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Why Is Sleep Good For You?

There have been lots of debate about the importance of sleep and how many hours we need each night. Well, recent research suggests humans need eight hours a night to get good quality sleep and reduce our impact of chronic disease. According to Professor Mathew Walker, sleep deprivation lowers our performance and productivity, ration decision-making, memory recall, emotional control, and immune function. In extreme cases, chronic sleep deprivation can result in death while impaired sleep is associated with an increased risk of infections and road trauma.

Sleep consolidates memory and learning and allows the brain to process the day’s events objectively It is thought in people experiencing Post-traumatic disorder that during this process the associated emotion is not switched off so the thoughts and event are not processed objectively.

There are basically two types of sleep patterns which cycle throughout the night with a lighter awakening period. NREM (non-rapid eye movement) and REM (Rapid eye movement)

In the REM phase new neural pathways are formed as well as dreams and problem-solving.

In NREM phase sleep memories are edited and transferred from short to long term memory while growth hormone and the parasympathetic nervous system is activated. Research also suggests that during this phase the brain has lymphatic cells which shrink and allow the brain to remove fluid. Sleeping medication is thought to affect this phase according to Professor Mathew Walker and that people are sedated and don’t actually sleep.

Sleep Hygiene Tips

  • It’s important to go to bed and rise at the same time, reduce wakening and get eight hours sleep.

  • Reduce stimulants such as caffeine and none after midday

  • Limit alcohol to two glasses at lunchtime or ensure the alcohol has been metabolised before retiring.

  • Ensure that you have several alcohol free days per week.

  • Limit blue spectrum light on your phone in the evening as it can switch off melatonin which keeps you asleep.

  • Your room should also be dark, cool and noise-free.

  • Exercise regularly but within three hours of bed.

  • Don’t use alarms if you can avoid them as this can cause a fright response.

  • Avoid large meals before bed.

Still Having Trouble?

There are a number of herbal remedies which your naturopath can prescribe dependant on your need to aid getting to sleep and/or staying asleep.

Kinesiology can also be a useful tool where there has been trauma or chronic stress which is preventing you from having restorative sleep.

Call 0404 470 497 now to find out how we can help or make an appointment right HERE.

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