5 Reasons Why You Should Make Sleep A Priority
Research shows: More than 50% of midlife women experience sleep difficulties attributed to a cocktail of factors – hormonal shifts, depression, lifestyle stress like changing relationship, aging parents, work pressures.
For so many of us sleep is something that we readily borrow from. Whether it’s getting up a little earlier to fit more into the day or as we get ready for bed moving through the house picking up the living room, folding a bit of laundry, and responding to email we steal precious minutes from our sleep. Not to mention the 1am hot flash or the 3am bathroom run. It’s life; you just push through the tired.
Yet research is showing just how important sleep is. There are four stages of sleep dozing off, light sleep where your brain waves begin to slow down, deep sleep where your brain is in restorative delta wave pattern, and REM where you dream. As we age we spend less time in restorative deep sleep. This makes it even more of a priority to get your seven to nine hours of shuteye each night.
Not convinced? Here are 5 powerful sleep benefits that may change your mind.
1. Nip dementia in the bud and boost your memory – while you sleep cerebrospinal fluid removes debris and toxins from your brain. There is evidence that some of the debris forms the plaques attributed to Alzheimer’s. Your brain is also processing and cataloging all of the information from the day.
2. Boost your metabolism – lack of sleep has your body shift into energy conservation mode, which means a slower metabolism. It also enhances the production of ghrelin the hormone that say ‘I’m hungry’ and reduces the production of leptin the hormone that says ‘I’m full’.
3. Keep stress under control – sleep helps keep your prefrontal cortex, the part of your brain where reasoning takes place active and reduces the activity in the amygdala where your fight or flight impulse is triggered. This helps you to respond to the stimuli in your life rather than reacting or over reacting.
4. Think outside the box – as you sleep your neurons are scanning for patterns and connections. This allow for solutions and ideas that you may never have come to consciously to bubble up to the surface.
5. Support your immune system – as you sleep your cells are being repaired and restored. Your immune system is being boosted white blood cells increase circulation and humane growth hormone levels are elevated. Lack of sleep actually decreases the number of natural killer cells that fight off infection leaving you more susceptible to catching something.
Integration: Try this trick if your trying to learn something new practice or study before you go to bed – as you sleep the information is replayed enhancing the learning. It’s good to remember that the same is true if you go to bed with worry or fear running through your mind it will be anchored as well. So clear your mind before hitting the pillow.