|Rest and Sleep: Restore the Power of Your Body!|
|Written by Tracy Kaye Holly|
"Man is ill because he is never still." – Paracelsus
The vast majority of us tend to push the envelope when it comes to sleep. We stay up late working, watching TV or playing video games. The problem with such common nocturnal habits is that they typically rob the body of the time it needs to cleanse, detoxify, repair and rejuvenate. The end result is chronic sleep debt. The body can endure a sleep debt for only so long; if the debt remains unpaid, we suffer and experience the effects of mental and physical bankruptcy.
A good, undisturbed sleep each night, with the bedroom window open if possible, is one of the best things we can do for our health, recovery and complete regeneration of the brain and central nervous system. Insufficient rest can cause fatigue and compromise productivity, but did you know that sleep deprivation can also result in mild personality changes, create problems in relationships, and contribute to memory loss?
Sleep Disturbance and You
If you haven't slept well, you're going to feel tired the next day. Scientists believe sleep disturbance is a common response to changes in our lives, such as trouble at the office or self-induced anxiety as a response to stress. For most of us, normal sleep patterns return after the daytime problem or source of worry goes away or gets better.
There are no hard and fast rules about how much sleep is enough, but to operate at peak efficiency during the day with a sense of vitality, adults need about 7.5 hours each night. Some of us can function on as little as five, while others perform better on nine to ten.
Some people hate going to bed. They feel that sleep is a waste of time and a function of mortal weakness. Perhaps… but like it or not, sleep is a time to achieve balance and restoration. It prepares us for the new day ahead. Sleep provides nourishment to the nervous system, relaxation to our muscles and rest for the mind. The body requires adequate rest and sleep to maintain optimum health and vitality.
Eight Ways to a Good Sleep
Many people have trouble falling asleep at night. If you are one of them, take note of these eight important tips to help you get a more restful sleep. Try to incorporate at least some of them into your daily life.
By using the synergy of these helpful tips, going to bed can be a positive ritual.
Growth Hormone: The Fountain of Youth
Did you know that deep REM sleep provides a stimulus for growth hormone (GH) release? GH is secreted from the pituitary gland and promotes overall strength and vitality. GH stimulates growth in virtually all body tissues, including bone, muscle and organs. Unlike many other hormones, GH has no single target gland, having a somewhat universal effect throughout the body.
GH is especially active during childhood and puberty, but is followed by a sharp reduction in most adults. Observation of this decline is based on representative samples of the Western population, most of whom are overweight, de-conditioned and sedentary. Do you see the connection?
Sleep is essential to the management of body composition and weight. During sleep we release GH in pulse-like rhythmic cycles, which act to reorganize and restore the basic structure of our entire being. For example, let's say your mind and body was a library filled with books scattered about the floor and tables in a complete state of chaos. It would be extremely difficult to find the book you desired, and this experience could lead to great frustration or tremendous anxiety, especially if you were short on time. Instead, imagine walking into a library where all the books are neatly organized on the shelves and in alphabetical order. The environment is tidy, comfortable and suitable for finding the book you need quickly and efficiently. Bottom line: less stress and less cortisol release.
Adequate sleep improves cortisol chemistry and balance. Cortisol is released from the adrenal glands under stress, and excess cortisol released during prolonged mental or emotional stress simply ruins the body and weakens the immune system. During sleep our adrenals are at rest.
If anger, blame, resentment, fear, guilt, jealousy or rage are keeping you awake at night… let it go! Ensure a peaceful mind and body as you drift off to sleep – not always easy to do, but as Scarlet O'Hara once said, "I'm just too tired to think about it right now; I'll think about it in the morning."