Why We Should all be Prioritising Sleep for a Healthy Lifestyle?
We have all had that feeling when we gently awake from a peaceful sleep. We have woken up without the need for an alarm, glance at the time to see we have had a magical 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. We bound out of bed feeling rested, recharged & revived ready to tackle the day ahead.
This may sound like a simple scenario, but for some of us this picture is very far from reality. For many sleep can be a struggle, mornings are full of dread, frustration & a constant feeling of exhaustion.
Why is the Struggle for Good Sleep so Difficult?
Too many of us struggle with our sleep and getting good sleep has become an ever increasing problem across the industrialised world. The World Health Organisation has described the current state of our sleep health as a Sleep Loss Epidemic. The consequences of our collective insomnia affects our overall wellness, happiness, and quality of life we enjoy.
So why have we allowed this to happen? Why has it become a societal norm to have poor quality sleep? Why, as individuals, do we not prioritise this foundational element of our health & wellness?
Why Have We Forgotten to Sleep?
For a long time, sleep science and research haven’t given us answers to the purpose of sleep. Our modern society, and our “always on” culture have therefore not prioritised sleep. We lead lifestyles which pose ever growing demands on our time, we focus our energies on our career aspirations, educational advancement, social lives, often at the expense of the sleep we require.
Many of us tend to have a low awareness of the importance of sleep, and the factors influencing sleep, it can be difficult to know where to begin to solve our insomnia. We are all unique and individuals, but much of the sleep advice or solutions available are marketed as ‘one size fits all super products’, which may not help solve your specific problem. All leading to a mistrust, uncertainty of who to listen to, and paralysis in solving our problems.
At SL:PT, we understand that sleep is a fundamental component of our overall health & wellness. We are here to help you learn the importance of sleep, understand what impacts your sleep, and we are committed to helping you get better, more restful sleep more often. Take our free sleep assessment to rate your sleep health, and receive a personalised report with tips & advice to help you improve your sleep.
The first step in this journey of improving your sleep is understanding why sleep is so essential to your health and why we should all be prioritising it.
The Many Benefits of Sleep
Prioritising your sleep and adjusting your sleep habits leads to many positive health outcomes. Sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset and refresh our brain each day.
‘There does not seem to be one major organ within the body, or process within the brain, that isn’t optimally enhanced by sleep.’
Some of the many health benefits to a good night’s sleep include:
Sleep Improves our Mental Wellbeing and Brain Function
We have all felt that heavy brain fog weighing us down after a poor night of sleep. According to Anna Noia, A Senior Clinical Psychologist in Neurophysiology and Sleep from the Bupa Cromwell Hospital, sleep can help with a wide range of brain functions such as creating long term memories, our ability to learn, improving concentration, and reduction of stress.
Sleep Improves Our Immune System
When you sleep, your entire body gets to repair and relax from the stresses of everyday life. This is true for your immune system too. Your immune system is busy at work fighting off foreign pathogens and keeping you healthy. Getting proper rest allows your immune system time to reset and repair. The creation of more immune cells and improved recognition of previous pathogens all occurs when we sleep. Fighting insomnia will help you fight off all sorts of illnesses!
Sleep Improves our Cardiovascular Health
Your cardiovascular system is continually working to keep blood and oxygen flowing around your body. When we are continuously overtired, our sympathetic nervous system is triggered and overworked. This basically keeps our bodies in our ‘fight or flight’ mode, which increases our heart rate, blood pressure, and overall perceived stress. Long term poor sleep keeps the sympathetic nervous system activated and increases your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and coronary artery disease.
Sleep Helps to Maintain A Healthy Body Weight
How could sleep help me with my weight? Dreaming of going to the gym doesn’t burn the same number of calories, right? But getting proper sleep is essential to balancing our hormones which regulate our appetite and hunger. When we are well-rested, the drive to overeat is reduced. If you suffer from insomnia, your hormones trigger the hunger hormones in search of energy. Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule is a critical component of health and managing your weight.
Sleep Facilitates Muscle Repair
Getting the correct amount of quality sleep can lead to gains in the gym. No, we aren’t kidding! During sleep, our muscles can genuinely relax, repair, and release tension – this aids in muscle growth, reducing muscle soreness and overall tightness. During deep sleep, our bodies release growth hormones, which stimulates muscle growth. This rest time for growth and repair is vital for improving your athletic performance.
Sleep Increase Our Fertility
Modern research has proven that there is a link between sleep and our reproductive systems. Research shows that impaired sleep patterns have a negative impact on female menstruation and ovulation patterns and can impact sperm production & health in men. During our sleep, many different hormones are released and regulated. Achieving restful sleep more often will have a positive impact on your ability to conceive.