Sleep does more than rest us and recharge our batteries it is essential to our health and happiness.
What is often unknown is that while we sleep some of the most essential bodily functions occur.
Skin Regeneration: Our skin repairs and renews as do our muscles. Beauty sleep isn’t just a saying, it is actually accurate when it comes to cellular regeneration and keeping your skin looking vital and healthy.
Immune system: our immune function needs sleep to fight unwanted nasties especially if it is cold or flu season, which is why it is best to sleep when you are sick otherwise you body finds it hard to cope with the increased need for energy from the immune system and for your daily activities. This is often why tiredness is a symptom and shouldn’t be ignored and those that take one day off to rest are often better off than those that solider on.
Mental health: sleep is so important for our mental health. Most people are irritable when they do not get a good nights sleep but that is usually just in the short term. Long term effects cause anxiety and depression. Mental cognition is reduced and often results in poor performance at work or in study. Lack of sleep also increases our susceptibility to stress meaning things can effect us more easily and we are more reactive which is usually not going to make for a happy day.
Studies have shown your brain cleans itself of waste while you sleep, amazing right! What the theory is that your brain cells shrink so the brains liquid can flow more easily cleaning the debris and then the cells expand again on waking. This article in Science to learn more. The study showed that your brain signals more slowly when you are tired hence slower performance.
Digestive function: Sleep and the digestive system work very closely many do not know that when we sleep is when many of our digestive organs are at their peak. The liver functions mostly when we are asleep it does the important job of cleansing the blood of toxins, clearing our excess hormones, creating glucose for energy and of course utilising, digesting and absorbing all of those amazing nutrients we need for EVERY bodily function and process .i.e serotonin production for a happy mood, zinc for hydrochloric acid production and so much more.
Stress and the Gut: A good nights sleep ensures your digestive system has enough time to repair and rest. As noted lack of sleep also makes us more susceptible to stress which then impacts on our digestive system often causing discomfort, bloating or/and constipation/diarrhea. We also experience cravings for sugar and caffeine for a quick energy boost but these often irritate the digestive tract and lead to increased sleep disturbances.
Weight Gain: When we are chronically sleep deprived weight gain usually follows. This occurs because our body naturally increases our hunger hormones when we are sleep deficient and reduces our satisfied or satiety hormone. Unfortunately it doesn’t stop there the hunger hormone ghrelin craves unhealthy carb or saturated fat laden foods, which is not amazing if your trying to lose weight and of course these foods increase your serotonin but are unhealthy and definitely not good for the diet read up on how sleep effects weight gain here.
Nutrient deficiencies: some nutrient deficiencies impact on sleep, without these nutrients sleep can be interrupted.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP GET A BETTER NIGHTS SLEEP?
Go To Bed Early! if you are a restless sleeper giving your self an extra hour to 30min to get to bed will help to take the strain out of sleeping. The more anxious we are about sleep the harder it is to get to sleep. Ever had a big day the next day and you can’t get to sleep? often it is about being stressed and anxious or even excited about things to come. If you give your self extra time to sleep it will help reduce stress around sleep.
Write a to do list: something that keeps me awake is my to do list. You know when your brain reminds you about the things you have to do the next day. Writing a to do list for you to pick up in the morning will help to reduce these thoughts and encourage a better nights sleep. Remember to do it an hour or more before bed so you have time for your brain to relax before bed.
Adequate Nutrient Intake: Nutritional deficiency has long been linked with poor sleep and this is because the hormones that help us sleep need certain nutrients to be made. There are many sources which report Vitamins B6, B12, C, D and E deficiencies have been linked to an interrupted nights sleep. Many of these nutrients are needed to synthesize melatonin which is a sleep hormone.
Sleep Hygiene will help many people, other things that can help are
Meditation throughout the day and at night to rest your mind. Meditation is really useful for learning about your mind and thoughts, it is also a really useful training tool to quiet the mind.
If you need help understanding your sleep better or to improve your sleeping patterns we can help call 0412241198 to get your sleep under control.