How to Navigate Sleep Through a Pandemic
Here’s a summary of the points covered in this section:
· The effects of sleep deprivation
· Nine Benefits of Sleep for your Mind & Body
· Five Guidelines to Good Sleep Hygiene
We all take sleep for granted until we have problems with it and then we quickly remember how desirable a good night’s sleep is! Sleep deprivation, even sporadically, is a real issue. A good night’s rest can relieve sleepiness. Without it, we find ourselves feeling groggy and out of sync with our body. Sleep is crucial to our health for a myriad of reasons.
This is because all human abilities (like paying attention, memory recall and learning) are made worse by poor sleep and there is an intimate relationship between sleep and many psychological conditions — for example, depression, anxiety and psychosis, not to mention weight gain.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF LACK OF SLEEP
For some, sleep deprivation is a common occurrence, but constantly interrupting the sleep cycle can be dangerous. When we become sleep deprived, it affects us in a multitude of ways.
Mood Swings Not being able to sleep well can affect our moods during the day. Some of us become irritable, short, and even indifferent.
Cognitive Function Slows Cognitive function is also affected by a lack of sleep. Problem- solving, memory retention, recall, and focus can all decline when we are robbed of deep sleep or slow-wave sleep at night. Productivity and creativity levels are compromised when our circadian rhythms are interrupted and we fail to achieve the necessary sleep stages.
Poor Co-ordination Physically, a lack of sleep can be detrimental to your coordination. The brain fails to function properly without adequate sleep, so the signals that are being sent to your body are compromised.
Increase in Weight Gain
Sleep deprivation causes changes to hormones that regulate hunger and appetite. The hormone leptin suppresses appetite and encourages the body to expend energy. Sleep deprivation reduces leptin. The hormone ghrelin, on the other hand, triggers feelings of hunger – and ghrelin goes up when you’re short on sleep.
Sleep deprivation changes what foods you’re most interested in eating, creating more intense cravings for fat and sugar-laden foods. Low on sleep, our brain can’t make reasoned decisions and use its best judgement about food and you’re more likely to be impulsive and give into junk-food desires. Lack of sleep also makes you more likely to eat more of your overall calories at night, which can lead to weight gain.
Poor sleep isn’t the only factor in weight gain, of course – there are several, including your genetics, your diet and exercise habits, your stress and your health conditions. But the evidence is overwhelming, when sleep goes down, weight goes up. The University of Colarado found that one week of sleeping about 5 hours a night led participants to gain an average of 2 pounds.
Although there are many reasons why we sleep, there are still as many unanswered questions. Researchers are trying to find scientific evidence to explain the mysteries of sleep, but the current consensus is that sleep is imperative for a healthy and full life.
NINE GOOD REASONS FOR A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
1.Sleep helps you feel your best
The idea that it’s necessary to get eight hours of sleep each night partly comes from studies that ask people how much time they normally spend sleeping. For example, in a survey conducted by researchers at Queen’s
University in Kingston, Ont., more than 17,000 students in 24 countries were asked how much sleep they got each night. Sixty-three percent of participants said they slept from seven to eight hours.
Eight hours is the norm for the amount of time that most people sleep, but on an individual basis, it’s the amount of sleep that allows you to wake up feeling refreshed and able to stay awake during the day.
2. Sleep protects you from heart disease, diabetes
While it’s normal to go through bouts of disturbed sleep, if you’re routinely waking up groggy over several years, your health may be at risk. Insufficient sleep can result in an impact on immune function and cardiovascular risk. There’s also a link between weight gain and reduced sleep. Studies have also shown a link between sleep deprivation and increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
3. Sleeping burns calories
How many calories does an extra two hours of sleep burn? Almost 300, according to a study at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. Researchers at the college asked 32 summer students to keep diaries noting how much sleep they got and what foods they ate over a three-week period. The first week, students stuck to their normal eating and sleeping schedules so researchers could see their normal routine. The second week, students were asked to sleep an extra two hours a day. The third week, students returned to their normal routine. When researchers compared the students’ diaries after the third week, they found that the students who got an extra two hours of sleep in week 2 ate nearly 300 calories a day less than in week 1. When they returned to their normal sleep-deprived routines in week 3, they ate more food.
4. Sleep keeps extra pounds at bay
A study of 68,000 women conducted at Harvard Medical School revealed that women who sleep five hours a night are 32 percent more likely to gain 30 pounds or more as they get older than women who sleep seven hours or more.
Common sense says that someone who’s awake and running around should be using up more calories than someone who’s in bed. Running
around should make them slimmer, right? But the study, conducted over a 16-year period, revealed that even when the women who slept longer ate more, they still gained less weight than women who slept less.
5. Sleep boosts your immune system
Sleeping better may help you fight off illness. Sleep deprivation makes your body’s emergency stress system kick in. In a University of Chicago study, men who were vaccinated while being deprived of sleep (the subjects were not allowed to sleep more than four hours a night) produced less than half the antibodies to the flu virus that vaccinated men who got a full night’s rest did.
6. Sleep improves brain function
Not only does sleep deprivation lead to poor health, it also affects your concentration, problem-solving skills, memory and mood. Problems with memory, decreased social interaction and difficulty concentrating can all be linked to lack of sleep.
7. Sleep helps you look better
People who are limited to only four or five hours of sleep a night for several nights not only experience more physical ailments, such as headaches and stomach problems, but also undergo changes in metabolism similar to those occurring with normal ageing. I
8. Sleep improves your mood
People with insomnia produce higher rates of stress hormones than others, according to new research. This puts their bodies in a hyper- aroused state that can make it difficult for them to wind down. The inability to sleep causes more stress, which can have a devastating impact. People who don’t get enough sleep can become depressed, and that causes insomnia. Inversely, more and better-quality sleep can make you feel happier.
9. Sleep keeps cravings in check
Sleep deprivation also influences your food choices, making you crave high-carb and high-sugar foods. This is because sleep loss decreases
insulin sensitivity, putting the sleep-deprived at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes. So sleeping more may make it easier to fight the cravings!
What can you do to get some good zzz’s back in your life?
Hypnotherapy sessions can provide a safe space to look at the individual, underlying issues you are dealing with. In the meantime, here are some general guidelines to help with a good night’s sleep.
THE GUIDELINES FOR GOOD SLEEP HYGIENE
The following are simply just good and sensible practices to set yourself up for a good night’s sleep. (Pay particular attention to your bedtime routine.)
1. LIMIT DAY TIME NAPS
Napping does not make up for inadequate nighttime sleep. However, a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance.
2. AVOID THE STIMULANTS
Avoiding stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime. And when it comes to alcohol, moderation is the word. While alcohol is well-known to help you fall asleep faster, too much close to bedtime can disrupt sleep in the second half of the night as the body begins to process the alcohol.
3. LISTEN TO THE SLEEP RECORDING
The recording utilises a multitude of the latest mind management techniques and is a very important part of this programme. The recording is for you to listen to when you get into bed and mimics the natural state your mind and body go through every night when you do go to sleep
4. HAVE A BEDTIME ROUTINE
If at all possible go to bed at the same time every night. A regular nightly routine helps the body recognise that it is bedtime. This could include taking warm shower or bath, reading a book, or light stretches.
5. USE THE RIGHT “LANGUAGE” AROUND SLEEP
Be aware of what you tell yourself about your sleep, and make sure you are “reinforcing” the right language and self-statements Change your daily language from “I can’t sleep” to “I always sleep well” or “I get as much sleep as I need”. They need to be words in your language.
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