Most of us live such busy lives nowadays that we regularly go without getting enough sleep, not really grasping the damage that lack of sleep is doing to our physical and emotional wellbeing. The odd night here and there isn’t going to have much of an impact on our health, but when we don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis, our brain and body can’t function properly. We aren’t giving them enough time to rest, repair and cleanse themselves of toxins.
The Effects of Not Getting Enough zzzzs
In the short-term, we might find that we struggle to concentrate, feel more grumpy than usual and are more prone to episodes of ‘brain fog’. In the long-term, a lack of sleep can weaken our immune systems, which means that we become more susceptible to getting ill. It can also affect our memory and in some cases can even lead to high blood pressure. A lack of sleep has also been linked to other health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and depression.
There are 2 types of not getting enough sleep: insomnia and, simply, not enough in-bed hours. The dreaded insomnia is a topic that deserves it’s own post, but not-enough-hours-in-bed is usually a bad habit born of our stressed-out lives and a lack of discipline about when what time we turn in for the night.
What’s so Important About Sleep Anway?
Sleep is the major time for the body to rest, cleanse and heal itself. While we sleep, our bodies re-route energy away from thinking, moving and digesting towards replacing old and damaged cells. Sleep also allows the liver, kidneys and other eliminatory organs to cleanse the blood and detoxify the system, which enables our brains and bodies to function better. These metabolic tasks are essential to our physical health and emotional wellbeing. When we short-change ourselves on sleep, we also short-change ourselves on essential healing time.
The Benefits of Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
When we give our bodies the chance to cleanse, heal and rejuvenate by making sure that we get enough sleep, our skin looks brighter, our memory improves and we feel refreshed and energised. All of this contributes to feeling more like ‘ourselves’, and we get to enjoy mornings where we feel ready to jump out of bed and grab the day with both hands!
Our challenge to you this week is to go to bed earlier.
- TV, computers and other electronic devices are incredibly stimulating to the brain, so turn them off at least 1 hour before you go to bed.
- Give yourself 8 hours of actual asleep time, which probably means getting into bed half an hour before you plan to be asleep.
- Wind down in bed by reading, meditating or listening to soothing music.
- Switch your light off early.
- Sleep well.