It's consistently drilled into us how important sleep is, with experts recommending at least six hours a night in order to feel rested and ready for the day ahead.

However, there may be more reasons than the obvious ones as to why sleep is quite so vital.

1. Repair

If you're feeling run down or a little under the weather, there's no cure quite like sleep.

According to Mrs Marianne Davey, director of the British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association, sleep is a primary time for bodily repair, giving the body an opportunity to focus on healing rather than other functions.

"During sleep certain growth hormones are released to allow the cells of the body to grow and repair." she said.

2. Brain power

Mrs Davey also explained that we are far better at making decisions and thinking clearly in the day if we have had enough sleep.

"Brain function suffers most from lack of sleep as it reduces the capacity for decision making, impairs judgement, affects memory and concentration," she explained.

In addition, lack of sleep can cause stress as the body is too tired physically to cope with mental problems.

3. Growth

During sleep, the cells in our body regenerate and grow. This is why sleep is so important for young people and children who are still growing - not enough sleep could lead to stunted growth.

4. Obesity

When the body has not had enough rest, it can become stressed and therefore store more fat than energy.

If the body does not work of the excess fat, (which you are unlikely to do if you are tired), this could lead to obesity.

5. 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.

Posted by Freya Harper