We tend to think of sleep as a time when the mind and body shut down where in reality, sleep is an active period in which a lot of important processing, restoration, and strengthening occurs. There is a symbiotic relationship between sleep and your goals.
Benefits of Sleeping?
- Heart and Cardiovascular Health lack of sleep has been associated with worsening of blood pressure and cholesterol, which are risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
- Reduction in Stress there is an amplification in reactivity of the amygdala - a key spot in triggering rage and anger - in those who are sleep-deprived
- Reduction in inflammation mediators of inflammation are altered by sleep loss and are elevated in these scenarios. Reducing inflammation can expedite the recovery process when dealing with any injuries.
- Improved Alertness a good night’s sleep will provide you with more energy and a higher level of alertness the next day. When waking up feeling refreshed, it’s easier to go out and attack your day.
Detriments of sleep deprivation?
- Memory Loss sleep plays a role in memory consolidation. Deep sleep, in particular, is important for your brain to make memories and connections.
- Compromised Immune System sleep has an important effect on our immune system and sleep deprivation can make you more susceptible to various maladies.
- Weight Gain a lack of sleep affects your body’s release of insulin, a blood sugar-lowering hormone, and increases the risk for type 2 diabetes.
- Injury Risk lack of sleep can affect your proprioception and neuromuscular control, making you more prone to injuries.
Tips for improving sleep:
- Go to bed and wake up at a similar time each day, especially with our current circumstances it is important to create consistency and routine.
- Keep your bedroom temperature on the cooler side; about 65F is optimal for your body to prepare for sleep (wear socks if your feet are cold).
- An hour before bedtime, dim the lights and turn off all screens. Blackout curtains can be helpful as well.
- Avoid caffeine after 1p in the day and never go to bed tipsy. Alcohol is a sedative and sedation is not sleep.
- If you can’t sleep, get out of bed and do something quiet and relaxing until the urge to sleep returns. Try some breathing practices or meditation.