We have a long way to go before we fully understand why we sleep and the importance of it to our health. But we know for sure that good sleep is a major part of a healthy life.
We’ve all heard that 6-8 hours is the optimal numbers of hours per night that most of us need. But for those of us who struggle to get those hours, there are far-reaching implications for our health.
Sleep lost cannot be regained. It’s just gone. And when chronic sleep deprivation occurs, the results are drastic: serious impairments to the immune system, memory, and mental abilities. A severe lack of sleep over time can even cause tumors to grow faster and the body to behave as if it was diabetic – causing hunger even when you’ve eaten.
A lack of sleep decreases our ability to fight cancers, and increases stress-related disorders, from constipation and depression to ulcers and heart disease.
According to Dr. Mercola, a leader provider of information for health and well-being, the serious nature of sleep deprivation cannot be overstated:
“One study has even shown that people with chronic insomnia have a three times greater risk of dying from any cause. Lost sleep is lost forever, and a persistent lack of sleep has a cumulative effect when it comes to disrupting your health.”
However, there are dozens of creative ways to demand one’s right to a good night’s sleep. Here are some of Dr. Mercola’s recommendations:
— Sleep in complete darkness (any small light can signal to your brain that it’s time to wake up) by moving clock radios, phones, and device chargers away from the bed and when necessary out of the room entirely.
— Sleep in a cool room. Anything over 68 degrees is probably too warm to sleep.
— Sleep early. Many of our bodies’ systems need the hours between 11 pm and 1 am to do their jobs properly.
— Use a bedtime routine to trigger your body’s sleep rhythms. Keep bedtime and awake time relatively stable throughout the week.
— Avoid getting up to use the bathroom. Don’t drink liquids before bed, empty your bladder before sleeping, and if you do get up, avoid turning on the light unless absolutely necessary.
— Take a hot bath, shower, or sauna before bed and wear socks to bed.
— Avoid TV or work an hour before bed.
— Use the time before bed to listen to relaxing music, read something uplifting, and consider journaling your thoughts. All of these allow your brain to unwind in a way that is conducive to peaceful sleep.
Regardless of how, sleep deprivation should be avoided at all costs as it can negatively and drastically affect one’s health.