Optimal health is comprised of many aspects, not just one. The goal is to have a balance among the different pillars because if one is out of balance, the rest may suffer. My first article, The Four Pillars of Health, introduced each pillar: sleep, exercise, self-care, and nutrition. This article focuses on sleep.
Sleep deprivation — not getting the amount of sleep needed to feel awake and alert.
Individuals are working harder than ever. When their head hits the pillow at night — they are hoping their mind will calm down enough for a good night’s sleep. Since each person’s body is unique, so are the sleep requirements.
The recommended amount of restful sleep needed per night is between 7 and 9 hours for ages 18 to 64. This amount helps our bodies to stay healthy and alert.
Sleep effects every system in our body
Yes, I said every system of the body, which includes the nervous system, immune, respiratory, digestive, cardiovascular, and endocrine.
According to the Healthline website:
- some nervous system effects from continuous lack of sleep: impulsive behavior, anxiety, depression, paranoia, suicidal thoughts
- Lack of restful sleep weakens the immune system so that is doesn’t rebuild and repair itself properly
- Lack of restful sleep can affect the digestive system by affecting hormone levels as well as making you too tired to exercise.
- Lack of restful sleep may increase the chances of cardiovascular disease. Sleep helps to repair the blood vessels and heart.
- Interrupted sleep affects the growth hormone production levels. These build muscle mass and repair cells and tissues.
Recommendations that might help you to sleep better:
- limiting daytime naps (or avoiding them altogether)
- refraining from caffeine past noon or at least a few hours prior to bedtime
- going to bed at the same time each night
- waking up at the same time every morning
- sticking to your bedtime schedule during weekends and holidays
- spending an hour before bed doing relaxing activities, such as reading, meditating, or taking a bath
- avoiding heavy meals within a few hours before bedtime
- refraining from using electronic devices right before bed
- exercising regularly, but not in the evening hours close to bedtime
- reducing alcohol intake
Don’t let your insomnia become chronic — there is help
If you sleep well, terrific! I thankfully sleep well too. However, there are times when everyone goes through some sort of sleep deprivation — stressful times can do this.
We just need to make sure it doesn’t become chronic. Do your best to discover what might be causing your lack sleep like if you struggle with insomnia and if need be get some help from a professional.
You are your own best advocate for your health. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com
Christine Cosby, CHC, EP, PBP, LMBT
As the owner of Holistic Body Therapies, I seek to improve my client’s health and movement with nutritional support & bodywork techniques. I am proud to offer bodywork, nutritional support, and health coaching to my clients. The two primary bodywork techniques I use are Bowen and Emmett Techniques, which help to reset the nervous system using light touch. In addition to these techniques, I am also excited to offer nutritional guidance to my clients as a certified health coach with the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.
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