Sleep to Sustain Life

Sleep to Sustain Life
1 December 2016, 12:20

I am sure like myself you love your bed and enjoy tucking in for the night with a good book to unwind and catch those zzzz’s.

Sleep is rather like the Holy Grail or the reason for our very being, a mystery; we know from experience the result of not establishing and maintaining self-time and including sleep within that portion of our day we reserve for ourselves.

We also know that sleep and rest are fundamental to the maintenance of our health; we know we need sleep and rest to recharge our batteries and rejuvenate our body. It is generally accepted that 6-8 hours of sleep in the course of the day are about right for a healthy well balanced human animal.

When we are ailing we may require more rest and sleep to recover but generally 6-8 hours of quality sleep is sufficient to maintain our health.

Sleep is one of the victims of our modern age, shift work, lifestyle, diet, environment, medication, stress and anxiety all affect the quality and duration of the sleep we enjoy.

The consequences of not sleeping are many and varied; our immune system may be compromised overtime resulting in declining health both mental and physical, body function, mental health, stress and anxiety, our body’s ability to metabolise, bowel and bladder function, hormonal cycles within the human body; the very circadian rhythms may be disrupted.

In summary the above may result in weight gain, mood swings, depression and anxiety, heart disease, nerve ticks and involuntary body movement, stomach ulcers, constipation and incontinence.

Any and all of the above may result in accelerated aging and ongoing poor health.

A few pointers before bedtime:

  • Clear the mind of what has been bothering you through the day.
  • Resist the temptation to partake in coffee, tea, alcohol or other stimulants 3-4 hours before bedtime.
  • A trip to the bathroom before bedtime and abstaining from drinking any liquids within 2 hours of bedtime will reduce the risk of a bathroom visit during the night.
  • Television screens including computers, tablets and smart phones may contribute to poor preparation for sleep.
  • Stray lights in the bedroom, bedside clocks, phone warning lights all compound to interfere with a sound night’s sleep. Our circadian rhythms are triggered by the cycle of light and dark so block out curtains and all light sources within the bedroom area must be a consideration.