Land of Nod
Fascinating facts about our favourite subject: Sleep
Everybody can appreciate a good sleep: imagine lying in a cosy, comfy bed, dozing off to lala land. It’s relaxing, calming, soothing and just plain wonderful. Here at Rise & Fall, we live and we love sleep. So much so, that we have been told that we sometimes come across rather obsessive and intense when preaching about the benefits of sleep (and the risks involved with lack of sleep), but we don’t really mind. We think it’s the most amazing concept. Something so healing and restorative, and available to everyone. And it’s much more than that. Did you know;
Sleep can keep your heart healthy
Lack of sleep has been associated with increased blood pressure and cholesterol, both of which are risk factors for heart disease. Getting between 7-9 hours of sleep every night will improve your heart’s health, and help regulate blood pressure and cholesterol.
Sleep will strengthen your immune system
Melatonin, the hormone we produce to regulate our sleep cycles, is an important part of our immune system as it has been shown to have the ability to suppress the growth of tumours. By having a regular sleep-wake cycle, and having a dark bedroom, you are able to create the ideal setting for your body to produce the melatonin it needs.
Sleep reduces stress
When we are tired, our bodies go into a state of stress; all functions are put on high alert, which can cause high blood pressure and the production of stress hormones. High blood pressure increases your risk for heart attack and stroke, and the stress hormones make it harder to fall asleep, so lack of sleep becomes an evil circle. There will inevitably be stages in everyone’s life when an adequate amount of sleep is difficult to achieve, so make sure to get techniques and practices in place to help you relax and quickly fall asleep when the opportunities arise.
Sleep reduces inflammation
Another drawback of the overproduction of stress hormones caused by lack of sleep is that it raises the level of inflammation in your body. Inflammation is the root of many evils; from serious disease to general deterioration of the body and premature ageing.
Sleep makes you more alert
After a good night's sleep you will wake up feeling alert and energised. Having a productive and active day will not only give you a sense of wellbeing, but also increase your chances for another good night's sleep. Now we are talking – a very positive cycle!
Sleep can help you lose weight
Although just sleeping isn’t going to make you shed pounds, be aware that not sleeping may inhibit weight loss, and actually make you gain weight. This is because the production of leptin and ghrelin, the hormones that help you regulate your appetite,is disrupted by lack of sleep. Achieving and maintaining your ideal weight should always be done by eating healthy, nutrient rich food, a suitable level and amount of exercise, and a good night’s sleep.
Sleep can reduce the risk of depression
We have already talked a bit about hormone levels, and how the body relies on sleep to create the right environment to create melatonin, ghrelin and leptin. The same applies to the creation of chemicals and compounds we need to remain healthy like serotonin; a compound present in blood platelets and serum. People with serotonin deficiencies are more likely to suffer from depression. You can help to prevent serotonin-imbalances by getting the right amount of sleep: usually between 7 and 9 hours every night.
Sleep helps the body repair itself
Whilst we most often associate sleep with relaxation and rest, it is in fact the time when some parts of our bodies work the hardest. When we are in deep sleep, our cells spring into action and intensify the production of protein. And why is this important? Because protein molecules form the base for healthy cells that can repair damage caused during the waking hours; stress, the impact of pollution, UV rays, and other environmental factors.
Have we convinced you yet about the benefits of a good night’s sleep? Do you understand why we are so passionate about it? Thought so – it’s so great on so many levels. But just in case we haven’t been clear, what we are saying is that a good night’s sleep is a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle.
Read more here about achieving a good night’s sleep with Wellness Coach Katie’s tips on how to sleep well here