Sleep impacts every part of our lives, from our performance at work to our long-term health and mental well-being. Sleep is integral to your health and a few small changes to your everyday life can make big improvements. Once you start getting more restorative sleep you will be amazed at how fabulous you feel.
Why beauty sleep should be your priority
Here are a few key sleep benefits to show why getting a decent rest is so important:RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
1.) We only heal when we sleep – our bodies do their most critical regeneration and repair work when we’re asleep.
2.) Some of our body’s most important hormones including those that regulate appetite are produced in our sleep. Long-term lack of sleep can be a big factor in weight loss resistance.
3.) Studies have shown that sleep-deprived drivers are as incapacitated as drunk drivers.
4.) Sleep deprivation makes us more depressed, speeds up the aging process, impairs our attention span, memory, and every other important cognitive process.
What happens while we sleep?
Many major restorative functions occur while we sleep such as muscle growth, protein synthesis, tissue and cell repair. During the day our neurons fire and our cells power us through the day and this process produces a neurotransmitter called adenosine.
This builds up all day long, leading to a decrease in the neurotransmitter dopamine (this keeps us alert and focused).
When adenosine goes up, dopamine goes down and this creates the sleepy feeling we get at night. Then while we sleep, adenosine is cleared from the body so we can start fresh in the morning feeling awake and alert.
How much sleep do you need?
The number of hours of sleep we need is between 7 and 9 hours. However, if you are groggy and relying on caffeine to get you through the day, then it is likely that you need more sleep than that.
The most restorative sleep is between 11pm and 7am because of our circadian rhythm.
This rhythm is influenced by your environment and controls all of the changes that happen in your body in a 24-hour cycle, including your sleep pattern.
What happens if you don’t get enough sleep?
Many of my clients before they start working with me say they don’t have time and “they will sleep when they are dead,” but if you are getting less sleep than 7 – 8 hours a night, you are also affecting your overall health and well-being.
As mentioned, lack of sleep can lead to an increase in appetite because your body is compensating for a lack of energy and struggling to find fuel for your daily activities.
This lack of adequate fuel results in weight gain and can increase your risk for many health issues such as developing type 2 diabetes, heart problems, respiratory disorders, depression, substance abuse problems, less focus and a shorter attention span.
Your reaction time is impaired and how you react to unexpected events and information is compromised.
Remember a time when you were suffering from lack of sleep, you’ll recall feeling more quick tempered, less likely to help people, less patient, you know what I am talking about. Perhaps you haven’t connected these feelings to your lack of sleep but they are all related.
7 Tips for Better Sleep
Here are seven simple tips I’ve complied for you to get a better rest:
1. Complete darkness
Sleeping in complete darkness increases your natural production of melatonin: our sleep inducer.
Oils such as lavender and vetiver help to relax you, reduce stress and induce sleep.
3. Switch off
Switch off all technology at least one hour before going to bed. Make sure your lights are dim and practice deep breathing or meditate to let your body naturally relax and make melatonin (the hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles).
Caffeine not only affects our ability to go to sleep but it can also impact how restful our sleep is. Switch to herbal tea.
I always work to get my clients off caffeine for a number of reasons as the benefits if any are short lived and in the long term it works against you, making you even more tired.
5. Skip the alcohol
Alcohol may feel like a sedative as it slows down brain function, leaving you with a feeling of being relaxed and worry-free. But, as it is metabolized, but the liver is acts as a stimulant in our bodies. This is what wakes us up in the early hours of the morning and affects the quality of our sleep.
Magnesium is the relaxation mineral and is crucial for sleep, at night we need magnesium to move into our cells for relaxation and great quality sleep. If we are dehydrated, or stressed then the correct exchanges do not take place and we can end up with trouble going to sleep, or with broken and interrupted sleep and can actually feel worse when we wake up.
7. Clear your mind
Grab a journal or use a gratitude dairy – write down anything that is on your mind as well as what you are grateful for, this allows your mind to relax instead of racing and trying to remember things for the next day .
You could also try a guided meditation – there are many available, I have a number of free guided mediation and you can connect with me by clicking below to get a link to my free guided meditations.
When it come to your sleep, quality and quantity, don’t give up. You will find a strategy that works for you. I
f you need help finding the right strategies then connect with me by clicking here. I can help create a bespoke plan for you to help you improve your sleep, change your life and increase your energy, and get you started on your journey to optimal health and wellness.
Connect with Expert Kerry Madgwick