Do you underestimate the power of sleep and prioritise everything but this essential part of our daily routine? Read below and find out why sleep is your superpower for achieving optimum health!
Professor Matt Walker, a specialist in Neuroscience presented at a TED talk to explain why we sleep, and why this is crucial for health. He describes sleep as our ‘ life-support system and Mother Nature’s best effort yet at immortality’.
Sleep is crucial for our body, specifically for the cardiovascular system. It allows humans to measure the daylight time transitions; even 1 hour of sleep deprivation can have a huge impact on the physiology of our body. Lack of sleep can impact the immune system as well; sleep deprivation decreases the production of antibiotics required to fight infections, and studies have found that the lack of sleep can lower white blood cell count which means you may be more susceptible to illnesses when you are sleep deprived. A study found that minor sleep disturbances cause a significant drop in the number of natural killer cells whose job is to destroy invaders.
We need sleep for our brain in order to retain new memories. Scientists have proved this in various studies where they compared a group of sleep-deprived students to a group that got 8 hours of sleep before taking a test. Findings showed that the sleep-deprived group had a 40% drop in their ability to make memories. Sleep deprivation shuts down your brain’s ability to perform and store new memories; a decline in memory can indicate risks of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Not sleeping enough can also impact our reproductive system; men who sleep between 4-5 hours a night have a level of testosterone which is that of someone 10 years their senior. Similarly, female reproductive health has similar consequences caused by the lack of sleep.
The behaviour you have before you sleep affects the quality and duration of sleep. A healthy sleeping routine involves maintaining a regular bedtime, having your bedroom at the right temperature and not exposing yourself to technology at least an hour before your bedtime.
Here are some tips that you can take to get to sleep quicker and better:
- Sleep at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning
- Switch off your phone
- Avoid screens in the hour before you go to bed
- Keep to a bedtime routine
- Keep the hour before bed the same every night
- Avoid heavy foods and drinks
- Try not to drink caffeine after 4 pm, or alcohol at night
- Do not eat heavy meals in the 2 hours before bedtime
- Try not to nap more than 20 minutes in a day
So you can see to achieve a good night’s sleep is not difficult with the right guidance and expert attention to detail, to get you from having low energy throughout the day to feeling alive and having a rested night’s sleep that you deserve.
“Sleep is not an optional luxury, it is a non-negotiable biological necessity. Treat it that way.”
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