Good Sleep Matters!
When you think about what you need to do to feel better, is getting quality sleep on that list? There is a reason our body demands we sleep when we are sick and that children (and adults) are cranky when they are tired. Sleep is a critical aspect of human wellbeing. The times when we sleep deeply are the times when our body is able to take care of itself fixing damage, fighting off infections, growing, and creating new memories etc. When we shortchange our sleep, our body is not able to take care of itself and keep up with the toll of living. Sleep impacts every aspect of your physiology, and accordingly sleep loss has profound negative effects.
Matt Walker is a sleep scientist and prolific TED speaker. In his TED Talk entitled “Sleep is Your Superpower,” he talks about the impacts sleep has on memory, reproductive health, cardiovascular health, and health in general. With his research, he has shown that sleep has measurable benefits when we get enough of it and tangible losses when we do not. Quite literally, Walker says, “The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life.” That is how important it is to sleep well. The culture of all-nighters and waking up early for a meeting being the key to success is not only misleading, it is damaging. Getting quality sleep is one of the first things we sacrifice in the name of productivity and success, and this decision and prioritization works against us in profound ways.
Poor sleep is a critical driver for many diseases of the modern world, and is a disease itself due to all the negative influences it has. The amount of sleep each person needs varies from individual to individual and throughout the life span. That being said, the minimum amount of sleep that the CDC recommends anyone get each night is seven hours. Simply put, four or five hours of sleep a night is not conducive to wellbeing. This is specifically because REM sleep occurs in the second half of your sleep cycle, and if you are not sleeping long enough your body does not have enough time to settle into the healing stages of sleep. You can find more specific information about sleep times here.
In Our Practice
Here at The Healing Space, Dr. Allen Gee holds that, “Sleep is the infrastructure for good health. If it is disrupted the adaptive physiologic systems in the body try to compensate and buffer the negative results. However ultimately lack of sleep leads to aging poorly and exacerbates other diseases such as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, cognitive impairment as well as a dysfunctional immune system and increased risk of cancers and inflammatory diseases.” Because of the importance of sleep, Dr. Gee utilizes sleep studies and has an active sleep lab in The Healing Space in Cody, WY.
We have a right to a full night of sleep, and we owe it to ourselves and others to take care of our bodies and minds to the best of our abilities. Sleep is not something to shortchange. Getting enough sleep is one of the best things you can do for your body and has life-changing effects on your wellbeing.
Interested in learning more?
Check out Matt Walker here.
TED Resources can be found here.
CDC Sleep Resources can be found here.