Why We Need Sleep: The Latest Research
Do you remember when was the last time you woke up without an alarm clock feeling refreshed and not needing coffee ? If the answer is no you are not alone. “The recommendation for adults is 8 hours of sleep x night”, says sleep expert Matthew Walker in. his book “Why we sleep”. “It might not surprise you but you may be surprised by the consequences” of not getting enough rest.
The last research about the importance of sleep shows:
That routinely sleeping 6 or 7 hours a night can weaken our immune system, more than double our risk of cancer, disrupts our blood sugar levels to the point of pre-diabetic, increase the likelihood of our coronary arteries becoming blocked and brittle, and raise our risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and congestive heart failure.
Sleep is also essential for our emotional well-being. It helps us to navigate next day social and psychological challenges with composure and allows our brains to process and integrate our experiences, providing a “consoling neurochemical bath” that modifies painful memories and inspires creativity.
During sleep, our bodies boost our immune system, preventing infections and illnesses. In the brain, sleep enhances our ability to learn, memorise and make logical decisions. It also restores our metabolic state by fine-tuning the balance of insulin and circulating glucose.
When we are sleep-deprived, we tend to make poor food choices, impulsive decisions, and consume more calories, setting ourselves up for weight gain and other health problems. Adequate sleep is also tied to the health of the microbiome, which helps to reduce inflammation in the body and the brain.
Sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body every day !
Tips for Better Sleep
If you’re having trouble getting a good night’s sleep, here are some tips to help improve your sleep routine:
- Make your bedroom a relaxation zone: remove any clutter or distractions that might remind you of your to-do list and make it difficult to unwind.
- Keep a regular bedtime: try to go to bed at roughly the same time every night.
- Create a sleep-friendly environment: use thick curtains, earplugs, and an eye mask to block out light and noise. Cool temperatures are also recommended for sleep.
- Journal before bed: use a bedside journal to brain dump your worries and to-do list for the next day. This can help to quiet your mind and let go of any stress before sleep.
- Exercise regularly: aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day, but avoid exercising close to bedtime (at least four hours before you go to sleep).
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evenings: both can disrupt sleep and interfere with your ability to fall and stay asleep.
- Consider using essential oils: certain essential oils, such as Lavender and chamomile, can help to promote relaxation and sleep.
By incorporating these tips into your routine, you can improve your sleep and enjoy the many benefits of a well-rested body and mind.
Want to learn more about aromatherapy for sleep quality?