Sleep Is More Important Than You Might Believe
Filed under: Sleep
Actually, sleep is far more important than most of us realize, and regularly missing sleep can lead to some serious consequences for our health.
What happens during sleep, anyway? During sleep, it seems as though your brain “shuts down”, but many biological processes are still running in the background. You aren’t conscious, but many important bodily functions happen automatically during sleep, such as:
- Release of hormones that manage growth, muscle repair, reproduction, and more
- Memory formation and learning abilities are boosted
- Heart and vascular system get a chance to rest
- Creation of cytokines, which boost the immune system and help you to fight infections
In order for these functions to be carried out successfully, you need to proceed through all normal sleep stages (ideally without a lot of interruptions).
But what happens if these processes are interrupted? You already know that you’ll feel cranky and fatigued the next day. You might also have trouble working efficiently, or experience disruptions in your personal relationships. But regular sleep difficulties also contribute to long-term problems such as:
- Depression and anxiety
- Weight gain and obesity
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Kidney Disease
- Impaired immunity
As you can see, sleep is extremely important to many areas of your health! So, what can you do to combat insomnia and other sleep disorders?
- Get regulated – go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
- Avoid caffeine after 3 pm
- Don’t nap late in the afternoon
- Exercise regularly – but not too late in the day
- Get several hours of sunlight each day
- Avoid nicotine
- Avoid large meals and beverages late at night
- Keep your bedroom cool
- Invest in a good quality mattress, pillows, darkening shades, after-school programs, or white noise machine as needed
- Don’t watch TV, or use a smartphone or computer in bed
Here’s some really good news about getting a better night’s sleep. Sometimes, taking all of the above steps still doesn’t solve your sleep issues. Send me a note or give me a call and I’ll forward some information about i-rest, a natural sleep aid we’ve experienced really good results with.