When it comes to sleep, it’s often overlooked. While many tend to focus more on healthy diets, and an active lifestyle, it may shock you that sleep might take the crown as the most vital element of them all. The influence of sleep extends across our entire body, with the ability to enhance our cognitive function, mood, and immune system, among other notable functions.
What’s Happening When We’re Sleeping?
While you sleep, your body is actually hard at work. It goes through a series of routines to make sure our bodies are recovering and are prepared for the next day. There are four different stages of sleep:
- Stage 1 (N1) – Awake
- Stage 2 (N2) – Light Sleep
- Stage 3 (N3) – Deep Sleep
- Stage 4 – REM Sleep
Each stage repeats itself during your sleep, and each stage has its own purpose. The first three stages are non-Rapid Eye Movement (non-REM) sleep. Stage 1 is typically short and occurs when you are falling asleep. Stage 2 is where your mind and body start slowing down and settle into sleep mode. You’re more likely to awaken during Stage 1 & 2 sleep. Stage 3, known as the Deep Sleep mode, is perhaps the most important stage of them all. This is when the body fully slows down and is in recovery mode. Stage 4 is REM sleep, where your body and mind act as if they’re awake. This is when dreams occur, as your brain is more active.
How The Right Sleep Will Heal You
We know that sleep is crucial to our health and wellness, and attaining quality sleep is even more important, but what are the actual benefits of sleep?
A Sharper Brain
- During deep sleep, our brainwaves slow down, which helps to prepare our cognitive functions for enhances focus, clarity and memory consolidations.
- Quality sleep plays a pivotal role in bolstering robust brain plasticity.
- Recent studies have shown that sleep deprivation may lead to brain shrinkage, Alzheimer’s Disease, and dementia.
A Healthier Heart & Cardiovascular System
- While asleep, your blood pressure and heart rate falls, meaning your heart is working less. This is because during sleep, your parasympathetic system takes over, allowing your heart some respite, especially during deep sleep.
- High blood pressure is the highest leading cause of heart disease and stroke, which makes it ever more important to grant your heart and body some rest.
A Stronger Immune System
- Immune cells are mostly produced during sleep. Additionally, researchers have found that towards the end of the night, immune cells transfer from the blood to lymphoid organs where viral pathogens are.
- If sufficient sleep is not met, the creation and transfer of these immune cells are jeopardized, thus explaining why people who are sleep deprived tend to get sick more easily.
Hormonal Balance + Improved Mood
- Hormones are released through the endocrine system to regulate our body. They have the ability to influence our appetite, growth, metabolism, mood and even heart rate.
- Almost all hormones are released based on your circadian rhythm, thus a disruption will alter your bodily functions.
- Cortisol, your stress hormone, is especially linked to your sleep quality. If you are well rested, your stress levels will decrease. Meaning your cortisol will release normally, which will then set off your other critical hormones such as thyroid and estrogen.
- Poor sleep can negatively impact the release of cortisol, which has a domino effect on the rest of the hormone releases and body.
How to Achieve Better Sleep?
It may sound easy, but how do we actually attain better sleep? Did you know that there are scientifically proven methods to achieve better sleep quality? Let’s dive in!
Having a set sleeping schedule: Have you ever experienced the aftermath of an all-nighter? Enduring a week of recovery while battling the persistent grogginess and fatigue? That’s a perfect example of short-term sleep deprivation and what happens to your body when your circadian rhythm is disturbed. For this reason, it’s important to set specific times to let your body sleep, rest, and reset. The recommended amount of sleep hours is between 7-9 per night – try to find a time that works for you and stick to it. The key is consistency!
Relaxing Techniques: Experts suggest you should start preparing your mind and body for bed an hour early. Try taking a hot bath, practicing meditation, or incorporating a nighttime skin routine, whichever brings more tranquility to your mind! Some people find yoga and light exercising to be a great way to loosen the body and prepare for a full night’s sleep. For addition support, try a few drops of CBD Sleep Oil ahead of time to expedite and improve your sleep.
Watch Your Intake: Try not to indulge in too many liquids before bed to avoid getting up during the middle of the night. Especially caffeinated or alcoholic drinks before bed may keep you awake or diminish your quality of rest throughout the night. Instead, indulge in some CBD Gummies to relax your brain for rest. Take some after dinner, or an hour or two before bed as a treat!
Create a Peaceful Environment: Some people experience improved sleep as they become more attuned to their current environments. It is recommended to create a cozy and dark environment. Before going to bed, you can try dimming the lights or opting for a light night. Installing some opaque blinds to effectively block out light is an excellent choice for achieving a restful and undisturbed sleep. Avoid screens or any type of blue light before bed! Some even recommend having your screens in a completely separate room, so that your mind is fully prepared for sleep. Instead of doom scrolling, try opting for a book or light activity instead!
A good night’s sleep is so much more than simply resting for a few hours. Beyond that, it’s your body’s intricate process of repairing and preparing itself for the next day. Quality sleep not only strengthens your body but, your mental well-being as well. Try out some of the sleep enhancing techniques, for a stronger, healthier and more vibrant you!