Eating healthily and exercising regularly are great practices in taking care of one's health. However, these are not enough if we want to care for our overall well-being. A good night's sleep is also a huge factor in achieving a day full of energy, productivity, and positivity.
In a 2019 international survey conducted by Philips Global, approximately 62% of adults don't feel like they're getting enough quality sleep. Their reasons include worry and stress, physical environment, hectic schedules, entertainment from technology, food disruptors, and existing health conditions. As these continue to pile up daily, it's more important than ever to discuss what deprivation does to our mind, body, and health.
The Neuroscience of sleep explores both the good things it does to our bodies as well as the repercussions our bodies experience from the lack of it.
Lack of sleep can greatly affect our mood. If you've ever stayed up all night finishing a project or restlessly lying on your bed, waking up the next day would have led to bouts of frustration, anger, and irritability. Furthermore, these negative moods can reduce concentration and the willingness to perform certain tasks.
Anxiety disorders are tied up with insomnia and sleep fragmentation. In some cases, anxiety and stress cause the lack of rest but in others, it's the other way around. Others who are already dealing with anxiety disorders can have their condition amplified by disrupted and low-quality sleep. In addition, without the clarity of mind provided by a good night's rest, coping with anxiety can be an increasingly difficult endeavor.
Depression and sleep deprivation is also a two-way street. Recent studies have found how sleep problems can increase the likeliness of an individual acquiring depression while those who have already been clinically diagnosed with the disorder can have their mood swings and other symptoms worsened. Since Depression is already detrimental to one's ability to perform or to function normally, alleviating its possible causes should be prioritized first.
Our body produces two hormones linked to hunger and appetite, ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is associated with the feeling of hunger while Leptin provides the feeling of being full. Studies have found that not getting enough sleep causes the former to increase and the latter to decrease. If you've ever experienced getting the munchies or craving a snack in the middle of the night, the cause is the irregular production of the mentioned hormones which can lead to greater risks of weight gain and obesity.
With these negative outcomes in mind, it's important to think twice about the habits we practice and the decisions we make concerning our health. Since sleep debt has already been proven to cause health disorders, let's explore the health benefits of getting a good snooze provides.
Our bodies operate according to our circadian rhythm which pertains to our 24-hour body clocks. This controls our bodily functions throughout the day including the release of hormones throughout the system. Since hormones send signals needed for different organs and tissues to function, maintaining proper patterns for both eating and sleeping can keep our circadian rhythm on track and essentially reduce the risks of developing illnesses or diseases. Furthermore, in regulating hormones that affect stress and blood glucose levels, we can keep healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels
As our bodies relax into sleep, our brains will switch into detox mode and flush out toxins that cause neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. This is done through the brain's so-called glymphatic system which allows the brain cells to shrink by 60% to create bigger spaces in the brain for the toxins to eventually flow out.
Aside from cleaning out wastes within, restorative sleep benefits tired and stress-induced bodies by repairing damaged tissues, boosting the performance of various cells, and increased stem cell production. This is the reason why getting enough sleep has been found to strengthen the immune system. Immune cells or T-cells fight the viruses and cancer cells that can plague the system and the only time these cells can achieve increased performance is through sleep, during decreased levels of stress hormones.
While the human body is capable of achieving great feats, it's a well-known fact that it's limited. The reason why we feel sleepy, tired, or even exhausted is a call for rest to allow the brain to recalibrates it can only process a limited amount of information every day. Eventually, the release of neurotransmitters will slow down and impede one's ability to process and understand information which is why the brain must be given sufficient time to realign and regulate its functions with the rest of the body.
While sleep debt results in negative moods, lack of concentration, and inability to retain information, adequate sleep provides the exact opposite. The moment you wake up after a proper sleep, you will immediately feel energized and highly alert. These will contribute to your cognitive performance in work or school and you will find yourself completing tasks more efficiently and digesting information easily.
If you want to achieve better results for your weight loss journey, you must also consider clocking a good amount of sleep. As previously mentioned, sleep allows the body time to repair damaged tissues but in fact, it also undergoes a fat breakdown process called lipolysis. Furthermore, the body's metabolism which has been running all day needs to slow down as it was discovered that without rest, its ability to properly process insulin (from starch and sugars) can decrease by 30%. This will lead to the unprocessed insulin being stored in the body as fat.
Sleep provides the body with energy for various activities and one of them pertains to activities in bed. While it's normal to experience fluctuations in libido, several pieces of research have shown that increased hours of sleep lead to greater sexual desire and drive. Since the body's nervous system is more alert, it reacts to stimuli strongly leading to sexual arousal. This shows that sleep and rest do not only affect how our mind and body function but also play a crucial role in maintaining romantic relationships and keeping the fire alive.
Good Mental Health
Since the lack of sleep is linked to developing or aggregating symptoms of mental health disorders, improving sleep quality may be considered as a possible contributor to promoting good mental health. REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep, in particular, advances the brain's ability to process emotional information which ultimately results in positivity with one's mood and emotional responses upon waking up.
Now that you've learned how sleep can greatly contribute to your health and wellness, the question now is where to begin. Below are some points to consider to get your well-deserved good night's sleep:
Not only will a good bed and mattress benefit your sleep, but it can also help in relieving body pains. Experts suggest acquiring a Medium-Firm Mattress (MFM) to maximize your sleep hours. More importantly, your chosen mattress should properly support your spine to avoid other health risks.
If only restorative sleep can be achieved by simply lying on the bed and closing the eyes. Unfortunately, we deal with the reality that not everyone can fall asleep easily. But this is not a time to lose motivation because it's very much possible to program ourselves for a peaceful and calm sleep. By establishing a routine, we can form helpful habits that revolve around getting the most out of sleep. You may opt to follow the routine below:
Our bodies take time to digest certain foods so instead of opting for a burger and sides, choose to make a simple homemade dish using light but nutrient-rich ingredients. Avoid spicy foods and caffeine before bedtime as they can inhibit the feeling of sleepiness.
Take a relaxing bubble bath with your favorite scented candles or oils while listening to soft, calming music.
After soaking, brew yourself a nice cup of herbal tea like Chamomile, Valerian Root, Lavender, and Lemon Balm. Relieve yourself from any strenuous activities at this point.
Pick up an inspirational or any easy-to-read book that will channel positivity into your way. You may also pick up your Gratitude Journal and write down the things that went well during the day and what can be better for tomorrow. Focus on these two prompts and make it a habit of knowing what it is you want to master the Law of Attraction and move towards your goals.
This bedtime routine is not a one-size-fits-all. If you want to learn more on what other things you can incorporate to take charge of your sleep practices, check out the Blissful Sleep Experience. It contains audios that will guide you as you fall into slumber and an e-book for more tips and insights.
If you feel like your restlessness and unhelpful habits are deeply rooted within you, consider getting a consultation from Mind Motivation Coaching using Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT).
RTT puts together practices from Neurolinguistic Programming, Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and Hypnotherapy to deliver fast and amazing results. Through hypnosis, RTT can gain access to the mind’s subconscious to discover and change or reprogram certain beliefs acquired through the years that are stopping one’s growth and peace of mind.
RTT can be applied in different aspects of one's life like self-confidence, healing from past traumas and abuse, quitting addictions, putting a stop to unhealthy habits, and counter the effects of stress, insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
In the face of difficult trials, challenges, and stressors in our daily lives, rest and sleep seem more like a luxury than an essential human need. But we know that is not true which is why we continue to look for ways to improve ourselves and our current state of living.
Our minds are incredible and are capable of doing amazing things. As we make conscious efforts in achieving a certain goal along with a little bit of help from others, we can sleep every night and wake up every morning with healthy bodies, grateful hearts, and a smile!
Are you ready to start your journey towards more freedom, abundance, happiness, and success?
Create your dream life with Mind Motivation Coaching. Work with Myia from anywhere in the world via Zoom and Skype!
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President of The Canfield Training Group