Are you getting enough sleep? Experts suggest that adults need at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Even in good times, many of us do not get enough sleep, but during times of stress and anxiety, this may be even harder to achieve.
While the amount of sleep required may vary slightly from person to person, it is important for everyone to allow their body to rest for a substantial amount of time every night in order to maintain proper function of the brain and the body’s major systems. Unfortunately, many adults do not receive the proper amount of sleep each night due to a number of circumstances.
We all know that sleep is important. Sleep deprivation can influence:
• Our ability to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
• Emotions, behaviours, and ability to make decisions
• Learning and motivation levels (in both children and adults)
• The body’s organ systems and overall health
• Reaction time; ability to drive safely
But it's not just the rest part of a good eight hours sleep that is good for you. While you sleep, your brain is busy. What you might not realize is that some parts of your brain-especially those involved in learning and processing information and emotions-do more work while you're asleep than while you're awake.
I was curious to find out what the brain does while we are sleeping. This is what I found:
While you are asleep your brain goes through everything that happened in your day and works out where to store it. This kind of processing and restructuring because it can help with creativity and problem solving.
This is where our experiences and knowledge are committed to memory. All of this happens while we are asleep.
This part of the brain is responsible for regulating stressors and emotions. Emotions are sorted and organised helping you to better handle them in the future. If you are not sleeping well these emotions don’t get properly organised.
And all that is only the brain function that happens while you sleep. The rest of our body is also working hard while we are sleeping. These are just some of the things that are going on every time you sleep.
Your immune system helps your body fight inflammation.
Your body releases human growth hormone which helps to repair damaged tissue and helps to build stronger muscles.
Your body treats lack of sleep as a stressor, producing extra stress hormones like cortisol. And excess cortisol, can lead to fat stores around your belly area (and belly fat is more dangerous than fat in other parts of your body).
Your body does a lot of important work while you’re asleep. Good sleep is vital for your physical and mental health, so if you’re having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, not feeling rested when you wake up or feeling tired during the day,you might need to make some changes. When we sleep, and sleep well, we feel better physically and mentally, and perform better during the day.
Do you think you need to make some changes so that you can get enough sleep to keep your brain and body functioning optimally?
To go into this in more detail, and find out how lack of sleep can also affect your immune system, you might like to check out this free online course which will give you lots of strategies to help you manage your sleep and stress. If anxiety is causing your sleeplessness there is some more information in these posts, Managing stress and anxiety and Ten Strategies for Stressful Times. In the second post I explain how to do something called box breathing. If you have never heard of it, check it out, you'll be glad you did!
If you would like some personalised help with this, book a free 15minute session to find out more about I can help you.
Take care and stay safe