Invest In Rest

Why it’s time to invest in rest

Featuring my cat, MeeMo...

How many hours of restful sleep are you getting a night?

Generally if you hate the alarm clock every morning, you’re probably not getting enough deep, rejuvenating sleep. The average length of sleep for adults is 7.5 to 9 hours, but that is just an average – you may need more or less depending on your day-to-day activities, life stage and age.

Why is sleep so important?

While you’re asleep your body rests, but your brain is actually still hard at work processing information, filing away learned experiences and emotions from the day and improving memory.

A restful sleep can also enhance your day-to-day creativity and better allow you to source novel solutions for complex problems.

Sleep also makes us happy. And not in a smug “I’m a morning person!!” way, but the dream state literally helps the brain subconsciously process what is happening in our lives. Ever experienced reoccurring dreams in times of stress or happiness?

I know for sure that when I’m dreaming of clever ways to escape zombies, things need to change ASAP. Maybe that’s just me thoughJ

In addition to the vital mental functions sleep produces, the physical body equally benefits from a good night’s rest.

While the body is in a restful sleep state the heart can easily pump blood and nutrients to muscles in need of repair. The same process happens for the skin, nails and hair. Plus while you’re sleeping your pituitary gland releases a nice dose of human growth hormone throughout the body which is key in stabilizing hormones and allowing the body to recover and maintain a daily physical exercise, regulate weight and even stave off depression.

What happens to our bodies when we’re living in “sleep debt”?

I love the saying, "sleep debt" – it so accurately captures the problem we face with lack of sleep. Mostly because when we’re in a lack of sleep we try so hard to catch up and make up for the loss of cognitive and physical functioning through stimulants such as coffee, drugs and then bring ourselves back down with potentially more drugs and alcohol.

 

If you’re not investing in your rest you could be affected in the following ways:

Poor memory

Poor judgment

Increased impulsiveness

Weight gain (you’re 50% more likely to be obese if you’re sleep deprived)

Your body releases Ghrelin “the hunger hormone” leading cravings for carbs and sugar

Increased levels of stress

Suppressed immunity

Raised glucose and therefore insulin, which can affect more than just your waistline – insulin levels can affect how food is processed and distributed throughout the body

Raised blood pressure

Even an increased risk of cancer

 

It’s actually pretty shocking how much these preventable diseases can be reduced with proper sleep and rest!

Sleep is not a luxury only allowed to the elite, it’s an essential part of every day life. And I would say, it’s as important as drinking water and eating healthy. Without sleep your body will never be able to thrive.

 

How do we get a good night’s sleep?

Start with the bedroom. Your room should be dark and little cool. Try to keep clutter out of the bedroom and make it a sacred space just for sleeping and sex.

Do not bring electronics in the room. I leave my phone in the bathroom and can hear the alarm from outside the bedroom. You can also purchase in a simple alarm clock if you prefer to have it on the bed-side table.

Limit light exposure 30 minutes before bed. No phones, no laptops no TV. It’s important to let your eyes rest and adapt to the lower light.

In the morning when you wake, seek out morning light. The body will naturally wake itself up.

Rest and sleep are vital for daily cognitive and physical recovery. Adequate levels of sleep ultimately enhance mental health, hormone balance and muscular recovery and regeneration. Find out how much sleep is right for you. The average is 7.5 – 9 hours a night for adults; however, if you’re in a major life transition, training hard, awaiting the arrival of a new baby, stressed about a new job, or feeling sick you may need more than you think. Just take it night-by-night and aim to rest and rise with the sun.

Wishing you the sweetest dreams!

Summer