UPDATE: Phipps will reopen to members on Sat., June 6 and to the public on Sat., June 13. All tickets must be purchased in advance, and new safety protocols are required. Learn more about how you can join us!

Why Do You Go to Bed?
Jan 03

Why Do You Go to Bed?

By Sarah Cullo, LMP Coordinator

We all need sleep. We spend almost a third of our lives in bed1. On our Let’s Move Pittsburgh blog, we talk a lot about establishing sustainable, healthy habits when it comes to nutrition and physical activity. But we never really talk about sleep! Sleep is the foundation for setting you and your family up to make healthful decisions. In this post, we are going to focus on what is quality sleep, why do we need it, and what happens when we don’t get enough.

There is a lot to unpack when it comes to understanding sleep. Sleep quality is determined by sleep latency, duration and disruption. Understanding these terms can help us better understand how we can improve our sleep quality. Sleep latency is how long it takes to fall asleep. Duration refers to how much time is spent actually asleep. Sleep disruptions are occurrences that interrupt sleep or night awakenings.

Sleep is a vital component of maintaining our physical and mental health2. Quality sleep keeps your memory, focus and functioning at its best2,3. Staying up all night waiting for a burst a creativity? Get some sleep! Sufficient sleep helps to boost creativity3.

Sleep is especially important for children and adolescents. Deep sleep promotes healthy growth and development. Kid’s bodies are doing a lot of work during the day. If part of your New Year’s resolution was hitting the gym, pair it with the resolution of getting rest! When we workout we are putting stress on our bodies. This causes small tears in our muscles4. Deep sleep is when we build muscle mass. The hormones that repair our muscles are released during phases of deep sleep4. If you’ve ever felt extra hungry when you’re tired there is a reason for that. The hormones that manage hunger (ghrelin) and satisfaction (leptin) are regulated while we sleep. When we are sleep deprived our hormones that signal hunger increase while the hormone that signals satisfaction decreases5.

If you are still thinking about the riddle- why do you go to bed? The answer is because the bed won’t go to you! Next time we will talk about some simple habits and strategies to help encourage sleep and pediatrician recommendations for encouraging sleep for your little ones.


  1. Why do we sleep anyway? http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep/why-do-we-sleep
  2. Babak Mohit, The cost of insufficient sleep: are we sacrificing one valuable resource for another?, Sleep, Volume 41, Issue 8, August 2018, zsy151, https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsy151
  3. Mindell, J. A., & Williamson, A. A. (2018). Benefits of a bedtime routine in young children: Sleep, development, and beyond. Sleep Medicine    Reviews,40, 93-108. doi:10.1016/j.smrv.2017.10.007
  4. Bird S. (2013). Sleep, Recovery, and Athletic Performance: A Brief Review and Recommendations. Strength and Conditioning Journal. 35.43-47.
  5. Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency