The Healing Power of Sleep

It has come to my attention recently just how important sleep is for our health, mental state, and success. We also are living in a society that often views sleep deprivation as a sign that you are hard-working and determined. I have been getting a lot of messages from my angels and spirit guides lately that going without sleep is not something we should push ourselves to do. I do understand that there are times when this must happen short-term, however sleep deprivation can have serious health consequences. I hope that reading this you will allow yourself to get the rest that you need without feeling guilty or judged.

What happens when you sleep

Your immune system is replenished. Specifically, when you sleep your body repairs cells, blood vessels and even your heart. Your brain also creates neural pathways which help with the processing and retention of knowledge from the previous day. It is for this reason that if you are doing a lot of learning, you remember and retain more knowledge when you sleep a full night. Sleep also has a big impact on weight and helps you regulate your blood sugar. There is also a connection between rest and beauty as getting a good amount of sleep translates to vibrant and healthy-looking skin and overall appearance – hence the term “beauty sleep.”

What happens when you don’t sleep

Sleep-deprivation has been linked to suicide, depression and making poor decisions. Because sleep is connected with healing cells and the circulatory system, chronic sleep deficiency can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Since your blood sugar is not being regulated, those who don’t get enough sleep are usually heavier than their counterparts who are getting enough sleep.

When you don’t get enough sleep, it’s also bad for beauty: skin conditions get worse due to increased inflammation. It also leads to visible problems like darkness or bags under the eyes, dull skin and red eyes.

When you don’t get enough sleep, you brain also tries to accommodate by going into micro-sleep. Micro-sleep is what happens when your brain essentially goes to sleep or goes into autopilot when you are awake, such as when you drive somewhere and don’t remember doing it. So, driving while sleep-deprived is similar to driving drunk in terms of impairment. Not sleeping for as little as 17 hours can be the same as being drunk.

Another negative aspect of not getting enough sleep is that your brain actually clears away neurons when you don’t get enough sleep which leads to cognition and memory problems and, over time, leads to a much greater risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. You can watch a great TED talk about that here.

To sum up, chronic sleep deprivation leads to increased risk of:

·        Weight gain

·        Diabetes

·        Depression and suicide

·        Memory problems and poor knowledge retention

·        Heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure

·        Alzheimer’s and dementia

·        Accidents (auto and falls)

·        Lowered libido and attractiveness

Additionally, lack of sleep creates inflammation which speeds up the ageing process and makes us sick and look tired.

How to get better sleep

If you feel guilty for letting yourself go to sleep, there are some tools that can help you clear that. I am a fan of tapping to help release unhealthy beliefs or patterns. You can read my blog post on how to tap and watch a brief instructional video here.

Good sleep habits can really help too. Turn off bright lights a few hours before sleep and minimize interaction with electronic devices. Create a nighttime, relaxing ritual. This can include reading a book, taking a bath, meditation, journaling, drinking a relaxing herbal tea, or relaxing yoga. Create a time for you to wind-down and get your body and mind time to prep for sleep. Do not do intense exercise or do stressful activities or use electronics (no checking email) 2-3 hours before sleep. This can really help with making sure that you mind is not wired but tired.  To get good quality sleep, it’s also extremely helpful to have a comfortable sleep environment. Make sure there are no flashing lights on in your room or anything else stimulating. If you struggle with traffic or other outside noises a white noise machine or playing nature sounds can help you fall asleep. I also recommend turning on “airplane mode” or “do not disturb” on your phone as notifications and even the signal itself can stimulate you and make it difficult to go into deep sleep.

Here is a summary of how to ensure you get better sleep:

·        Eliminate or reduce light sources in your room

·        Put electronics in airplane mode and turn off notifications or reminders

·        Create a nighttime ritual to relax

·        Stay off electronics 2 to 3 hours before bed

Hopefully this article helps you work understand why sleep is important and you found some tips to help you sleep. Sleeping is one of the best things we can do for our health and peace of mind.

Sources

 

Every Day Health

Harvard School of Public Health

Health Spirit Body

Health Line

Lisa Genova TED Talk

National Institutes of Health

Science Alert