Bedtime is one of my favourites times of the day. For me, going to bed is a time to get comfy and snuggle down under my duvet, head on pillow, for a good night’s sleep. Lovely.
But my daughters have other ideas at their bedtimes – they want to stay up late, read books, watch TV or play games. I insist on a routine of calming down (no TV or games!), cleaning teeth and brushing hair, maybe a bath, a short story and getting off to sleep as quickly and quietly as possible.
And our cat sleeps for most of the day and the night – he thinks sleeping is great!
So why is it so important to go to bed? What good does sleep do?
Sleep is a normal part of life. It allows your body time to rest each day and helps to keep your body working properly. Sleeping well can reduce your chances of developing certain diseases and it helps your body to be better at fighting off germs that could make you poorly. Sleep can also help you to stay at a healthy weight and keep you feeling good.
If you don’t get enough sleep for one night, the chances are you’ll feel grumpy and irritable the next day. But if you don’t get enough sleep for lots of nights in a row, you’ll probably find it difficult to concentrate at work or school, it will be harder to make good choices about things, and you might be more prone to accidentally hurting yourself. You might even fall asleep during the day at the wrong place and the wrong time! And not getting enough sleep for a long period of time can make you feel very sad.
So how much sleep do we need? Well, the amount of sleep your body needs depends on how old you are. For example, a baby needs up to 17 hours of sleep each day/night. Schoolchildren like my daughters need about 10-12 hours each night. And grown-ups need to sleep for about 8 hours a night.
It’s a good idea to get into a sleep routine – going to bed at about the same time each night and waking up at about the same time each morning. And you can tell if you’re getting enough sleep by how tired you feel during the day. If you wake up feeling tired and you want to go back to bed during the day, you probably didn’t get enough sleep the night before!
And, in case you were wondering, sleep isn’t just important for humans – lots of animals sleep too! Our pet cat, Fishfingers, is a champion sleeper – he makes sure he gets about 16 hours of shut-eye every day!