Why is sleep so important to our health and wellbeing, we all know that if we are tired, we can be moody, lack energy, and generally feel unwell, but what is really happening to our bodies:
According to the Harvard Women’s Health Watch, sleep aids learning, memory, metabolism, weight, mood, cardiovascular health as well as a healthy immune system.
Everyone has their own body clock ( Circadian Rhythm ) a 24 hour cycle that determines when we get sleepy and when we wake. In an ideal world we would wake with the sun and sleep when it got dark.
When we begin to feel sleepy, we fall into very tiny sleeps (nod off for 5-10 seconds) these spells can happen whilst reading or watching television, but can also happen behind the wheel of a car, which is obviously dangerous for those driving as well as other road users. It is thought we need 8 hours sleep a night but most people find they don’t need that amount and can manage quite happily on less.
Studies have shown that sleep disorders can affect the brain and nervous system, cardiovascular system, metabolic functions and immune system. Some of those at risk of sleep deprivation include night shift workers, lorry drivers, parents and teenagers.
Stress suffered due to school, work, personal pressures at home etc can also hamper sleep patterns
There are two kinds of sleep: REM (rapid eye movement sleep when we dream) and non-REM sleep, also called slow wave sleep (SWS). It is during the slow wave sleep that healing takes place, allowing our body to rejuvinate and restore itself, this is also why we tend to sleep more when we are sick to enable the body to heal
Drinking alcohol or tea, coffee, high caffeine drinks before bedtime. Temperature of the bedroom, partners that snore, bright lights, pain or discomfort, even some medications can have side effects that can cause sleep disorders.
The nutrients you give your body can directly affect the amount and quality of sleep you get. Want to learn more about how nutrition affects our overall health sign up to our newsletter for dates of events.
There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep. Homer @ 800BC
Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. Thomas Dekker 1572 – 1632
Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. Benjamin Franklin 1760 – 1790