We Need Our Sleep
Sleep is not merely a waste of productive time. Sleep is a necessary part of your overall health. We need 8 hours of sleep each night for optimal health. Lack of proper sleep can lead to a decline in mental and physical health including: reduced cognitive function, memory loss, weight gain, obesity, depression, headaches, anxiety, accidents, diabetes, decreased immune function, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer and lack of emotional control. A lack of sleep also exacerbates chronic illnesses already present.
While we sleep, our body goes into a detox, repair and mental and immunological integration faze. Without sleep we miss out on all of these processes.
Sleep For Better Brain Health
Sleep makes you smarter. While we sleep, and as we dream, our brain sews together (integrates) the pieces of our experiences into memories, discovers the rules for our lives and fosters insight. Studies have shown that students performed better on problem solving and memory and recall tests when given a chance to sleep on it. Our brain strategizes and figures out answers to our problems and possible paths of action and the meaning of our lives while we sleep. A lack of this process can lead to lack of mental health including depression.
In order to get good sleep we need complete darkness. Light at night disrupts our anti-cancer, melatonin production. It is for this reason that shift work is listed as a possible carcinogen. Blue light emitted from fluorescent and LED lights are not healthy for us during the night. Using blue-light blockers on technology, blue light blocker glasses and incandescent lights at night will help with this.
Stay In Sync With The Sun
Ideally to synchronize our biological clocks, we should be rising with the sun, being exposed to natural sunlight during the day and darkness at night. Spending daylight hours outdoors will help with this, especially at high noon, so taking a walk on our lunch break is a great idea. Not only that, but spending time outdoors in nature also helps with good quality sleep.
Shutting off all electronics and stopping work 1 or 2 hours before bed can help with a good nights sleep. Doing activities that help you to relax and wind down will also help you sleep. Have a hot bath, listen to relaxation recordings, read something uplifting or write in your gratitude journal and have a good nights sleep.