In today’s busy society, we are constantly exposed to a stream of stimuli, responsibilities and the present pressure to not only perform, but to live the perfect balanced life. Balance in terms of health, exercise, food choices, social interactions, chasing our dreams or simply relaxing and doing fun things. It can be easy for all these pursuits to neglect much-needed rest and restoration of our sleep. But what many sometimes forget is that sleep is one of the most essential elements for good health, and lays the foundation for doing all those other important tasks, even relaxing and enjoying ourselves. So why is a good night’s sleep so crucial, and how can we strengthen our sleep quality? We’ll explain.

Why is a good night’s sleep so important?

Sleep is not just a time of rest, it is an active period during which your body and mind recover, regenerate and renew. In fact, during sleep your body goes through several repair processes, including muscle repair, cell regeneration (repair and revitalization) and the strengthening of your immune system (Halson, 2008). In fact, insufficient sleep is associated with an increased risk of various health problems such as, obesity, heart disease and decreased immunity of your immune system (Sleep | Causes and Consequences, s.d.). A good night’s sleep can help you reduce these risks and thus promote your overall health.

Sleep is also vital to your brain and cognitive functions. In fact, sleep helps to properly process information, store and retrieve memories (consolidate) and improve your ability to learn. Good night’s sleep can improve your concentration as well as your creativity. Furthermore, sufficient sleep is linked to better emotional regulation and a reduced risk of mood problems and disorders such as anxiety and depression. Enough sleep can help you to be more emotionally stable and resilient and better cope with stressful situations (Meerlo et al., 2020).

Benefits in brief:
– Increased energy and alertness (concentration) throughout the day
– Improved mood and emotional well-being
– Better memory and cognitive functions
– Stronger immune system and reduced risk of health problems
– Improved physical performance and recovery after exercise

How much sleep do you need?

On average, most people need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per day. However, this can vary from person to person. Some people have enough with 6 hours and others need almost 9 hours of sleep. Research has shown that most toddlers need 11 to 13 hours, children need 9 to 11, teens need 8 to 10, young adults and adults need between 7 and 9 hours and older people need between 7 and 8 hours (Sleep | Causes and Consequences, s.d.).

How do you improve your sleep?

Even if you understand the crucial role of sleep, it is sometimes difficult to get enough and as optimal sleep as possible. Here are some tips to optimize your sleep quality:

  • Get a good rhythm.
    Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day as much as possible. Regularity in your sleep pattern means your body knows where it stands, and can therefore send signals that make it easier to fall asleep and get up.
  • Create a sleep-friendly environment.
    For example, provide a comfortable bed, good blackout curtains and adequate ventilation in your bedroom with the right temperature (+/- 18 degrees).
  • Dim your lights and limit exposure to screens 2 hours before you go to sleep.
    The blue light from electronic devices can interfere with the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Bright lights in your environment can also inhibit this production. Tip: read a book before going to bed.
  • Don’t snack right before bed.
    If you feel hungry or cravings in the evening. Then choose not to snack right before bed, preferably do this a little earlier to get ahead of it. If you would still like to eat something, choose a light snack such as vegetables with some dip or a piece of fruit
  • Eating well and healthy. Next to not eating food 2 hours before bed it is important to not drink caffeine in the evening, or drink alcohol shortly before bedtime. In addition to these tips, to sleep better it is also important to get the right nutrients during the day for healthy energy levels. (Sleep | LUMC, s.d.)

Do you find it difficult to get all the important nutrients everyday? Try Jake’s shakes and Vitaminbars! These are not only tasty and convenient, they contain all the important nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, iron and minerals you need in a day.


Sleep is the fundamental need that is often overlooked in our busy lifestyles. It is important to be aware of the impact a good night’s sleep can have, and in contrast, the impact of sleep deprivation or sleep problems. With simple adjustments and some knowledge and consistency, we can optimize our sleep and experience its many benefits.



Halson, S. L. (2008). Nutrition, sleep and recovery. European Journal Of Sport Science, 8(2), 119–126.

Meerlo, P., Havekes, R., & University of Groningen. (2020). Belang van slaap voor cognitief en psychologisch functioneren. In Bohn, Stafleu, Van Loghum, M. Lancel, M. Van Veen, & J. Kamphuis (Reds.), Slaapstoornissen in de psychiatrie.

Slapen | LUMC. (z.d.).

Slapen | Oorzaken en gevolgen. (z.d.). Volksgezondheid en Zorg.

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