Why Sleep?

While, as humans, we may look and act differently, for the most part (excluding abnormalities) we all need the right amount of sleep to be truly healthy.

In order to be at our optimal level of health there are certain steps that each of us must take when making lifestyle choices. One of these steps is ensuring that we get enough sleep. Because our lives are now significantly busier than families 20 years ago, we often forgo sleep in order to accomplish the things that are important to us. However, if we are not getting the required 7-9 hours of sleep; our bodies pay the price. 1 in 3 of us is actually sleep deprived. This means that we are experiencing the health effects of too little sleep. Although we may not agree with this, the truth is our bodies are giving us signals.

Let’s start with the basics. During sleep our bodies repair the damage done throughout the day. This crucial process allows us to heal our moods, brains (how we think), our memory, and keeps our immune system our endocrine system functioning at an optimal level. When we do not get enough sleep we leave ourselves open to accidents, (sleep deprivation has been linked to over 100,000 motor vehicle crashes) and diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.

I have met more than my fair share of stubborn clients who believe they are functioning at optimal with less than 6 hours of sleep and the fact is that is nearly impossible. Our human bodies are created the same. Many health practitioners believe that sleep may be one of the indicators that impact recovery from injury and cancer (and other diseases.) We all wonder why some people recover better than others. Perhaps we should study their sleep habits.

More interesting is the fact that most Americans do not even consider discussing their sleep health with their doctor. So while 1 in 3 of us has an issue, less than 20% of us would ever consider its impact on our health.

When we have a week where we are getting up earlier every day, our bodies will require that we make that sleep up to perform at optimum. Recent studies show that when you deprive a person of even 1 hour of sleep each day for a week, there is a measurable difference in their performance and in how they feel.

If you have kids – they need even more sleep – to be performing at optimal with 9.5 hours being the minimum recommendation for a teenager. This will absolutely impact performance in school and in extracurricular activities.

I have educated myself further in at least 8 different sleep disorders. This stems beyond making the conscious decision to not sleep enough. Sleep disorders seem to affect the quality of our sleep. Because we need to spend a certain amount of time in REM sleep; when we are experiencing a sleep disorder – even if we are in bed enough hours, we can still suffer from significant ill health effects. Some of the most well-known sleep dis-orders are:

Sleep Apnea – in laymen’s terms this is when someone stops breathing – usually also while snoring.

Restless Leg Syndrome – when folks experience pain or uncomfortable feelings in legs when lying down.

Automatic behavior – when someone gets up and performs tasks (eating, etc.) while in a stage of sleep.

There are more, but the point I am trying to make is that these disorders disrupt sleep; disrupting important physical healing time. A person not receiving the right amount of sleep will have issues with weight loss, exercise, energy, depression, and even job performance.

In my mind this should be one of the first steps that you take when starting your wellness program – a sleep evaluation. Start by asking your loved ones if you are a sound sleeper, then begin to evaluate the conditions in your bedroom. We need the following conditions to get our proper rest:

–          Dark

–          Quiet

–          Temperature control

–          Smell (this is why essential oils can be effective)

–          Hygiene (yes, going to bed clean and with a clean mouth can help)

–          An uncluttered mind

The first 5 seemingly are the easiest for us to control and are common sense, yet quite possibly the last one (an uncluttered mind) is the most important. It is absolutely essential that people who deal with a cluttered mind try to write down the issues they are feeling and thinking about before sleep. The act of organizing our minds can bring about sound sleep. For the majority of people, writing down issues so that we can deal with them the next day allows us to open ourselves to some mind peace (as I like to call it).

Lastly, I must advocate that if you do suffer from a sleep disorder that you set an appointment immediately with a medical professional, and in some cases even get a sleep study completed. Our sleep is that important! I have read multiple success stories, and been involved with clients where sound sleep brings on complete removal of depression, weight loss, improved energy, and even improvements in medical conditions like diabetes. There is no time like the present. So, if you or a loved one is suffering from a sleep disorder; address it today.

To hear more about which essential oils can help you get a good night’s rest, listen to my podcast.