Sleep is the nursemaid to humanity
During sleep, our body repairs and rejuvenates itself. A lack of restful sleep disrupts the body’s innate balance, weakens our immune system, and speeds up the aging process.
Human beings generally need between six and eight hours of restful sleep each night. Restful sleep means that you’re not using pharmaceuticals or alcohol to get to sleep but that you’re drifting off easily once you turn off the light and are sleeping soundly through the night.
If you feel energetic and vibrant when you wake up, you had a night of restful sleep. If you feel tired and unenthusiastic, you haven’t had restful sleep.
Restful sleep is the foundation for your mental and physical well-being. After a day of stimulating activity, your body needs deep sleep when your mind and body can rest and reset. When you’re well rested you’re more alert, able to process new information more efficiently, and you make better decisions. On the other hand, when you’re sleep deprived, you’re more likely to make mistakes and it takes longer to complete tasks.
For maximum rejuvenation, it is recommended a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of restful sleep each night, keeping in mind that the hours before midnight are generally the most rejuvenating. For example, if you sleep eight hours between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., you’ll feel more rested than if you sleep eight hours between midnight and 8 a.m.
To promote restful sleep, try this recommended Deepak Chopra evening routine, or at least parts to calm the wind down in the sheets:
- Eat a light dinner.
- Take a leisurely stroll after you eat.
- Minimize exciting, aggravating, or mentally intensive activities after 8:30 p.m.
- About an hour before bedtime, run a hot bath into which you place a few drops of Relaxing aroma oil.
- Diffuse relaxing aromas in your bedroom.
- As your bath is running, perform a slow self-administered oil massage, or and then soak in the warm tub for 10 to 15 minutes.
- While soaking, have the lights low or burn a candle, and listen to soothing music.
- After your bath, drink a cup of warm relaxing herbal tea.
- If your mind is very active, journal for a few minutes before bed. “Download” your thoughts and concerns so you don’t need to ruminate about them when you shut your eyes.
- Read inspirational or spiritual literature for a few minutes before bed. Avoid dramatic novels or distressing reading material.
- Do not watch television or do any work in bed.
- Once in bed, close your eyes and simply “feel your body.” Focus on your body and wherever you notice tension, consciously relax that area.
- Then, simply watch your slow easy breathing until you fall asleep.
Physical Health and Sleep
Sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
Sleep deficiency also increases the risk of obesity. For example, one study of teenagers showed that with each hour of sleep lost, the odds of becoming obese went up. Sleep deficiency increases the risk of obesity in other age groups as well.
Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). When you don’t get enough sleep, your level of ghrelin goes up and your level of leptin goes down. This makes you feel hungrier than when you’re well-rested.
Sleep also affects how your body reacts to insulin, the hormone that controls your blood glucose (sugar) level. Sleep deficiency results in a higher than normal blood sugar level, which may increase your risk for diabetes.
Sleep also supports healthy growth and development. Deep sleep triggers the body to release the hormone that promotes normal growth in children and teens. This hormone also boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells and tissues in children, teens, and adults. Sleep also plays a role in puberty and fertility.
Your immune system relies on sleep to stay healthy. This system defends your body against foreign or harmful substances. Ongoing sleep deficiency can change the way in which your immune system responds. For example, if you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble fighting common infections.
Whats the overall message here?
Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.
The way you feel while you’re awake depends in part on what happens while you’re sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health.
The damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant, or it can harm you over time. It also can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.
Freedom from illness depends upon expanding our own awareness, bringing it into balance, and then extending that balance to the body. This process isn’t as complicated as it may sound. It is a personalised approach to health, and knowing your the benefits to interventions allows you to make optimal choices about diet, exercise, and all other aspects of your lifestyle.