Sleep physician and doctor David Cunnington discusses the importance of sleep and provides tips to improve sleep in the new year, reports The Huffington Post.

As we usher in the new year and set goals for the coming year, it’s important to make sleep a priority.

Getting enough sleep and ensuring good quality sleep is a key to maintaining good physical and mental health. So before committing to getting up early for the gym each day, or starting your next diet, make sure sleep figures in your plans for the coming year. This time of the year, many of us are making new year’s resolutions. What do we plan to give up that we indulged in too often throughout the year? What are we going to take up that we wished we had made time for this year? As we make these plans, it’s important to make sleep a priority rather than something that can be traded off, to make space in our schedule for other activities.

Not getting enough sleep has risks

Recommendations from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine are that adults of working age should get at least seven hours sleep each night. These recommendations are based on research showing that people who average less than seven hours sleep per night are at increased risk of problems, such as high blood pressure, depression and anxiety. This occurs even in people who don’t feel tired during the day.

It’s important to understand the difference between not getting enough sleep from being too busy or not allowing enough time for sleep, and those who allow enough time, but just can’t get to sleep or stay asleep despite their best efforts. For people with insomnia, that is, difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep, the risks of not getting enough sleep only appear to occur if they average less than five hours sleep per night.

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