Quality and Quantity Sleep

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Quality and Quantity Sleep


Sleep is an amazing ‘nourishment ‘ for the body and mind. Quality sleep is essential for a balanced and healthy life. During sleep, the body rests, cleanses and purifies itself. This explains why lack of sleep increases the risk of poor health … making one more prone to stress. Whether you’re constantly on the go, worried about work, worried about unfulfilled plans or simply agitated by the news, chances are that the less you sleep, the more stressed you are.  Sleep deprivation is a stress factor in itself.

Contrary to what most people believe, sleep is not unproductive downtime. It is vital for keeping our bodies in a good state of repair and helping our brains to process and assimilate our daytime activities. Research shows that sleep deprivation could weaken your immune system, cause your blood to clot abnormally, double your chances of being obese and increase the inflammatory marker called CRP, a strong predictor of heart disease.

If you enjoy an undisturbed sleep pattern, once you have drifted off, you enter a period of light sleep which deepens as you disengage from your surroundings. Your body temperature starts to drop a little and your brain waves begin to slow down. After about 30 minutes you then enter a period of deep sleep. At this point your heart rate slows, your blood pressure drops and your breathing becomes slower.  This is the most restorative stage of sleep. It is at this deep sleep stage that tissue repair and regeneration takes place.

After about 90mins you shift to a period of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. This is the stage where most dreaming occurs and it is believed to be particularly important for psychological health and well-being.  Good quality sleep involves moving back and forth between deep sleep, lighter sleep and REM. The amount of sleep that correlates with the longest lifespan is between 7-9hrs each night.  Though 7 hours a night is linked to the lowest death rate in humans, the quality of sleep is just as important as the quantity.

The following are a few tips that will improve your sleep QUANTITY AND QUALITY:

  1. MAINTAIN A REGULAR BEDTIME SCHEDULE EVERY NIGHT: With consistency, the mind and body will regulate itself to shut-down around the same time every night. Plan on going to sleep around10 p.m. daily.
  2. DO SIMPLE RELAXATION EXERCISES: Try a relaxation strategy such as progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, praying and positive meditation before sleeping. It helps calm the body and rids the mind of anxiety.
  3. MIND YOUR GUT: Avoid eating 2-3 hours before bedtime. Also, avoid taking sugar, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine, especially late in the day. Although some people think alcohol helps with sleep, it actually disrupts sleep and leads to more nighttime awakenings.
  4. FOLLOW A GOOD SLEEP HYGIENE ROUTINE: Ensure that your bedroom is quiet, dark and comfortable. Turn off mobile phones and Wi-Fi connections in your room. Keep electronics out of your bed.
  5. USE NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS: Nutrients play a key role in producing hormones that aid sleep. The main sleep hormone is melatonin. Natural sources of melatonin include oats, bananas, peanuts, walnuts, chamomile and sage. You can buy melatonin supplements or amino acid 5-HTP to aid your sleep.

We really should spend just under a third of our lives enjoying good quality sleep! This is optimum for our whole wellness.

Don’t forget – The body keeps the score!!

Best Regards
All of Us at BTH Wellness and Therapy

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