Sleep and the Importance to your health
Sleep is a necessity, not a luxury. Sleep plays vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. According to the National Institutes of Health (2012), sufficient and quality sleep at the right times can help improve your physical health, mental health and quality of life.
The way you feel while you are awake partly depends on how well and how much you sleep. Whilst you are asleep, your body works to support your physical health and healthy brain function. The negative impacts from sleep deprivation/deficiency can occur instantaneously, or it cause damage over time, for example chronic health issues. Sleep deficiency also affects how well you react, think, learn, work and socialise with others.
The National Sleep Foundation (2002) stated that 67% of Americans experience frequent problems sleeping, 43% say lack of sleep interferes with their daily activities, and between 9-12% of the population are clinically diagnosed with insomnia.
Sleep has a big impact on healthy brain function and emotional well-being. In simple terms, it helps keep your brain working properly. It helps you learn, retain and remember information. It also improves your attention span, decision-making and creativity.
Sleep plays an important role on your physical health. For example, sleep repairs and heals your blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deprivation is linked to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease (National Institute of Health, 2012). Your immune system also relies on sleep.
The recommended sleep duration a night is at least 7-9 hours, according to the Centre of Disease Control.
For more information on the importance of sleep on your health, visit the website:
How to improve your quality of Sleep
- Keep regular hours: go to bed at the same time every night and dismiss the idea of being able to ‘catch up’ on sleep at weekends.
- Sleep in a cool room: you create an environment that will sustain a key stage (REM) during sleep by decreasing body temp & regulating room temp.
- Make the room as dark and as quiet as possible: switching off all lights, including electrical devices with standby lights. Light & noise interference can easily disturb your sleep.
- Take magnesium. This mineral assists cortisol management so therefore assists another key stage of sleep, slow-wave sleep.
- Eat better, especially 2 hours before bed. Foods that are high in carbs may help you relax, become calm and happy by increasing serotonin production, but it may cause you to go into a natural hunger mode during the night from a drop in low blood sugar, so therefore it may wake you up. Foods that are high in essential fats will establish a constant blood glucose level, which won’t necessarily wake you up. So one option is to steer clear from starchy carb meals 2 hours before bed and instead have a meal rich in essential fatty acids. But you must experiment with what approach works best for you.
- Increase fibre intake to assist your liver’s ability to detoxify, especially if you are waking up after 2-4 hours of sleep.
Information from ‘Nick Mitchel – Your ultimate body transformation plan’ book.