Sleep is one of the most important gifts we can give to ourselves, to our bodies. We all know that feeling, that undeniable difference we feel when we wake up from a good night’s sleep versus a fractured night’s sleep. While we are all familiar with this feeling, what many of us do not think much – if at all – about is just how important sleep is for our physical health. Sure, we all know the feeling of being tired, and we do not relish it, but beyond the feeling itself there is not nearly enough emphasis and understanding in the underlying factors that go hand in hand with that feeling of physical exhaustion. There is nothing better than waking up from a sound night’s rest and feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the day ahead. We all want to chase that feeling. but until recently, it was not abundantly clear just how important it was to pursue a healthy and sound sleeping pattern. We are finally seeing more studies and research on the subject come out of the woodwork, and it is about high time, too. With so much emphasis on the importance of a healthy diet and getting enough exercise, it is about time that the same emphasis was placed on the importance of getting enough sleep.
It is a recently earned broad revelation that sleep is now recognized as being just as important to our physical health as healthy eating and exercise (not to mention the impacts on our mental health as well). Keep reading at Sleep Junkie, a website that specialize in helping consumers find the perfect mattress to help them get the most out of their sleep. Health professionals are now pushing the importance of sleep onto their patients more and more. People are investing in essential oils, music, programs, and devices to initiate and maintain a balance in their sleeping patterns. The entire world has become obsessed with righting the ship and getting a good night’s sleep, and it is a change of pace that could not have come quickly enough. Sleep impacts our bodies and our minds, but how exactly does it do this? Many people question the genuine importance of a healthy sleeping pattern and its effects on the body, but the reality is that sleep is a crucial foundational component and subsequent building block to positive physical health. Here’s how.
Let’s think about the way that our body aesthetically responds to our sleeping pattern (or lack thereof). Our physicality is something that we are so used to that we sometimes do not consider how seemingly unimportant factors influence its state of being. A bad night’s sleep (in particular when it becomes an ongoing pattern) can have a dramatic, sometimes even catastrophic, effect on our physical body. Disjointed sleep has an active hand in altering a person’s metabolism. During a bad night’s sleep, the body does not get a chance to naturally process the day and its intake during that day. This inevitably leads to an increase in the body’s ability to store fat. When an individual has a fractured sleeping pattern, their body cannot naturally go through the processes it needs to during sleep to rectify the day’s events and intake. Additionally, insufficient sleep impacts the hormones in the body, causing an imbalance in one’s appetite and feelings of fullness. Over time, this can lead to physical health issues like diabetes and obesity (to name a few possible side effects).
Now consider the brain. The hungriest organ in the human body, the brain is constantly working – even, and especially, when we are asleep. The brain is the organ that benefits and requires sleep the most in the human body. One of the central functions of sleep is to help solidify the memory. When we sleep, the brain strengthens its neural connections and prunes back the unwanted ones, allowing itself to flourish and thrive. During the day, toxins (including those associated with Alzheimer’s Disease, for example) build up. When we go to sleep, the lymphatic system of the brain opens and removes those toxins. The space between our brain cells shifts and expands significantly during the time we are asleep, and this is what kick-starts the brain’s process of clearing out the gunk. This is done through the movement of cerebrospinal fluid. Additionally, sleep is crucial for cognition. When we do not give our bodies enough time to adequately rest, our cognitive function suffers. If there was only one important reason to get enough sleep, this is it. The brain keeps the body functioning and thriving, so we must take care of it. And it just so happens that sleep is the best way to do that.
There is no feeling in all the world like waking up from a good night’s sleep feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead. And that feeling only gets better when it is an experience that one has consecutively, on an ongoing basis. The way that we sleep, and the quality of that sleep, has a tremendous impact on our health on all fronts, especially our physical health. The human body is at once intricately delicate and incredibly strong, and the quality of one’s sleep can have a potent and ongoing effect on just how delicate or strong one’s body is at any given time. As the world becomes steadily more comfortable and familiar with acknowledging, discussing, and paying careful attention to the importance of sleep on our physical health, more and more people are moving sleep higher up the list of their priorities. And it is about high time, too. When we achieve a healthy sleeping pattern, we allow our bodies the chance to heal, replenish, and rejuvenate, effectively resulting in healthier, stronger bodies all round.