Getting your “beauty rest” isn’t just about looking refreshed in the morning. It is about recharging your entire body! The benefits of consistently sleeping 7-9 hours per night include:
Stress reduction – a sleep deprived person produces more stress hormones which can cause high blood pressure.
Being more energized and alert – these qualities help a person to make better choices when faced with a dilemma (whether it is about food or something else).
Less inflammation in the body – lack of sleep raises the level of inflammation from the increased stress hormones. Inflammation has been associated with cancer and diabetes.
A healthier heart – lack of sleep has been associated with high blood pressure and cholesterol, both are risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
Possible weight loss – when the body doesn’t get enough sleep, more of the hunger-causing hormones, leptin and ghrelin, are released which can promote over-eating.
Reduce the risk of depression – adequate sleep regulates serotonin. Sleep deprivation may cause lower levels of serotonin which can lead to depression.
Self-repair of the body – during sleep your cells produce more protein molecules. The molecules are building blocks for cells so they can repair damage caused by UV rays, stress, and other harmful exposure.
Getting to bed early isn’t the problem, falling asleep is!
One issue that has been brought up many times in my wellness coaching sessions is that people find it hard to fall asleep. This is not surprising! There are a few culprits including scheduling ourselves from the moment we wake up until the minute we get into bed and, this is probably the biggest culprit, electronics usage.
Electronics – your TV, mobile phone, computer, tablet – all emit a blue light that doesn’t allow your melatonin level to rise. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin increases naturally when it becomes dark outside which helps your body get ready for rest. Blue light that is emitted from electronics does not allow the melatonin level to rise. So, while you are lying in bed relaxing and looking at your phone, the opposite effect is happening. Some electronics have a “Night Shift” option that adjusts the color from blues to warmer colors (yellows) which can lessen the blue light emitted.
While using a “Night Shift” mode is better than using nothing, my suggestion is to put down the electronics entirely at least one hour before bedtime. Use this time to take a bath, read a book, meditate, or talk with your partner. I also recommend incorporating lavender into your bedtime routine (see my blog post on lavender) to reduce stress before bed and improve the quality of your sleep.
With consistent “beauty rest” each night, you will feel mentally and physically healthier, and that is a beautiful feeling!