The question regarding the value of sleep has long been debated by different individuals. For example, I’m sure that you have either a friend or family member who says that they love sleep, similarly there is perhaps someone that you know who brandishes sleep as a waste of time. Therefore, are we underestimating the value of a good night’s sleep or should we instead use the time to do something more ‘productive’?

Many of us already know that sleep is an essential part of health. It enables us to effectively carry out everyday tasks and to learn new things more easily. However, what else does sleep impact on the way we look, feel, perform and think? We should consider not only this but also how willing the majority of us are to invest in a good night’s sleep.

Before the advent of light and more specifically Thomas Edison’s invention of the lightbulb, there was sufficient evidence to suggest that as a whole we slept more as a nation. Although previously we had slept in two four hour periods, we also achieved better quality sleep. The reduced amount of sleep, which has been accelerated in recent years, is often thought to be a societal change that we are seeing. However, how much is sleep worth specifically to you?

Beds & Mattresses:

Can you think back to the last time in which you changed your mattress or bed? The average person should change their bed every seven years and yet many of us rarely spend more than £699 on a bed and mattress. Essentially, this means that majority of us are only prepared to invest thirteen pence per night for twilight comfort.

It is therefore, perhaps rather surprising that a large proportion of us would be willing to spend a few pounds every day for lunch or a coffee but are reluctant to invest more than £700 on a good quality mattress and bed.

The truth is that based on peoples spending habits with regards to beds and mattresses, we can only presume that the majority of us do not value sleep significantly. However, investing in a quality mattress and bed will not only enhance your night’s sleep but also work to improve overall health. It is worth remembering that many of us will spend up to 20,000 hours in bed, so it’s important to take time and consideration when choosing a new bed.

Social Situations:

Lack of investment in mattresses and beds are not the only way in which many of us devalue sleep. Many of us, whether it is online via the comfort of our own homes or by going out and meeting friends of a morning, we often won’t cancel plans due to tiredness.

It doesn’t matter whether it is an early coffee morning or an evening dinner party, the feeling of social obligation prevents many of us from achieving good quality sleep. Often the trouble with this is that many of these social occasions happen at a weekend, where the chance to recuperate any lost sleep is at its highest.

Technology

In more recent years, there has been a significant growth in the use of mobile phones and tablets which has a direct correlation with the amount of sleep that we are getting. The blue light emitted from many tablets and phones actually make it very hard for us to fall asleep easily. Not only this, but there are also a variety of apps that may even distract us from getting to sleep altogether.

Having said this, some of these applications that come from mobile phones and tablets are actually beneficial to sleep. For example, there are many apps that tell you the quality of sleep that individuals are getting and goals to work towards a great night’s sleep.

Work:

Within the UK, it is commonly noted that we have become accustomed to working the longest hours in Europe. With this also comes pressures to get good quality sleep but it also provides less time to incorporate our busy lifestyles. It is the unfortunate reality that as a result of this, it is often the amount of sleep that suffers.

Despite this, employers are also now appreciating the importance that sleep can have on productivity within the workplace. Having an employee who has achieved a good night’s sleep also often creates a happier working environment which is beneficial to everyone. Therefore, some businesses now have breakout rooms or even sleep pods which enables employees to have the odd snooze when they are tired.

What’s the overall value of sleep?

The overall value of sleep will be dependent on the individual. Some will deem work, lifestyle, saving money and even technology more important than achieving a great night’s sleep. However, as a significant health benefit which has the ability to make us look, perform, think and feel better, can we really afford to lose out on sleep?

At the very least people should look at investing in a good quality bed and mattress which will provide lasting comfort and support. However, to really make a difference to both the quality and quantity of sleep, it will take lifestyle changes which are often harder to achieve. It is also worth remembering the importance of napping which can also help us to attain good quality rest periods.