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Relaxation, Rest, Recuperation

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Sleep, we all love it, especially when you wake up from a great night’s sleep. Sleep and rest (along with water) are key secrets to looking younger.

So why is this? What takes place during sleep?

It may seem obvious that sleep is beneficial. Even without fully grasping what sleep does for us, we know that going without sleep for too long makes us feel terrible, and that getting a good night’s sleep can make us feel ready to take on the world.

Scientists have gone to great lengths to fully understand sleep’s benefits. In studies of humans and other animals, they have discovered that sleep plays a critical role in immune function, metabolism, memory, learning, and other vital functions. Let’s explore these discoveries and the specific ways in which we all benefit from sleep. 

Why Do We Sleep, Anyway?
Although scientists aren’t entirely sure why we sleep, they have many ideas about the functions of this mysterious part of our lives. While some of these functions may have deep evolutionary roots, others, such as sleep’s potential role in memory and health, seem particularly relevant to life in the 21st century

In the past, sleep was often ignored by doctors and surrounded by myths, but now we are beginning to understand the importance of sleep to overall health and well-being. In fact, when people get less than 6 or 7 hours of sleep each night, their risk for developing diseases begins to increase. Sleep is when virtually all of the cells of your body are repaired or replaced.

During sleep:

  • A growth hormone is secreted that allows children to grow, regulates muscle mass and controls fat.
  • A hormone called leptin is produced which regulates your appetite.  Thus if you lack sleep you tend to have a runaway appetite.
  • Your immune system is greatly strengthened.  Sleep increases natural Killer Cell activity, which is an immune cell that kills viruses, bacteria and cancer cells.
Sleep happens in cycles.  There are 5-6 cycles a night and each cycle has 5 stages.  It’s important to get full sleep because each subsequent cycle becomes more and more restful and restorative because more time is spent on the latter stages.  A good way of knowing whether you have had enough sleep is not needing an alarm clock to wake up.

Sleep, we all love it, especially when you wake up from a great night’s sleep. In the past, sleep was often ignored by doctors and surrounded by myths, but now we are beginning to understand the importance of sleep to overall health and well-being. In fact, when people get less than 6 or 7 hours of sleep each night, their risk for developing diseases begins to increase.

For how long and when should you sleep?
• 7-9 hours.
• The optimal time to sleep is 9.  If you have a serious illness try to sleep by then.  I know that 9 is too early for most people in the modern world, so shoot for before 11:00.  According to Ayurvedic Medicine, one hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours of sleep after.

Sleep is one of the most important process through which the human body passes and it is essential when it comes to the continuation of the health. It is a cycle of restoration which provides the body with regeneration and proper rest, which are of utmost importance when it comes to appropriate functioning of the body. Sleep provides the body with various different sorts of psychological and physical benefits. Lack of rest and restoration normally provided by proper sleep may lead to numerous different types of medical conditions and complications.

Psychological Benefits
Sleep is very important for a vast array of psychological functions which are normal, integrated in the human body. If a person has enough rest he or she will be able to stay much more focused and think more clearly. Some people claim that they are able to remember things much more effectively when they get enough sleep. Sleep is also very efficient and helpful when it comes to preventing depression and various other similar types of mental illnesses and problems. Those who get enough rest tend to be more energetic, both in the mind and the body. Sleep also reduces the chances of stress burdens and boosts the levels of one’s confidence.

Physical Benefits
Sleep also provides the human body with numerous different physical benefits. The most important benefit associated with proper amounts of sleep is repair. The sleep provides the body with proper rest, and proper rest makes it possible for the body to repair itself.

Everyday life exposes the human body to a large number of damaging elements such as natural wear and tear which affects the muscles and various systems in the body. Other harmful factors may include germs, environmental pollutants and rays from the sun.

Those who get enough sleep are known to be much more energetic and strong during the day. Sleeping is of utmost importance if a person wants to stay as healthy as possible.

Top 11 Benefits of a Good Nights Sleep!

  1. Sleep Keeps Your Heart Healthy: Proper rest is very important for the maintenance of the health of the heart. By resting properly, a person reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Lack of sleep is also often associated with high blood pressure. Heart attacks and strokes are more common during the early morning hours, and this fact may be explained by the way sleep interacts with the blood vessels. Lack of sleep has been associated with worsening of blood pressure and cholesterol, all risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Your heart will be healthier if you get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night.
  2. Sleep May Prevent Cancer: People working the late shift have a higher risk for breast and colon cancer. Researchers believe this link is caused by differing levels of melatonin in people who are exposed to light at night. Light exposure reduces the level of melatonin, a hormone that both makes us sleepy and is thought to protect against cancer. Melatonin appears to suppress the growth of tumors. Be sure that your bedroom is dark to help your body produce the melatonin it needs.
  3. Sleep Reduces Stress: When your body is sleep deficient, it goes into a state of stress. The body’s functions are put on high alert which causes an increase in blood pressure and a production of stress hormones. Higher blood pressure increases your risk for heart attacks and strokes. The stress hormones also, unfortunately, make it harder for you to sleep.
  4. Sleep Reduces Inflammation: Proper amounts of sleep may reduce the inflammatory conditions which are often associated with certain types of diseases and medical conditions. The natural repair process and the reduction of the inflammatory conditions are the reasons why that is so. The increase in stress hormones raises the level of inflammation in your body, also creating more risk for heart-related conditions, as well as cancer and diabetes. Inflammation is thought to one of the causes of the deterioration of your body as you age.
  5. Sleep Makes You More Alert: Of course, a good night’s sleep makes you feel energized and alert the next day. Being engaged and active not only feels great, it increases your chances for another good night’s sleep. When you wake up feeling refreshed, use that energy to get out into the daylight, do active things, and be engaged in your world. You’ll sleep better the next night and increase your daily energy level.
  6. Sleep Bolsters Your Memory: Researchers do not fully understand why we sleep and dream, but a process called memory consolidation occurs during sleep. While your body may be resting, your brain is busy processing your day, making connections between events, sensory input, feelings and memories. Your dreams and deep sleep are an important time for your brain to make memories and links. Getting more quality sleep will help you remember and process things better.
  7. Sleep Increases Learning: It may not be surprising that it is more difficult to take in new information following a night of inadequate or disturbed sleep. What’s more surprising is that it is just as important to get a good night’s sleep after learning something new in order to process and retain the information that has been learned.
  8. Sleep May Help You Lose Weight: Researchers have also found that people who sleep less than seven hours per night are more likely to be overweight or obese. It is thought that the lack of sleep impacts the balance of hormones in the body that affect appetite. The hormones ghrelin and leptin, important for the regulation of appetite, have been found to be disrupted by lack of sleep. So if you are interested in controlling or losing weight, don’t forget to pay attention to getting a good night’s sleep.
  9. Naps Make You Smarter: Napping during the day is not only an effective and refreshing alternative to caffeine, it can also protect your health and make you more productive. A study of 24,000 Greek adults showed that people who napped several times a week had a lower risk for dying from heart disease. People who nap at work have much lower levels of stress. Napping also improves memory, cognitive function and mood.
  10. Sleep May Reduce Your Risk for Depression: Sleep impacts many of the chemicals in your body, including serotonin. People with a deficiency in serotonin are more likely to suffer from depression. You can help to prevent depression by making sure you are getting the right amount of sleep, between 7 and 9 hours each night.
  11. Sleep Helps the Body Make Repairs: Sleep is a time for your body to repair damage caused by stress, ultraviolet rays and other harmful exposures. Your cells produce more protein while you are sleeping. These protein molecules form the building blocks for cells, allowing them to repair damage.

How should you prepare yourself for optimal sleep?

  • Avoid sugars at night. Sugars promote the release of insulin which inhibits a major sleep hormone that repairs your body. Sugar also spikes up and then shoots down making you wake up in the middle of the night.
  • Exercise. Daily exercise allows your sleep to be more restorative; sleep longer and faster.
  • Dim down the lights 30 minutes before sleeping. This includes computer use since EMF exposure can interrupt the quality of sleep. Light inhibits a sleep hormone to be secreted. Make sure your room is completely dark before going to sleep.
  • Give at least fours between the time you eat dinner and the time you go to sleep. This is because your digestive system shuts down during sleep.
  • Remove everything you do not love or do not want in your bedroom.
  • Open the window to allow for fresh air.
  • Pillows are almost always treated with toxins. Buckwheat (organic) pillows are a great alternative because they are toxin free and very comfortable because the buckwheat hulls conform to your neck and head.
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2 thoughts to “Relaxation, Rest, Recuperation”

  1. Great article, Linda. I know I get cranky when I don’t get enough sleep but didn’t realise the benefits of sleep – thought it was just “something” to do when one gets tired. I still have such a lot to learn about the working of my body.

  2. Very informative Linda – thank you! Some real Gems in there! Especially the sleeping benefits and how long and when to sleep. As I am a night owl and like the occasional sugar – this was a wake up call for me.

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