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It’s important you’re getting enough sleep, if you value your physical, mental and emotional health. Coming up you’ll learn if you’re suffering from sleep deprivation and how to enjoy more restful nights.
They call sleep a keystone habit. That means something so important, so fundamental to your health and happiness, that it underpins every other thing in your life.
Sleep is one of the most formative elements of our lives. It informs our diet, mental health, physical fitness – and even how good we are at our jobs.
Poor sleep quality can affect every single area of our lives.
Conversely, developing great sleep habits can have a transformative effect. It’s an area we should all be prioritizing to find a balance in our lives. Especially in a time of global crisis such as we find ourselves in now.
We are constantly busy with events and paying the price. With our busy, modern, always-on lives, it seems that we cannot switch off. Research has shown that:
These shocking sleep statistics – and a host of others – show that sleep deprivation is a severe problem within the US and globally.
You can take action to improve the quality and duration of your sleep without turning to chemical sleeping aids.
Like most good habits, learning to enjoy restful sleep requires effort and consistency. And the rewards of good sleep can turn many other areas of your life around.
We all know the difference we feel when we’ve had a good night’s rest.
We wake up, energized, and ready to face the day ahead.
The trouble is that for some of us, these mornings are far too rare.
We’re more likely to be found repeatedly pressing the snooze button with one hand before staggering to the coffee machine.
But why is it so critical to get good quality sleep?
The obesity crisis in the Western world is real.
It’s causing a significant strain on healthcare systems globally, triggering avoidable secondary diseases such as diabetes, kidney problems and sight loss, and affecting the quality of life for millions.
At least some of the key to successful weight management lies in getting sleep right.
Studies have shown that short sleep duration is one of the highest risk factors for clinical obesity – one showed that children with a short sleep pattern were 89% more likely to develop obesity.
Well, some of it comes down to the effect on our hormones when we don’t rest enough.
Another part of it is that our motivation to exercise, and our willpower to resist sugar and fatty foods, is lower when we aren’t well-rested. Poor appetite regulation is associated with insomnia, as levels of ghrelin (the hormone which causes us to feel hunger) are higher in those who get little sleep.
Conversely, levels of leptin (the hormone which suppresses our appetites) are lower.
So weight management is a much harder process if you don’t have good sleep quality on your side.
Check out my groundbreaking video course, Stop Emotional Eating – here!
The physical and mental effects of not sleeping well are intricately linked. And when we experience sleeplessness, lots of different aspects of brain function are compromised.
Not only are we – and the economy – missing out on a lot of productivity potential. But in some cases, a lack of sleep can literally be life and death.
The National Centre for Biotechnology Information has stated that over 100 thousand deaths are attributed to medical error due to sleep deprivation – a sobering thought.
Additionally, Fortune Magazine has noted that lack of sleep costs the US economy over $411 billion annually.
The effects of chronic sleep deprivation are often compared to intoxication. We cannot function correctly.
There has been a proven link between mental health issues such as depression and poor quality or disordered sleep. Being able to rest is essential for the balance of our mental health, and we all know that problems and trials in life seem far worse when we aren’t well-rested.
Our social interactions are affected, as we’re less able to read the facial expressions and emotions of others. We are likely to be far more reactionary and easy to anger when we haven’t appropriately rested ourselves. In addition to this, things like our immune systems can become affected.
Even a small loss of sleep has been shown to impair the function of our immune systems significantly. Sleep less than seven hours per night, and you’re almost three times more likely to catch a cold – or even a worse virus.
Some of this may be due to inflammation in the body, which we are only just beginning to understand fully.
Sleep loss can activate undesirable cell changes, and these have links to all sorts of inflammatory diseases, from damage to the lungs to conditions like Crohn’s or colitis.
Medical professionals now even routinely recommend sleep analysis for individuals with long-term inflammatory conditions. Your glucose metabolism can also be affected, which causes more risk of type 2 diabetes.
It’s clear that there’s not a single aspect of our lives that isn’t affected when we don’t sleep well. Get that right, and a whole host of other problems in your life might improve as well. But how do you go about improving the quality of your sleep?
A comfortable mattress, a good book, your favourite pillow – these are all great bedroom companions. Your smartphone, tablet, TV or laptop? Not so much.
Electronic devices emit blue light, which disturbs the body’s natural production of melatonin, the hormone which signals our body to sleep.
Start by banning all electronic devices from your sleep environment. Get into the habit of relegating them to a drawer to charge overnight.
Go back to reading paperback books and invest in an old-fashioned alarm clock to make falling asleep easier.
Some individuals are naturally more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than others.
So if you are experiencing trouble dropping off or staying asleep, it’s worth eliminating or restricting the amount of caffeine you’re consuming.
Swap that afternoon coffee for a decaf alternative.
Before bed try drinking a chamomile tea with honey to relax your body.
Many people try to sleep in rooms which are either too light or too warm. The fact is, our bodies need to be ever so slightly cool to help us sleep – around 18 degrees is ideal.
The solution? Make sure your room is well ventilated. You may also want to invest in blackout blinds so that you aren’t woken up too early by the sunlight. Make sure you’re also using the right thickness of bedding so you don’t get too warm during the night, as this can cause disturbed sleep.
In my research based video course The Anxiety Cure I share a lot about how relaxing aromatherapy scents can be a powerful tool for helping you to sleep.
An electronic aromatherapy diffuser loaded with calming essential oils can be extremely useful, or you could try a lavender pillow spray or temple balm to induce feelings of relaxation.
In my results proven Anxiety Cure video course, I offer lots of other tips for good sleep. I’d love to do everything I can to help you to improve your sleep quality – and benefit your entire life in the process.
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