Sleep is crucial for optimal health. The benefits of a restful and deep night’s sleep are numerous. With time and research, we’ve seen the myriad of negative effects that sleep deprivation can have on the body, and conversely, the positive effects that consistent, quality sleep has on weight control, mood balancing, immune system functioning, and overall health.
Health Benefits of Quality Sleep:
- Improves immune system
- Increases alertness
- Improves emotional well-being
- Supports detoxification process
- Controls weight and improves muscle building
- Improves concentration
- Regulates hormone production
- Induces mental clarity
- Reduces anxiety and depression
- Curbs food cravings such as carbohydrates
- Enhances beauty of skin
Research has shown that there are four to five stages of sleep. It’s during the latter stages that we fall into a deep sleep, where the calming delta waves are most active, and all activity has stopped in the brain and eyes. It’s difficult to wake someone from that stage of sleep, and at that beautiful time, the body begins the process of restoration, healing, and rejuvenation. It’s the time when hormones are balanced, the liver and immune system is repaired, bones, tissues, and muscles are built and rebuilt, and a host of other repairing activities take place. In other words, a deep internal cleansing takes place.
If you’ve experienced sleepless nights, then you are extremely aware of the fact that the morning after is certainly not a pleasant experience. Feeling groggy, moody, low on energy, and the inability to focus are just a few side effects of sleep deprivation.
Unfortunately, sleep deprivation has become the norm in many households. Busy schedules, stressful deadlines, and poor eating habits contribute to this factor. However, we should not accept this as simply normal. There are many serious consequences to our health, both short and long term. Some serious effects include:
- Emotional Instability
- Mental Confusion
- Negative Thought Patterns
- Stressed out by minor tasks and activities
- Weakened Immune System
- Lack of Memory
- Weight Gain
- Premature Aging
- Increased Severity in Conditions Such As Type Two Diabetes
- Higher Blood Pressure
When your body is deprived of this essential tool, lack of sleep will drive you to depend on unhealthy stimulants to maintain false energy levels, and keep the vicious cycle in motion. Sugar, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and drugs (both pharmaceutical and street drugs) are often used to mask the symptoms of tiredness and fatigue which are alarming you to slow down, breathe, and relax.
Here are a few methods that will assist you in attaining a more restful night:
- Finish your last meal at least 2 – 3 hours before bedtime, and avoid heavy proteins and starchy carbohydrates at this time.
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, chocolate, sugar, alcohol, drugs, emotional excitement, nicotine, or energy drinks at least 4 hours before bed time.
- Take a hot shower or bath 30-60 minutes before lying down.
- Utilize breathing exercises or meditation techniques 20-30 minutes before resting.
- Make sure all the external noises and lights are blocked from your bedroom.
- Leave your troubles and stresses of the day outside of the bedroom.
Some of the most basic things you can control in order to achieve proper rest is to provide your mind and body with a healthy diet, happy relationships, and an enjoyable work atmosphere. Excess stress, negative relationships, and improper nutrition mustn’t be allowed to interfere with good, quality sleep. The detrimental risks are too large. So start incorporating a natural sleep cycle into your day, regarding it as a necessary component to overall health. Don’t become stressed about sleeping, but provide an environment in your home, and in your body and mind, that will naturally allow your body to relax, feel safe, and sleep wonderfully.