Put Your Brain to Bed

Sleeping is healing.

Do you sleep enough at night?

If your answer is less than seven hours, you are putting your brain and your general health into serious danger.

woman sleeping
photo: benjamin zanatta

Latest sleep researches suggest that the shortest time needed for the brain and body to recover from daily stress is seven hours, preferably eight. People who sleep five hours and less will sooner or later develop a serious health problem – guaranteed!

During sleep, the brain sends messages to the body to produce all kinds of enzymes and hormones which serve to repair damaged cells, stop inflammation processes and bring body functions into the right balance. Sleep calms down strong emotions and erases unnecessary information from the brain to avoid data overload. Lack of sleep leads to increased aggression, suicidal thoughts, addiction disorders and is also connected to various mental illnesses.

During sleep, heart rate decreases and blood pressure stabilises reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke. People in their 40s who sleep less than six hours a day are two times more likely to have serious cardiovascular disease in their lifetime.

Sleep deprived cells in the brain are less responsive to insulin which puts a person in the risk of entering a prediabetic state. Lack of sleep can cause the irregular production of hunger-regulating hormones which can deceive the body to feel a stronger need for food.

During the last one hundred years, there have been more and more people suffering from cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Sleep research suggests that during a short sleep our cancer-fighting cells do not have enough time to do their work thoroughly, so the risk of having cancer increases. Furthermore, the brain cannot disintegrate all the toxic proteins that are generated there during the day so in time they accumulate and eventually start to kill healthy brain cells.

As far as hundred years ago most people did not have electricity to keep them awake until late in the night. They did not have cable TV, nightclubs or Internet to keep them entertained long past midnight. They did not have to work night shifts or stay awake throughout the night to finish their daily tasks after the children have gone to bed. They did not have to sacrifice their sleep to be able to manage their everyday life.

It is essential for your health that you try to develop a steady circadian rhythm by going to sleep in the evening and waking up in the morning at the around same time, every day. Regular, uninterrupted eight-hour sleep will allow your body to stay in balance and it will help you build a strong immune system that will keep you fresh and healthy regardless of your age.

TIPS FOR ACQUIRING A REGULAR SLEEP PATTERN

  1. Pick a bedtime and wake-up time and stick to it.
  2. If you need to make adjustments to your bedtime, do it in 15 minutes intervals every four to five days. (Instead of going to bed at midnight, go to bed at 11:45 on following days and then continue adjusting your schedule until you reach the desired bedtime.)
  3. Be aware of the dusk and dawn effect. Make sure your room is dimmed when going to sleep and light enough at around the time you need to wake up. It may come as a surprise but the skin can detect the change of light, and one of its tasks is to alert the brain about the time to fall asleep or wake-up.
  4. Have your last meal two or three hours before going to bed and the last glass of water 45 minutes prior to going to bed. If in the meantime you get hungry, have a cereal bar or a toast with jam, peanut butter or cottage cheese.
  5. Do not watch TV or use a smartphone in your bed – blue light that they emit will disturb your sleep. Instead, read a book or play some soothing music to lull you into sleep.

’nite!

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