Sleep serves many purposes that are essential to our brains and bodies. Let’s look at some of the most important ones. The first purpose of sleep is restoration. Every day, our brains accumulate metabolic waste as it goes about its normal neural activities. This is completely normal, but too much accumulation of these waste products has been linked to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Recent research claims while these toxins can be flushed out during awake time in the day studies have found erasure during sleep is as much as double than during waking hours. For a technical description please concentrate for a few seconds: during sleep, brain cells actually shrink by 60 percent, allowing the brain’s waste-removal system called the glymphatic system to interestingly “take out the trash” with far more ease.
Lets look at another function of sleep: Long term memory
Fragmented or a lack of sleep sleep can hamper our ability to form both solid memories such as facts and figures and emotional memories. Keeping and maintaining long term memories and how we adjust to them are an important task of good sleep.
Fat Gain and Muscle Loss
Interestingly, the quality of our sleep affects muscle loss and fat loss in our metabolic health. Author and Sleep expert James Clear writes:
Studies have shown that when you sleep 5.5 hours per night instead of 8.5 hours per night, a lower proportion of the energy you burn comes from fat, while more comes from carbohydrate and protein. This can predispose you to fat gain and muscle loss. Additionally, insufficient sleep or abnormal sleep cycles can lead to insulin insensitivity and metabolic syndrome, increasing your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
All said how can we improve our sleep in today’s busy and sometimes stressful lives?
Melatonin is our body’s sleep hormone which increases at night, sending us to sleep. Smart phones, TV’s, computer screens, and other electronic screens emit a wavelength of light that shuts off melatonin production in our brains. It’s important that a few hours before we want to sleep to turn our electronic screens to ‘night mode’. You can visit EdsSleepGuide.com for an easy way to do this. Night mode works by removing blue light, replacing it with warmer tones. Blue light tells the brain that it’s day time and we should be up and alert. Alternatively, listen to soft music or an audio book before bed – something that’s not to exciting or scary.
Relaxing sleep videos can work like the following sound of rain on a window at night but make sure the screen is in night mode or is pointed away from you so your melatonin levels are not disrupted.
Becoming short tempered and irritable is also another unwanted symptom of poor sleep or not getting enough of it which can be an affect of suppressed melatonin levels.
If you are still having problems every day with poor sleep try adjusting your daily routine. Exercise tires the mind and body. A few hours before bed go for a jog. Try press ups in your home or sit ups after work which will tire muscles and make you look forward to sleep later in the evening. Studies show we shouldn’t do hard exercise before sleep as this will tell our minds and bodies to stay alert and rise our temperatures – something we don’t want as naturally our body temperatures decrease at night.
What shouldn’t we eat and drink before sleep?
Eating a lot before bedtime is not good for sleep as it keeps our bodies alert, working to digest our late night meal. There are certain drinks and food that stimulate our minds, keeping them alert too much, disrupting our sleep patterns. You can guess probably, I am talking about coffee and drinks like Cola that have a lot of caffeine in them. While tea contains caffeine, it’s at a much lower amount, though please check the ingredients of any drink you have doubts about.