Conventional wisdom says that the average adult should aim to get eight hours sleep each night. Children need significantly more quality sleep time while older adults may manage with less. Before the development of effective artificial lighting, the cycle of night and day regulated sleeping patterns. People worked during the daylight hours and went night fell they went to bed. The poor light cast by candles and oil lamps did not encourage them to stay up, and many could not even afford this primitive lighting. Today electric light effectively obscures the difference between night and day. Work, social life, computers and many other factors tempt us to cut down on much-needed sleep.

1. Your body really needs that sleep

The fact that you become tired and need to sleep at times proves that this is vital to the body’s functioning. Just as you need to eat and drink a certain amount and exercise to stay healthy the same applies to sleeping. The optimum healthy sleep time varies between individuals, but if an average person gets less than six hours of solid sleep each night, they are sleep deprived. Your body needs this rest to recoup energies expended during the working day. A serious lack of sleep weakens the immune system to increase the likelihood of infection.