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Why is sleep so important to be healthy?

Why you need sleep to be healthy

Getting your beauty sleep

You know how rough you feel when you haven’t had enough sleep. Your attention span wanes and you long for the end of the day where you can get back into bed and get those zeds!

Sleep deprivation and weight gain

Sleep Deprivattion and weight gain

Getting sleep is also essential for repair of your body, keeping your mind healthy and reducing stress. Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on the mind and body and long term can cause you some serious issues. Lack of sleep can be linked to weight gain. Sleep deprivation has been shown to lower the appetite suppressing hormone Leptin, which is produced by fat cells in your body. It is normally produced prolifically at night. In addition to suppressing Leptin, sleep deprivation can increase Ghrelin, which is the hormone secreted by your stomach that stimulates hunger. So, between the two you end up hungrier. On top of that you end up with cravings for foods such as caffeine and sugars to boost your energy. Sadly long term sleep deprivation can also increase your risk of diabetes, as it can cause alterations in your glucose tolerance in your body. On top of that, if you are struggling with weight, lack of sleep can also mess with your Cortisol levels. Cortisol is linked to stress (and sleep deprivation) and belly fat. When the body is working normally Cortisol helps you respond to stress. You want to avoid having high levels or Cortisol at night as it makes you more alert (fight or flight response).

Calming the mind

Sleep deprivation can affect your cognitive skills too. Learning, alertness and memory are all negatively affected if you don’t sleep enough and your immune function is impaired. All round sleep is essential for your overall health.

You really do need your beauty sleep

When you sleep your body repairs itself and your skin is no exception. Collagen is renewed whilst you sleep , keeping your skin plumper and less likely to get wrinkles. Sleeping on your back or with a silk pillow can avoid getting facial wrinkles, as is taking off your makeup before sleeping. If you leave make up on, you can end up with puffy under eyes. (As can eating too much salt and drinking too much alcohol). Sleeping in the same position can cause deep wrinkles in both your face and decolletage.

Night creams are good to use when you sleep and often contain very rich ingredients which you couldn’t use during the daytime. Some with hyaluronic acid plump and firm up your skin, but good old coconut oil (small amount the size of a pea is god enough) or aloe vera can work wonders.

7 ways to get better sleep

So all that said if you are having trouble sleeping because of events in your life or hormonal changes, there are some excellent ways of encouraging a better nights sleep.

1.Get into a routine

Just like babies need a routine to get them off to sleep, so do you as an adult. Try to go t bed at the same time and get up at the same time. This can set your body clock (which can be so accurate you dont need an alarm clock even!). If you stick with this routine each day including weekends and on holidays your body will adjust and you end up falling asleep and waking naturally.

2.Think about what you are eating and drinking

Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and can keep you awake. Caffeine after 4pm, can disrupt your sleep pattern. Tea coffee and hot chocolate contain some caffeine so bear this in mind if you’re having a millky drink before bed.

Try to have less food in the evening. Your stomach digests food, but when you sleep its better if you have less or the body is working hard to digest it. Try to not drink too many fluids just before bed, as you can end up with broken sleep from many trips to the toilet. (If you frequently have to have many trips to the toilet every night and you haven’t had excess fluids, you may wish to get checked for diabetes).

3.Technology can take its toll

Reading before bed can be useful, but using your phone computer or watching TV can disrupt your natural sleep hormone melatonin. So switch off technology about an hour before you plan to sleep. (Some devices now have an evening setting which gives a yellow hue to the phone or tablet, avoiding the stimulating blue light and allowing your sleep hormones to kick in easier. So if you do have to use technology before bed, try using those settings).

4.Get comfy!

Oddly enough you may find it harder to sleep if you are too hot, if its too bright or if its too noisy.

Body temperature naturally drops as you sleep and being too hot can stop you sleeping well, as can waking in the early hours too cold. So make sure you find the perfect temperature for you and maintain that until you need to wake. Black out blinds or sleep masks are good for blocking the light. As with technology, your body likes to sense the dark to sleep well. Keep noise to a minimum, wear ear plugs if necessary or have (delta) white noise in the background (although this can make your groggy when it is time to wake).

5.Sex can be calming

Whether it be self sex or with a partner, having an orgasm can relax the body completely and this can leave you with a feeling of comfort and well being, leading to a good nights sleep.

6.Breathe

Deep breathing can be extremely calming. Before you sleep or indeed if you wake anxious and cannot get back to sleep, try deep breathing. Breathe in deeply into you lower lungs/tummy and breathe out slowly. Take another deep breath and breathe out slowly, then take one more deep breath and this time hold that breath for a short while and then breathe out slowly. You will find that your body becomes naturally calmer and more relaxed, preparing your for sleep.

7.Relax your body and mind

Finally if you really struggle with sleep you can try a bath before bed, hypnosis audios or relaxing music. There are plenty of apps and cds out there to help you sleep and wake.

If you find you wake because you have a lot on your mind keep a pen and paper by your bed, write down your thoughts so that you can leave them to deal with in the morning. If you have additional stresses seek help for them through counselling or maybe a good friend who you can confide in.

I hope you found this useful. Leave comments if you’d like to know more.

Sweet dreams! 😀

Jo Tricker Healthy Living Lady1

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