We’re Sleep Deprived and It’s Affecting Our Health!
“For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”
Sleep is something that our modern society have been getting less of. Yet, it is a very important part of overall health. We can get too little or too much. In fact, it is one of the myriad of factors regarding the rising obesity rate.
There are many reasons we need quality sleep. In a recent UK study, the brain needs sleep in that it helps to clear out the junk. This happens literally and not just the mindset stuff either. Much like the lymphatic system needs to be cleaned of junk, so does the so-called “glymphatic system.” That is where sleep comes into play. While we are sleeping (and dreaming) our brains are at work taking out metabolic waste. Part of the waste are the amyloid plaques that are partly responsible for Alzheimer’s disease (though the full cause is still not known).
A second study by researchers at UC Berkeley, released back in August of this year (2013), showed that a lack of sleep led to increased cravings for junk food. When offered a choice of healthy foods versus junk food, the participants of the study who had a sleepless night preferred the junk food.
In both studies, it shows that sleep deprivation increases intake of junk food (and obesity) and decreases the clearing of brain junk. It looks like we are simply becoming more junk filled due to a lack of sleep.
I remember working overnights as a Los Angeles police officer and Winchel’s donuts was part of our normalcy. Yes, we thought that and coffee would help keep us awake and alert. We now know that is a complete fallacy. Obesity is on the rise and a lack of sleep is part of the problem.
When we’re tired, trying to exercise becomes a challenge and it most likely will stay a try and not a do for the great majority of people. Even if you were to exercise, you’re just not going to be at the same level if you had a good night’s sleep. So what can you do?
Here are some suggestions:
- Set a particular time to get to sleep. Same time every night is important.
- Make sure that where you sleep is dark and cool. Light tends to keep us awake or at the very least, create a very light state of sleep. If you’re hot, you’re not going to sleep very well.
- Eliminate noise. Use a white noise machine, if necessary.
- Make sure you bed (or where you sleep) is comfortable for you. That includes the pillow.
- Eliminate distractions, including smart devices and cell phones. The light can simulate day light.
- Exercise will help you to get a better night’s sleep.
- Diet counts. Eliminate processed foods and sugars.
- Do relaxation exercises and deep breathing. Meditation is also effective at resting the mind.
- Focus on being in the present more. Eliminate intrusive thoughts, including anxiety and stress-related ones. Self-hypnosis helps. So does journaling.
Those are few effective ways to help you get a good night’s sleep. Practice them and make sure to take care of you. Sleep is a critical aspect of optimal health and fitness.