​Whatever stage of our life we might be enjoying, sleep is a key factor in ensuring it’s a healthy one.

A recent report suggests that new parents face up to six years of sleep deprivation, with a survey revealing that rest is at its worst three months after birth. And, while parents gradually saw an improvement in their sleep as their firstborn grew, it seems their nighttime rest was never quite the same again.

In other research, evidence shows how the depth of sleep can impact our brain’s ability to efficiently wash away waste and toxic proteins. The authors suggest that, because sleep often becomes increasingly lighter and more disrupted as we become older, results reinforce and potentially explain the links between ageing, sleep deprivation, and heightened risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

The study indicates that the slow and steady brain and cardiopulmonary activity associated with deep non-REM sleep are optimal for the function of the glymphatic system, the brain’s process of removing waste.

It is widely accepted that, as we age, it becomes more difficult to consistently achieve deep non-REM sleep. In this issue, we look at how many of us are operating in the workplace whilst struggling with a serious sleep deficit Work-related stress and money worries are more likely than anything else to be a curse on healthy sleeping patterns.

Professor Timothy I Morgenthaler has been working as a sleep medicine specialist for more than 22 years. He says: ‘Getting good quality and quantity of sleep is one key to ageing well, improving the odds of physical, cognitive and emotional health. In some studies, regular sleep has even been associated with fewer signs of ageing in facial skin and better tissue tone. Look better, feel better, be better. There is a lot to be said for giving good quality sleep a high priority in our daily lives.’

Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, collapsed from sleep deprivation and exhaustion in 2007 and her experience prompted her to take action. She founded Thrive Global (https://thriveglobal.com) that offers the tools and opportunity for businesses and individuals to change the way they live for the better.

As she notes: ‘Sleep is central to every aspect of our mental and physical health. And this is true at every age, from birth onward. The profound importance of sleep in having a healthy, happy and long life never wanes.’

If sleep keeps the brain’s wiring and connections healthy and working at their best, then it is important that, as a health professional, you ensure the optimum level of productivity – especially when learning and remembering new things from earlier in the day. In this issue, we look at ways to improve our sleep patterns and consider how a poor night’s rest can impact on oral health.

Grabbing our ‘beauty sleep’ is important – and the more we do to ensure we enjoy those essential quality hours, the better everyone's overall health will be.