What is sleep?
Sleep is essentially the time we spend with our eyes closed with our minds and bodies at rest. A natural state where the nervous system is inactive. Voluntary muscles are relaxed. And response to external stimuli is lowered.
How many hours of shut eye do we need?
Most adults need 8 hours or more to function properly and stay healthy.
Children and older folks need more approximately 9-10 hours of sleep.
What are the side effects of insomnia?
How does it affect brain function?
While the body is asleep the brain is active, making pathways and remembering the new things learnt in the day. The brain also removes toxins that build up during the day. When the quality or amount of sleep is hampered so does the brains ability to focus and remember. Lack of sleep can also affect mood and display itself as lack of empathy.
How does it affect your immunity?
When you sleep the immune system produces proteins called cytokines that help to fight infection. Also if you are infected with a virus , sleep helps you to fight off the virus faster and get better quicker. Long term sleep deprivation can lead to chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Can it make you overweight?
Sleep deprivation can cause obesity . Lack of sleep makes you hungry and makes you feel too tired to exercise. Sleep deprivation also triggers and over production of insulin. Insulin regulates the blood sugar in the body but an over production can promote fat storage.
Can it cause heart diseases
Poor sleep affects your bodies ability to repair and heal your blood vessels and your heart. Poor sleep has been linked to cardiovascular diseases.
So it seems that although many of us do not give it much thought it is very integral to our well being. So how do we ensure that we get the sleep we need and can sleeping more efficiently actually make us more productive? Check out this TED Talk On the Brain benefits of Deep Sleep and how to get more of it.
Getting enough zzzzzzz
I know it’s not as easy as close your eyes and get to sleep for some of us. Me included, I struggled for many years while my kids were younger to get any sleep at all.
Here are some tips that help me get some sleep:
- I try to keep screen time just before bed a minimum. I find waking up in the middle of the night to check phone messages very disrupting to good sleep. So I like to charge my phone away from my bed.
- Just as I am laying down to sleep my mind wanders. I start planning the next days events. I start stressing, I go over the same things in my mind over and over again and lay awake all night. So to stop this I have resorted to meditation. I just block out my thoughts, concentrate on my breathing and tell my body and mind to relax.Give it a go it may help you…..
- I make a big deal about the clothes I am going to sleep in. I like comfortable, loose fitting, breathable clothes.
- Humans are habitual creatures, we like routines. Start a night time routine, it could be as simple as brushing your teeth, washing your face and reading a book for half an hour.
- Last ones a bit silly but I find the smell of clean sheets just irresistible. I can think of nothing dreamier than fresh sheets and a freshly done up bed.
That’s it on sleep , let me know what you think? What are your night time routines?