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My husband and I are excitedly awaiting the arrival of our third baby in a few weeks, so I wanted to let you know that I will be on maternity leave for the next couple of months. Even though my husband and I will undoubtedly suffer the sleep deprivation that most new parents experience, hopefully it will be possible for you to take steps in the direction of consistently enjoying refreshing sleep!
Sleep for mental and physical health
In 'Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams” author Matthew Walker shares research about the health benefits of getting enough shut-eye. Walker explains how sleep is pivotal for human health, well-being and longevity. The main purpose and benefit of sleep is to ignite and support brain and body health each and every day, according to Walker.
Consequences of sleep deprivation
Consistently skimping on sleep often has major consequences to health, job performance, relationships and overall happiness, including a decrease in brain function and weight management.
Renew, Reset & Repair
During deep sleep, your body is able to repair cellular activity. If you are chronically sleep-deprived, you are more likely to have a weakened immune system, warns Dr. Deepak Chopra, best-selling author, teacher and co-founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing.
One of the biggest risks for cardiovascular disease and premature death is lack of sleep, he said. During deep sleep, your body releases accumulated stress and toxins while it self-regulates and repairs cellular activity. If you're perpetually sleep-deprived, you likely to have a weakened immune system and chronic inflammation, which is associated with many diseases, including Alzheimer's, obesity, fibromyalgia, digestive disorders and some kinds of cancer.
Getting Enough sleep
Research shows that consistently getting about eight hours of sleep each night (without drugs or induced by alcohol) is absolutely essential and a foundation of good health.
But when you get it is important too. The best high-quality sleep can be obtained by keeping your sleep cycle in tune with the rhythms of the universe, known as circadian rhythms. This means going to bed by 10 p.m. and waking at 6 a.m.
Healthy Sleep habits
Good sleep hygiene is important. These are the habits that encourage better rest.
' Create a relaxing bedtime routine
to signal your body that it's time for sleep: warm bath, wash face, brush teeth, read a book, etc.
' Put your phone, computer or tablets away at least an hour before bedtime.
The high-intensity light from electronics stimulates your brain and hinders the production and release of melatonin, a hormone that triggers sleepiness.
' Research says that getting about eight hours of sleep
most nights is essential for good health.
' Enjoy sunlight and bright lights during waking hours
and do what you can to keep your bedroom as dark as possible during rest.
' If troubling thoughts are keeping you awake, try journaling before bed or create a list of things you are grateful for
while in bed. Thinking about the people and things you are grateful for can lessen your stressful feelings, as research suggests that our brains cannot focus on positive and negative stimuli at the same time.
Bottom Line: Consistently getting eight hours of quality sleep has the ability to improve one's physical, mental and emotional health. Sweet dreams!
Kylie Alger is a certified wellness coach and co-owner of the Well-Woman: Body, Mind & Spirit. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org