Sleep is one of those things that is, unfortunately, often an afterthought. Something we’ll get around to when we have time, a no biggie, a weekend catch-up activity, right? Actually, we couldn’t be more off-base. Sleep is something we all need to jump on board with and make a serious priority – and here’s why:
1. Controls cortisol
Excess cortisol (the stress hormone) is absolutely no one’s friend. Getting a good night’s sleep helps keep cortisol levels under control. Excess cortisol is associated with weight gain, sleep disorders, hormonal dysfunction, slow healing and can impair normal digestive, cognitive and immune function.
2. Helps to keep chronic disease at bay
Over time, sleep deprivation can lead to a weakened immune system and a host of chronic conditions. Type 2 diabetes, cognitive dysfunction, heart disease and high blood pressure are no joke and an increased susceptibility to common colds and flu is just pesky!
3. Rocks your body’s ability to recharge & repair
Your body, like your mind, needs time to recharge. It works hard all day to keep you and all of your life-supporting functions working properly. Sleeps provides the body with an opportunity to detoxify, repair and regenerate damaged cells and tissues. New cells help ensure a healthy immune system, so get on that slumber!
4. Makes you a nicer person!
This one is a no-brainer. Sleepy people are usually grumpy people. Our patience wanes as we enter those states of sleep deprivation, so do yourself and everyone around you a solid and catch adequate ZZZ’s!
5. Prevents awkward coordination
When we’re chronically deprived of precious sleep, our balance, coordination and ability to make decisions are all compromised!
6. Promotes healthy weight
A reduction in sleep, overeating and lack of exercise can be thought of as the weight gain trifecta and a risk factor for obesity. Not getting enough sleep wreaks havoc on our hunger hormones, responsible for letting us know we’ve had enough to eat. In addition, it boosts the amount of insulin released after we eat, promoting the storage of fat in the body.
7. Makes you smarter
When we’re not sleeping enough our brains are exhausted. Creativity, long and short term memory and our ability to properly concentrate and retain newly learned information are all negatively impacted.
8. Keeps your heart happy
Sleep deprivation can play a contributing role in obesity, as we already covered. Being overweight means your heart works harder. We also discussed the role sleep plays in the repair of cells and tissues of the body, the heart and blood vessels are all a part of that repair duty. Lack of sleep increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.
6 Tips for Sweet Slumber
1. Ditch the electronics
Melatonin production (the sleepy hormone) is greatly affected by the television in your bedroom, your cell phone or the tablet you might be reading in attempt to put you to sleep. Flick off electronics at least an hour before bed or use a filter designed to prevent the blue light they omit (which suppresses melatonin secretion) from disturbing sleep. Check that app store for a free blue light filter!
2. Wind down your digestion and cortisol levels
Whenever possible, refrain from eating or exercising for the 3 hours prior to sleeping. Exercise releases the stress hormone cortisol and eating too close to bedtime means your body is busy trying to digest instead of rest.
3. Sip herbal teas
Chamomile, lavender and lemon balm are all rockstars in the sleepy time tea department!
4. Create a sleep oasis
Let your bedroom be one of calm, peace and tranquillity. Clutter, noise and electronics don’t do you any favors when you’re trying to drift off for the night.
5. Mindfully Meditate
Try meditation to induce relaxation and help you slip into slumber. There are some great guided meditation apps available designed to help you relax and fall asleep. Don’t forget to use that blue light filter!
6. Try Aromatherapy
Essential oils like lavender, Roman chamomile, rose and frankincense are all great for sleep.
- Try adding oils to a hot bath.
- Diffuse them into the air in your bedroom.
- Fill a small spray bottle with a few drops of oil (try a combination) and purified water to create a sleep-inducing pillow and bed sheet mist.
Download her free Natural Afternoon Energy Boosting Guide!
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