Psalm 139:13-14 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
The Quota of Sleeping Hours
You spend about a third of your life asleep – or, at least, you should. The recommended quota is between seven and nine hours a night for adults. According to some experts, in order to sleep better and longer at nights you need to focus on your daily habits.
If you’ve experienced problematic sleep, you might need a love relationship with your bedroom, or even with the idea of sleep itself. You could try to make changes to your bedroom so that it’s a haven of relaxation to you. Think about upgrading your pillows or mattress for extra comfort. Treat yourself to bed linen that you look forward to using each night. Little things can have a huge impact.
If there’s external noise, consider ear plugs but make sure they fit well. If there’s too much light, try wearing an eye mask. When your brain registers light it is programmed to be alert. Try to get as little light as possible through your eyes to your brain. Therefore, it’s important to begin to dim the lights as evening draws in.
Let’s turn to how sleep can benefit you, and then explore ways in which you might be able to get more of this precious treasure.
Related: Choose Today: Benefit Tomorrow
Your Immune System
Your immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues, organs, and the substances they produce. They work together to help the body fight infections and other diseases. The immune system main function is to protect your body from outside invaders, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and toxins which are chemicals produced by microbes.
Sleep regulates and enhances your immune system. When you don’t get enough sleep, inflammation can result. You won’t usually notice excess inflammation immediately, but it can have a long term effect on your body. Chronic inflammation damages the body and increases the risk of many health conditions, including ulcers, dementia, heart disease, and more.
During sleep, your body releases hormones that keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. Your heart will be healthier if you get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. Lack of sleep has been associated with worsening blood pressure and heart function. This can be a problem if you already have a heart condition, and, over time, it, can lead to heart disease.
Memories And Links
Your memory is the ability to remember, recollect and reminisce. It applies both to the power of remembering and to what is remembered. The brain is responsible for the consolidating of memories and making new neural connections.
Researchers have found that sleep plays an important role in a process called memory consolidation. Deep sleep is a very important time for your brain to make memories and links. Getting good quality sleep will help you remember things better in the long run.
Your body may be resting, but your brain continues to process your day, making connections between events, sensory input, feelings, and memories.
Natural Body Rhythm
It’s a fact that plants have an internal clock: flowers open and close their petals while plants lift and lower their leaves to the daily rising and setting sun. The human body has this same phenomenon of a built in clock that nature has set up. Every single cell in your body has its own day to day rhythm which consists of a 24-hour cycle during which time it is programmed to do specific activities.
Many biological processes happen during your sleep. Your brain stores and rearranges new information and gets rid of toxic waste, much like cleaning out an underground sewage system. Nerve cells communicate and reorganize, which in turn supports healthy brain function. The body repairs cells, restores energy, and releases molecules like hormones and proteins. There’s an increase in growth hormone, and the body begins to make repairs to your gut lining and your skin, and to detoxify.
There’s an awful lot of activity taking place while you sleep. During the final six hours of your day, your body begins to cool down. Your digestive system begins to slow down, too, so that it becomes harder to digest food late at night, while the brain naturally increases the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
You may struggle to get to sleep because of an overactive mind. The mind also loves the dark, lonely hours when your inner critic is giving you commentary about your past mistakes or looking for future events to worry about.
A lack of sleep can have damaging effects on your waking life. You’ll probably feel lethargic, lacking your usual vigor. Your attention span will be shortened and you’ll struggle to focus and remember things. Your energy levels will wane, and you’ll become less productive and more frustrated because everything is taking far longer than it normally would.
If left untreated, chronic sleep problems can greatly affect your qualify of life. Your reaction time when driving may decrease, which increases your risk of an accident. It may also weaken your immune system, resulting in frequent colds and related illnesses such as the virus.
Related: When Is It Good To Worry?
Relax And Be Refreshed
Sleep is a time for you to relax. Your sleep and anxiety are interconnected. However, sleep inertia slows down your motor and cognitive skills. This is why it sometimes feels impossible to do anything right after you wake up. Preparing yourself for a good night’s rest protected from stress and anxiety begins long before you hit your pillow.
You are likely to sleep better if you’ve not eaten or drunk anything (other than water) for at least three hours before you go to bed. Research tells us that the longer the period between your last meal and the following breakfast, the better. The body reaches its natural fasting mode, where it likes to burn fat. This is an added advantage to your gut health that can also benefit you if you would like to lose weight.
There are countless ways to activate your body’s relaxation response. Try exercises that lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Slow and deepen breathing, helps to create an increased sense of well-being. Research has shown that these changes help you fall asleep. Use whatever is available and is best for you.
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