An increase in the amount and quality of shut-eye
should be at the top of everyone’s New Year’s Resolution list as numerous
studies have proven the physical and emotional
health benefit of getting 7 – 8 hours of sleep per night. This is according
to Doctor Jacques Snyman, clinical advisor for Resolution Health Medical
“Various studies have proven the power of
regular, sufficient and quality sleep with results showing a marked increase in
memory, learning, creativity, productivity, emotional stability and physical
In fact, the Ryerson University of Toronto
found that curing insomnia in people with depression doubled their chance of a
full recovery,” Snyman highlights.
It can even help you to lose weight with a
Brigham Young University study revealing that higher quality sleep of 8.5 hours
a night is associated with a lower body fat percentage.
ways to prevent insomnia
Adverse effect on hormones
“If you don’t maintain a consistent and
unvarying sleeping pattern, it can cause problems with your circadian rhythm,
the 24-hour cycle in the physiological processes of humans. When the body’s
circadian clock is thrown off by external factors, such as a lack of sleep or
jetlag, it has an adverse effect on the hormones and the body’s internal
structure, ultimately affecting weight loss”.
An inadequate amount of sleep can also
result in a number of negative implications for one’s health, including
heart and blood vessel disease and diabetes, as well as possible harmful
effects on mental health.
”Lifestyle plays a significant role in the
development of certain diseases and it is critical for people to understand
that simple changes to their daily routine, such as getting enough sleep,
consuming less alcohol, factoring exercise into their schedule and giving up
smoking, can improve their health and strongly reduce the risk of contracting
certain diseases.” says Snyman.
Your sleep progresses in stages, each of
which is vital to optimum mental and physical health. To get the most out of
each stage, you must allow your body enough time to naturally progress from one
to the other.
The point where you hover between being
awake and asleep is known as stage one of sleep and serves as the lead into
stage two sleep. During this phase you start to become disengaged from your
surroundings and your body temperature starts to drop.
Stage three is your deepest, most
restorative and most important phase. During this stage, blood pressure drops,
breathing becomes slower and blood supply to your muscles increases substantially.
This phase is associated with tissue growth and repairs, energy restoration and
the release of various hormones.
Your first Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep
cycle occurs approximately 90 minutes after falling asleep and reoccurs every
90 minutes thereafter, increasing in length the longer you are asleep. The less
you sleep, the fewer REM cycles you go through. Energy is provided to your body
and brain while your body and muscles are completely relaxed.
– Where possible, stick
to a regular routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time.
– Add a
relaxing pre-sleep ritual into your daily routine. For instance a warm bath, reading a book, or a cup of herbal tea.
– Exercise daily.
– Avoid alcohol,
cigarettes, coffee and heavy meals 2 – 3 hours before bedtime.
– Create a sleep
inducing environment: dark, quiet and cool.
“Getting sufficient sleep is one of the
easiest ways to improve your lifestyle and basic health. Thankfully, it’s a
rather enjoyable activity to add to your New Year’s Resolution list and not
hard to incorporate into your everyday life.” Snyman concludes.
vs. no sleep
sleep leads to...