The Importance Of Getting Your Winks

The Importance Of Getting Your Winks

Who remembers, when you were a young  child, your parents telling you just before bedtime, “sleep tight and have a good sleeps?"  Now as a 53-year-old man and having my own individual struggles to ensure proper sleep, those words certainly resonate with me and were words of wisdom. 

Sleep is paramount and necessary for optimal mental and physical health.  When we achieve a deep, restful sleep, this facilitates restoration, recovery, and growth physically, neurologically, and hormonally.  When we don’t achieve consistent patterns of proper, restful sleep we will soon develop but mental and physical decline.  For example, think of those times when you didn’t get a proper nights sleep and how you felt upon awakening.  You feel lethargic, fuzzy headed, moody, low concentration and sometimes shaky as well.  In fact, 70% of people struggle to get a good night’s sleep at least once weekly. They can’t fall asleep or they can’t stay asleep(they awaken in the middle of the night or way too early in the morning and spend too long fighting hard trying to get back to sleep).  

Often only one night of sleep deprivation can result in a cascade of negative bodily effects.  I know for myself, I experienced a very bad bout of insomnia 6 years ago.  At the time, I had a very stressful job plus I experienced a debilitating back injury suffering a herniated and bulged disc in my lower back.  The stressful demands of my job plus the intense pain in my back, coupled with neurological pain caused destructive sleep patterns and chronic insomnia.  My brain couldn’t shut off at night, thinking of the pain, work deadlines and demands.  When I think of myself at that time, I would describe my brain, as if it were on the “hamster wheel” and couldn't get off. I wasn't practicing the proper strategies to stop the wheel from turning.  I thank the good Lord for that time in my life, as from that stressful experience,  I can impart wisdom to others to deploy proper stress management and sleep hygiene strategies.

 Let’s look at what happens both mentally and physically when you do not sleep well.

  • Reduced brain function-headaches, irritability
  • Higher anxiety levels-reduces stress response
  • Weight gain-sleep balances hormones that make you feel hungry or full. Elevates hunger hormone ghrelin.
  • Low Immunity-weakens body immune response.
  • Unbalanced microbiota-effects balance of good vs bad bacteria.
  • Increased heart disease risk-blood pressure lowers during sleep. Increase stress raises BP.
  • Increase diabetes risk-lack of sleep raises cortisol which causes insulin resistance.
  • Poor coordination-reduces balance and increase risk of accidents.

  As you can see this list is exhaustive just as lack of sleep is exhausting!!!

 Stay tuned for another blog post where I help you with strategies to better sleep.

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