The importance of sleep

Ending your day the right way is equally as important as how you started it… Sleep is one of the most important things we can do in our lives. It’s not uncommon for us to say especially when we are young ‘’ oh I don’t need any sleep’’ ‘’few hours is good for me’’ but there’s a vital reason why we spend roughly 1/3 of our lives sleeping. It’s essential, like drinking, breathing, eating it’s all incredibly important for our mental and physical health. While we sleep our bodies are repairing, healing, resting and in little ones it’s an important time for growth and development. How we feel in the day often reflects on how we rested the night/previous nights before and it can eventually take its toll on us mentally and physically when we don’t get adequate rest. Heath and sleep go hand in hand and paying attention, memory recall, learning, even those everyday chores and jobs are made worse by poor sleep. There is an intimate relationship between sleep and many psychological conditions for example, depression, anxiety and psychosis. Not to mention the toll it can take on us physically as well, we all know the term beauty sleep and it truly is the most affordable way we can care for our skin. This month I’m going to be covering all basis of sleep; how you can maximise it, how important it is and some ways that you can support yourself to achieve that much needed rest.

Melatonin the sleep hormone

There’s so many things that we can do to support our bodies ready for a peaceful night’s sleep and one of them is helping the body with melatonin production. We have an internal body clock that typically has a 24-hour repeating rhythm (called the circadian rhythm) you may have heard of this and two processes interact to control this rhythm. The first is a pressure to sleep that builds with every hour that you’re awake. This drive for sleep reaches a peak in the evening, when most of us fall asleep. A second process involves your internal body clock. This clock is in sync with certain cues in the environment. Light, darkness, and other cues help determine when you feel awake and when you feel tired. That’s why you can sometimes feel a little sleepy when you step out of a darkened cinema for example! Our body is always releasing chemicals and very cleverly when it gets dark a hormone called melatonin is released and is signalling for your body to prepare to sleep…
Melatonin then begins to peak as the evening unfolds, that’s why you really feel it if you’re up past your usual body clocks bedtime! Your body is quite literally signally for you to get your rest. Melatonin is often why I advise clients to have a zero phone, tv, computer, tablet/ipad policy at least an hour or so before bed. I know how hard it is were all guilty of a quick scroll before sleep but it’s so important to try and shut off from all technical devices as these bright artificial lights can really mess with our melatonin levels and hinder sleep. Check your surroundings before bed, make sure that that bright fluorescent alarm clock is facing away from you; you’ve unplugged a tv at the main socket (If you have one in your bedroom) if your charge your phone by your bed be sure to pop it on airplane mode and keep away from your body.