Why Sleep is Just as Important as Healthy Eating & Exercise
Poor sleep is linked to many health problems such as a weak immune system, weight problems, diabetes and heart problems. But what happens in our sleep that keeps us healthy? A part of it is that our tissues repair and growth hormones are released.
Your body has an internal clock that performs organ maintenance when we are sleep, but if we don’t get it, we break down. In the yogic tradition, they are very in tune with the daily bodily rhythms that sync up with the sun and moon on a daily basis.
It’s very hard to have adequate energy without proper sleep. It’s also much easier to catch a cold or flu if you aren’t protecting your precious sleep. Back in college, when we tried to run on little or no sleep thinking we could control our body, we got sick often.
I found when I made sure I got enough sleep, I stopped getting sick. It’s no wonder that the older we get and the more life experience we have, we realize that sleep helps us be more productive because we think more clearly and have more energy.
Emotionally, sleep is also very important. If our body hasn’t processed our waste, we won’t feel well and this can affect the way we treat ourselves when it comes to food choices, how we think about ourselves and how we think about and speak to others.
Your Diet Isn’t The Only Thing That Can Cause Diabetes and Heart Attacks
A Harvard report found that lack of sleep can cause diseases and scientists are finding that it’s just as important as a healthy diet and exercise. It’s hard to see the effects of this silent killer because it happens slowly over time. We could have a decline in our health and be unable to pinpoint what the cause is.
This same report found people who slept less than six hours per night had a higher rate of obesity and people who slept less than five hours per night had a higher risk of type two diabetes. The blood pressure and heart rate drop significantly during certain stages of our sleep cycle when our body is repairing itself.
Most people don’t realize that they are also at a greater risk for heart attacks if they don’t get enough sleep.
What Happens To The Organs When You Sleep?
While you’re sleeping, your body is repairing itself and this can reduce inflammation greatly. Your body also produces the hormones you need to regulate your metabolism. Many of the hormones produced by stress are removed through our filter organs during our sleep.
In Chinese medicine, there are certain times of day linked to the healing of certain organs. The liver and gallbladder flush our body of toxins during the hours of 11pm-7am to purify our blood and restore our energy. If we aren’t resting during that time, we will be foggy as well as potentially angry and resentful.
Some Natural Sleep Remedies
If you are having trouble sleeping try not looking at lit screens before going to bed. You could read a book to prepare for sleep instead of being on your phone or watching TV. You can also drink tea that induces relaxation such as chamomile, lavender or kava kava.
Refined sugar especially before bed can keep you from sleeping well as can chocolate which contains caffeine. Taking a hot shower so you feel clean can help you sleep and having an essential oil diffuser with calming oils is a great habit to get into as well.
Play calming and soothing music to allow your nervous system to relax and try leaning forward breathing deeply as you sit in bed to calm your nervous system. Finally, make sure you have a comfortable bed so you can actually sleep well. Maybe instead of buying new clothes, get a tempurpedic mattress.
There is a strong link between our emotions and organ health and if you’re waking up in the middle of the night, Chinese medicine can link these to undealt with emotions stored in areas associated with these organs.
Yoga can help you release blocked emotions and reiki is another great healing modality to help release emotions that could be disturbing your sleep. A healthy plant based diet can greatly increase your sleep quality as well as reducing alcohol and increasing water consumption. Try not to eat at least 2 hours before bed too.
If you’re busy, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you don’t need sleep. Your body can work for you if you accept that it needs daily repair. Your brain can help you do great things if you treat yourself well. A Harvard report on sleep deprivation also said lack of sleep can shorten your life.
If you love to socialize, try to do it during the day and allow your body to sync with the circadian rhythms of the planet. We are designed to get tired when the sun goes down and we are also designed to sleep more in the winter. Our energy shifts seasonally and if you want to maximize your energy, eat things that are in season.
This is also a cheaper way of eating healthy because there is usually a surplus of what is in season in the market lowering the prices. Additionally eating what’s in season reduces demand for foods that emit lots of toxic emissions by being shipped around the world to make it onto our plate.
Keep your healthcare costs down and get your 7.5 hours of sleep. Why add extra struggles to your life just by choosing not to sleep? Being superwoman or superman doesn’t mean you don’t need sleep, it means you have more energy because your incredible bio computer is functioning optimally, making you feel like you’re ready to take on the world!