As a general rule, experts recommend that most people need a minimum of six hours sleep a night to ensure they are fully rested and functional the next day.

This differs from person to person, but the effects of not having enough sleep can be very detrimental to both your mental and physical health.

Mrs Marianne Davey, director of the British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association, explains why a good night's sleep is just so important.

1. Rest

This is obvious, but your body needs sleep to ensure it is fully rested for the next day, staying awake for too long can leave you mentally irritated and your muscles fatigued.

2. Growth

Sleep is the main time for cells to regenerate and for the body to grow, meaning it is especially important for babies, children and young people.

3. Repair

As with growth, sleep is a primary time for bodily repair, giving the body an opportunity to focus on healing rather than other functions.

4. Hormone production

"If the hormone production is thrown out of kilter because of disturbed or poor sleep, this leaves a feeling of sluggishness and lethargy in the morning," Mrs Davey warns.

5. Stress

A lack of sleep can cause stress as the body is too tired physically to cope with mental problems. Stress can conversely cause sleep problems, meaning it is heavily connected with sleep patterns.

6. Memory

Tiredness can cause forgetfulness and short-term memory problems, especially if you consistently aren't getting enough sleep.

7. Concentration

A lack of sleep can also make it more difficult to concentrate on tasks, especially in the workplace.

8. Obesity

Not getting enough sleep can cause the body to become stressed, meaning it is more likely to store fat rather than use it as energy.

9. Headaches

Without getting enough rest it is likely that you'll begin to suffer from headaches, especially if you attempt to compensate by upping your caffeine intake.

10. Gastrointestinal problems

Stress caused from a lack of sleep is linked to gastrointestinal problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome, which is commonly prescribed relaxation and rest to aid digestion.

Posted by Freya Harper