Sleep – the number one factor?

The importance of getting enough quality and quantity of sleep is now well understood by research doctors and scientists.

This excellent Guardian article about Matthew Walker (a sleep scientist) summarises these developments¬†well, and I’m also working my way through his very readable book.

Sleep is now seen as so fundamental to health that I’m beginning to think that the ability to sleep well is indeed the ‘secret sauce’.

For example – I get patients who amaze me with their hectic lifestyles. Often they are business men and women who charge all over the place, usually on long-haul flights (dealing with jetlag), but somehow managing to cope and look quite well in the meantime!

I’ve never met one of the above who was a bad sleeper. When I ask them how they sleep (and I always do) they always say “No problem!”, and look at me as if to say ‘why wouldn’t¬†I?’.

There may be lots of explanations for the above, and it is true that sleep is affected by so many factors.

But whatever we can do to help improve it, we should.

Hopefully, at the GP level, questions about sleep and the provision of quality information about how to improve it will become an essential part of the case history.