent and become long-term (chronic) insomnia.4
Short-term insomnia is more common in women than in men. It can affect women during pregnancy and menopause.4
Chronic (long-term) insomnia: If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at least 3 (three) nights per week for 3 (three) months or longer, your insomnia can be considered chronic. Irregular sleep schedules, poor sleep habits (sleep hygiene), persistent nightmares, mental or other health problems, a bed partner, other sleep disorders and medications can lead to chronic insomnia.4
Chronic insomnia occurs in people of all ages and affects more women than men.4
News in Health. April 2013. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Available online at https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2013/04/benefits-slumber. [Accessed 16 September 2022].
Chigome AK, Nhira S, Meyer JC. An overview of insomnia and its management. S Afr Pharm J 2018;85(2):32-38.
Suni E. How much sleep do we really need? 29 August 2022. Sleep Foundation. Available online at https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need. [Accessed 16 September 2022].
Suni E. What are the different types of insomnia? 24 June 2022. Sleep Foundation. Available online at https://www.sleepfoundation.org/insomnia/types-of-insomnia. [Accessed 16 September 2022].