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Why Sleep is Essential to Wellbeing

Sleep is something everyone does, though some get more than others! Along with food and water, sleep is crucial to everyone’s wellbeing and the effects that lack of sleep can have on the body can be extremely detrimental to both physical and mental health.

This piece will discuss why sleep is essential to well-being, and how better quality can be encouraged.

What Happens to the Body When it is Asleep?

Sleep is so essential, but what does it help the body do? 

During sleep, the body uses this time of rest to repair and refuel the body. This can be anything from repairing muscles, blood vessels, or injuries. 

Sleep also has an important role in conserving energy, as the metabolic rate drops during that time, along with calorific needs.

Depending on age, sleep plays an important role in development too. Children's and teen's growth and development heavily rely on sleep. However, no matter what age, lack of good quality sleep can have an extremely detrimental effect on the body and mind.

What Happens to the Brain when we Sleep?

Sleep is crucial for the rest of the mind. When the body is asleep, the brain is still at work, forming new neuropathways to help someone remember what they have learned on that day.

Sleep also allows the brain to clear out waste and toxins that have built up during the day and enables cells to reorganize, which facilitates healthy brain function.

Interestingly, sleep has a direct impact on different areas of the brain, such as the hippocampus and the amygdala, which all control important roles such as hunger, concentration, emotions, and temperature.

Those who go without good quality sleep can also experience sluggishness and confusion, as sleep is responsible for how the neurons in the brain respond to each other. 

How Can Sleep be Improved? 

There are many ways that sleep can be aided, which is good news for those who feel like they don’t get enough. 

Improve nutrition 

Nutrition, or also lack thereof, can have a damning effect on the ability to get to sleep. It can also affect the quality of sleep and the length of sleep someone can obtain. 

Vitamins and minerals such as potassium, Vitamin B, and Vitamin D all play crucial roles in sleep production and quality. These vitamins can be found in food such as bananas, leafy vegetables, oily fish, whole grains, and eggs.

Reduce stimulants 

Stimulants are well known for causing havoc when it comes to sleep, even if they are not used before bed! Stimulants such as alcohol, caffeine-based drinks such as coffee or cola, tobacco, or large amounts of food before bedtime can all disrupt sleep. Alcohol and caffeine stimulate the mind, whereas a large meal stimulates the intestine, meaning it has to prioritize digesting over resting.

Try natural supplements

Natural supplements have long been hailed as an effective route to treating sleep issues.

Herbs such as valerian root are known to be an ancient Greek treatment for anxiety, which is now commonly used in teas and supplements before bedtime to help encourage sleepiness and relaxation. Flowers such as lavender and chamomile also have calming benefits. Chamomile is also often consumed as a tea, whereas lavender is used for its scent which is known to hold calming properties. 

Because of the sleep quality the citizens of America experience, there is a huge issue that needs to be addressed. This could explain the booming health and wellness sector, constantly on the move to find new means of increasing calmness. Most recently, CBD oil has come into the limelight for offering a whole host of potential benefits, and one of those benefits could be improving sleep.

CBD oil (cannabidiol oil) is extracted from the natural hemp plant and can be used in tinctures, rubs, and edibles.

Focus on Exercise

It is well known that exercise is one of the main recommended means for improving sleep, but what exercise and what time of the day it is done can make a big difference to the impact it has on sleep. For example, lifting weights or doing an intense workout just before bed will more than likely make the body and the mind feel energized rather than ready to wind down. Whereas, a high impact exercise around morning to lunchtime and a simple yoga routine in the evening should leave the body significantly worn out and ready for a deep slumber.

Put down the phone

Words that are said time and time again are “avoid using screens before bed”. But why is this? The light that is emitted from technological devices tells the brain it is still daytime — in other words, it is still time to be awake, up and about — which is linked to the circadian rhythms. Putting down the phone a few hours before bed helps the brain prepare for ‘night-time’, which signals the release of sleepy hormones to relax the body. 

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