What Does Lack Of Sleep Do To Your Body?
Sleep is such a fundamental part of human life.
Deprived of it, our ability to function quickly deteriorates, and eventually crumbles.
All too often we take sleeping for granted, but it’s as critical to our survival as food and water.
Good sleep – plenty of high-quality rest in plentiful amounts – does much more than help us to survive.
Healthy sleep allows us to truly thrive!
What Are Some Of The Benefits Of Good Sleep?
- restores the mind and body
- physically rejuvenates us.
- supports mental and emotional recharge.
- gives us energy, strength & stamina.
- protects against disease and medical conditions.
- Boosts the immune system and metabolism.
- Protects the heart, supporting bone and muscle health.
- enhances productivity and performance, fuelling intellectual and creative abilities.
There’s virtually no skill, task, or function, no physiological process, no emotion or relationship, that isn’t affected by sleep.
The more we pay attention to sleep, the healthier, happier and more productive we’ll be.
But What Can You Do If You’re Tossing & Turning At Night And Just Can’t Sleep?
Here are The Sleep Doctor, Dr Michael Breus’s “Top Tips” on how to sleep better:
5 Steps For Better Rest – Dr Michael Breus
So to recap:
STEP 1: Know Your Bedtime & Stick To One Sleep Schedule
- Most important – stick to one sleep schedule every day.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
- When sleep has a regular rhythm, your biological clock will be in sync.
- All your other bodily functions will go smoother, including your sleep.
STEP 2: Eliminate All Caffeine Starting At 2pm
- This is a tough one!
- Caffeine has what’s called a “half-life” of about 8 hours, which means that it’s level is reduced, but still in your system after this time.
- Caffeine is a stimulant and will prevent you from either falling asleep or having good quality sleep.
STEP 3: No Alcohol Within 3 Hours Of Bedtime
- Alcohol can make you sleepy, which can seem to be good at the time – But ……
- Alcohol keeps you from reaching the deep stages of sleep.
- Having a few drinks before bedtime will increase your NREM sleep (stages 1 & 2)
- But it reduces your REM sleep – The sleep that helps you organise & store your memories.
- Too little REM sleep can be devastating for the brain & body.
- Also REM sleep is the sleep stage where the most calories are burned!
- It’s full of empty calories – not good when you’re trying to sleep better or lose weight.
- It dehydrates you.
- It wakes you up in the middle of the night (usually to go to the bathroom!)
STEP 4: Stop Exercising 4 Hours Before Bed
- Yes, exercise is good for you – It keeps muscles & bones strong & maintains good cardiovascular health.
- Yes, it’s a wonderful sleep remedy.
- Exercise during the day will help you fall asleep more quickly & plunge you into deeper sleep for a longer period of time.
- It causes your body to produce growth hormones, which help to repair & revitalise itself.
- Exercising helps you to sleep better & feel more alert & rejuvenated the following day.
- Just make sure you stop exercising 4 hours before bed.
STEP 5 : 15 Minutes Of Morning Sunlight
- Give the sun a “High 5” every morning!
- Getting yourself outside in the sun for 15 minutes each morning helps to regulate the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
- Your internal body clock (the circadian rhythm) runs on a 24 hour schedule & functions best when you’re exposed to a regular pattern of light & dark.
- Try not to let the demands of everyday life dictate your times for sleeping and rising – This will have a profound effect on your sleep and your health.
- Be more like our “cave-dwelling ancestors who rose with the sun and retired with the moon!
Here’s A Bonus Sleep Tip – Fall Asleep Faster With 4-7-8 Breathing
To prepare for a restful night – practice 4-7-8 breathing. Or if you wake up during the night and you’re struggling to get back to sleep, try it.
Unlike sleep medications, which often lose effectiveness over time, this technique is subtle at first, but gains power with practice.
It’s like a natural tranquilizer – Try it – it works!
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