Getting Your ZZZ's For Health
When you lie down, you shall not be afraid; yes, you shall lie down, and your sleep shall be sweet.
Getting enough sleep can be a real challenge for a lot of people and we all have heard that we need to get a minimum of 7-8 hrs of sleep a night ideally to be recharged sufficiently, but has anyone ever told you why you need that much sleep and what happens during that time? In this blog we're going to share with you some important facts about how your daily sleep cycles and how that impacts your health.
What is a sleep cycle?
The sleep cycle is a physiological process that occurs during sleep. It allows the brain and body to perform “housekeeping” functions, such as repairing or growing tissues, removing toxins, and processing memories. Each sleep cycle consists of four stages, with each having varying effects on the body.
Stage 1 occurs when a person is going from wakefulness to sleep and it usually lasts about 1-5 minutes. During this non-REM sleep your muscles begin to relax and your heart rate begins to slow down.
In this second phase of non-REM sleep your body relaxes and goes into a deeper state of sleep which can last 20-30 mins.
This Stage 3 non-REM sleep is the deepest stage of sleep and the hardest to awaken from. During this stage, heart rate, breathing, and brain waves become regular. This is the stage most difficult to wake up from.
This is considered REM sleep otherwise known as Rapid Eye Movement Sleep which is the state of sleep that is deepest and when you dream. During this stage, the eyes move quickly and rapidly from side to side. During REM sleep, breathing quickens and becomes more erratic.
Now that you know the different stages of sleep here are 4 main affects of how getting enough sleep affects your health.
1. Improves your immune system function.
Sleep deprivation decreases proper immune function and increases your chances of catching a cold and fighting off infections.
2.Proper detoxification of your brain and body.
Your brain detoxes during the night in your deeper states of sleep via its own waste management system called the glymphatic system.
3.Increased focus and productivity.
Your brain needs to properly detox and recharge overnight to be able to properly focus and this is done during deep sleep stages of your sleep cycle.
4.Regulates mood and reduces depression.
Studies have shown that getting enough sleep regulates your hormones and which by default your mood. Everybody knows how cranky you can feel when you're excessively tired and sleep deprived.
Signs of depression are also reduced because of the regulation of hormones during your sleep.
5.Manage hunger levels.
When one is sleep deprived the hunger and stress hormones rise and increases cravings in response.
TIPS TO IMPROVE SLEEP
Stay away from blue light at least 1 hr before bed.
Exposure to blue light tricks your brain into thinking it's still day time and inhibits the proper chemicals that help you wind down.
Create a routine.
Try to build a routine that prepares you to sleep like prayer, meditating on the word, reading or a light exercise. These are all healthy habits to form before bed for your spiritual health but also disciplines you so that you avoid the common pitfalls like being on your phone or watching TV before bed.
Avoid sugary foods
Try to avoid eating processed sugary foods and refined carbs before bed because this spikes up your insulin levels and keeps you up in a a non healthy way. In general having your last meal 1-2 hrs before your official bed time is best.