Sweet Dreams – The Healing Power of Sleep

Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. — Thomas Dekker

We often wrongly see sleep as a period when our bodies shut down. However, it is actually the time when the body and the mind are the most active. 

During this period, we consolidate memories, renew energy, process everything we went through during the day, repair tissues, and boost our immunity. Unfortunately, sleep is the first thing most of us will renounce to catch up with our numerous chores and responsibilities. 

We’re here to convince you never to give up on your dreams – because you need about eight hours of those every night.

Maintaining brain function

We need, on average, three hours a day for our brains to perform minimal cognitive functions. But, if you, like most people, have tasks that require focus and attention, three hours are not nearly enough. For legitimate problem-solving capabilities, you will need a minimum of seven hours of shuteye. 

However, the quantity of sleep is not the only thing that matters. There is also quality. 

For a proper night of sleep, you need a supportive mattress and a pillow and a quiet, dark room free of distractions. If you have any problem that could affect the quality of your sleep, such as sleep interruptions, getting up to use the bathroom or drink water, you’ll want to address this first. 

Many of these problems are easy to solve, and some are very likely caused by mouth breathing while you sleep. People are reporting improved sleep quality after using mouth tape, meditating, or having a calming bedtime routine (warm bath, reading a book, etc.). 

Boosting the immune system

The immune system story is more relevant than ever in today’s circumstances when the entire world is battling the new coronavirus. According to WebMD a lack of sleep may make people more susceptible to getting sick. To remain healthy, it is recommended to get seven to eight hours of sleep. 

Naps can also help, but be sure there are no more than two of those and that they don’t take longer than 30 minutes.

Giving your skin a special glow

You’ve probably noticed that whenever you don’t get enough sleep, your skin has a special way of showing that to the world. 

Sleep deprivation, both chronic and acute, takes a toll on your entire body, including its biggest organ – the skin. A 2018 study revealed that people who didn’t get enough sleep have dark circles around the eyes, red eyes, as well as pale and wrinkled skin. All of the listed justifies the term “beauty sleep” we often use when we talk about getting eight hours of Z’s.

The path to a healthy heart

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention writes that quality sleep (remember what we’ve mentioned above) is critical for a healthy heart. There is a link between losing sleep and various health issues, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart conditions. 

Maintaining a healthy weight

Sleep deprivation is often associated with food cravings, and no one craves for a heart-healthy salad. No, usually when we’re losing sleep and feeling down, we reach for comfort foods, such as chocolate, deep-fried meals, and other sugar- and carb-packed dishes. Getting a full night’s sleep is the foundation of a healthy weight and good dietary choices.

Other aspects where sleep is essential 

Adults who are not getting their seven hours of sleep are more likely to have decreased sexual interest and performance. The reason behind this may be because we need sleep to maintain hormonal balance. Good sleep is also associated with liver health (synchronizing the liver clock) and skeletal system health (critical for healthy bone marrow).

How to sleep better?

Now that you understand the healing power of sleep, you will require a guide on how to get the amount and quality of sleep you need.

  • Go to a regular doctor’s checkup to see if you have any health issues that can be connected with losing sleep.
  • When you rule out certain medical conditions, assess the amount of stress you are exposed to. Try to deal with stress by exercising, practicing yoga, meditating, etc. 
  • Improve sleep hygiene by keeping a regular bedtime schedule, transforming your bedroom into a sleep-inducing environment, and avoiding pre-bedtime distractions.
  • Use mouth taping if you have problems with mouth breathing during the night.

Final word

Sleep is far more complex than we give it credit. While there are still some aspects of it we don’t understand, we do know it is imperative for health, recovery, and performance.