Ensuring that we get enough sleep every night not only makes us feel more rejuvenated, focused and alert, it also has significant benefits to our health and wellbeing. Sleep plays a vital role in good health throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health and safety. …
Studies show getting enough quality sleep on a regular basis can help improve many health and lifestyle related challenges; from your blood sugar levels; immunity; workouts; our moods and even the relationships we establish.
Most of us have a bitter-sweet relationship with sleep; it’s something that we want more of but we don’t often get it or prioritise it. There are thousands of reasons why we struggle to get enough quality sleep at night; we have too much on our minds, stress, it is too hot, we have young children, we work shifts; the list is endless.
It is highly likely that you do not currently realise the health benefits of getting enough sleep and likewise the negatives of it as well!
Experts suggest that the average adult needs between 7-9 hours sleep per day, with children needing even more. Unfortunately, the Western environment is interfering with natural sleep patterns and we are now all sleeping less than they did in the past, and sleep quality has decreased as well.
“The average adult sleeps less than seven hours per night. In today’s fast-paced society, six or seven hours of sleep may sound pretty good when really it’s a recipe for chronic sleep deprivation.” National Institutes of Health
There are lots of things that can cause each of us to feel stressed and how each of us manages stress is different too. Feeling stressed as a result of work, our relationships, finances and / or our health are the most common reasons we struggle to sleep at night. This is also a vicious cycle as when our body is sleep deficient it goes into a state of stress. Our body functions are put on high alert which can lead to high blood pressure and the production of stress hormones. High blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack and stroke, and the stress hormones make it harder to fall asleep.
Increased stress hormones caused by lack of sleep raise the level of inflammation in the body. This creates a greater risk for heart-related conditions, as well as cancer and diabetes. Inflammation is thought to cause the body to deteriorate as we get older making us less resilient and more vulnerable.
It’s no surprise that getting a good night’s sleep can help to boost your energy levels. Plenty of rest can also help to keep your mind from wandering and maintain your focus attention throughout the day. Not getting enough quality sleep can mean that both your body and brain don’t function properly the next day. It could impair your attention span, concentration, strategic thinking, risk assessment and reaction times.
Research shows that people who sleep for less than 7 hours per night are more likely to be overweight or obese. It’s thought that a lack of sleep impacts the balance of hormones in the body that affects our appetite. The hormones ghrelin and leptin, which regulate appetite, have been found to be disrupted due to lack of sleep. If we want to maintain or lose weight, it is important that we get adequate sleep on a regular basis.
Getting a good night’s sleep can help keep your immune system fighting fit and keep germs at bay. Sleep gives your body the time it needs to recover and repair. (This is why you feel tired and want to sleep more when you’re unwell). Sleep also supports the proteins and cells of your immune system to detect and destroy any foreign invaders your body might come into contact with, like the common cold. It also helps these cells remember invaders, therefore if you come across the same bugs and germs again, you’re prepared to fight them off. A good night’s sleep helps to strengthen your body’s immune response, so it is absolutely essential to allow yourself time to rest when you’re not feeling well.
Here at Tonic we say that SLEEP is a truly underrated pillar of wellbeing. Furthermore, we firmly believe that achieving optimum health requires a holistic approach paying attention to both your mind and your body. Getting enough quality sleep, feeding ourselves nutritious food, moving more and sitting less – are all inter-related behaviours. Through small, regular changes to your lifestyle in each pillar – relaxation, sleep, nutrition, stress and activity levels – you can better adapt to the challenges that life brings. You will reach and maintain your optimum. Visit our website to find out more.
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