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MindSG

Explore our suite of self-care tools and resources to help you better understand and manage your mental health.

The importance
of sleeping well

The importance of sleeping well

As we go through the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we might start to neglect the importance of sleep in order to finish up things that we didn’t get to do during the day.

It is vital we recognise that sleep is essential because having good sleep allows us to perform at our best. Let’s read on to learn more about what we can do to have better sleep.

Why do we need sleep?

Regular, adequate, and restful sleep recharges our bodies and minds, leaving us refreshed and alert when we awaken.

This is beneficial for our:

Health

Health

It helps to boost our immune system, while giving our body time to restore itself and replenish energy for the next day.

Learning

Learning

It helps to consolidate memory for better learning.

Mental well-being

Mental well-being

It helps with mood regulation.

What happens when we sleep?

We usually pass through four sleep stages. These stages progress in a continuous cycle from Stage 1 to 4 (which is known as the rapid eye movement, or REM stage). Sleep cycles vary from person to person.

On average, each sleep cycle lasts around 90 minutes and repeats several times throughout the night.

What happens when we sleep?

A good night’s sleep should leave us feeling refreshed, alert, and ready to begin the day.

International recommendations for sleep duration depend on age. As adults, we should strive to get at least seven hours of sleep each day.

How much sleep do we need?

What is a sleep disorder?

A sleep disorder is characterised by a disruptive sleep pattern that may include
any of the following:

  • Abnormal behaviour associated with sleep (e.g. sleepwalking)
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Excessive total sleep time
  • Falling asleep at inappropriate times
What is a sleep disorder?
What are some of the common symptoms?
  • Needing multiple caffeinated drinks to make it through the day
  • Difficulty concentrating at home, school or work
  • Often appearing tired and/or feeling fatigued
  • Feeling sleepy or irritable during the day
  • Difficulty staying awake while sitting
  • Falling asleep while driving
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Memory problems
  • Slowed reaction
  • Snoring

We may experience difficulty sleeping at some points in our lives. If the issue persisted for at least a month, caused significant emotional distress and interfered with our social or occupational functioning, we could consider keeping a sleep record.

The sleep record, either in the form of a sleep diary or tracker, could allow us to calculate our total sleep time, identify sleep disruptions and other unknown factors that may influence our sleep.

It would also serve as a source of useful information for the healthcare professionals to make a diagnosis on whether we have a sleep disorder.

The sleep record should include:

The time we went to bed and woke up

The time we went to bed and woke up

Total sleep hours and perceived quality of sleep

Total sleep hours and perceived quality of sleep

A record of the time we spent awake and what we did (e.g. “got up, had a glass of milk”, “stayed in bed with eyes closed

A record of the time we spent awake and what we did (e.g. “got up, had a glass of milk”, “stayed in bed with eyes closed")

Types and amount of food, liquids, caffeine, or alcohol we consumed before bed, plus frequency of consumption

Types and amount of food, liquids, caffeine, or alcohol we consumed before bed, plus frequency of consumption

Our feelings and mood before bed (e.g. stress, anxiety, low mood)

Our feelings and mood before bed (e.g. stress, anxiety, low mood)

Medications or drugs taken, including time of consumption and dose

Medications or drugs taken, including time of consumption and dose

Sleep centers

If we are concerned about our sleep, or if our sleep problems persist, are bothersome or interfere with how we feel or function during the day, we may need to seek advice from a healthcare professional from any of the Sleep Centres listed below.

What if we cannot fall asleep?

Lying awake in bed for too long can create an unhealthy mental association between our sleeping environment and wakefulness. Instead, we should create positive associations that promote thoughts and feelings conducive to sleep.

If we cannot fall asleep after 20 minutes, we should not force ourselves to stay in bed. We should get up and do another activity, e.g. go to another part of our house and do something relaxing, such as reading or listening to soothing music.

What if we cannot fall asleep?

References

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