Importance of Sleep

Guest Contributor: Tennessee Wesleyan University Occupational Therapy Student, Lydia M. Clement, OTS

Sleep is the process of resting your body, as well as preparing and participating in sleep (AOTA, 2020). Getting ready for bed is important to get good and restful sleep.

Why is sleep important?

Sleep helps with mood, behavior, and energy levels which allows you to participate in life (Tester and Foss, 2018). Sleep helps your brain grow strong and healthy. It allows you to pay attention in school and life, be creative, stay healthy and prevent sickness, be happier around friends and family, and solve problems (National Sleep Foundation, n.d.). Recommendations for sleep time are: School age children (6-13 years old) need 9-11 hours of sleep each night, while teenagers (14-17 years old) need 8-10 hours per night. Adults (18+) require 7-9 hours per night (National Sleep Foundation Recommends New Sleep Times, 2021).

What can disrupt sleep?

  • Caffeine
  • TV & screen time
  • Lack of movement, energy expenditure during the day
  • Anxiety

Tips on restful sleep:

  • Follow a sleep schedule – go to bed at the same time every night
  • Create a sleep environment – keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet
  • Avoid big meals right before bedtime and caffeine
  • Exercise or play during the day to help your body get tired and ready for bed
  • Create a sleep routine – do relaxing things such as shower, read, listen to quiet music
  • Avoid screen time at least 30 minutes before bed – the light on your screen can cause you to wake up and disrupt sleep


  • American Occupational Therapy Association. (2020). Occupational therapy practice framework  (4th ed.). American Occupational Therapy
  • National Sleep Foundation. (n.d.) Sleep for Kids
  • National Sleep Foundation Recommends New Sleep Times. (2021, January 6).
  • Tester, N. J., & Foss, J. J. (2018). Sleep as an occupational need. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72(1), 7201347010p1-7201347010p4.