Last Updated on June 29, 2022 by Rebecca Huff
Sleep is vital to your health. Everyone requires sleep but some of us are barely getting enough to get by. During sleep, our body does the important work of detoxification.
Without enough sleep, your body will suffer. That's because even if you eat right, exercise, lower toxins in your environment and all the steps for good health and you don't get enough quality sleep your health and well-being will still suffer. If you are a chronic poor sleeper it could even lead to early death. That is just how vital it is to get the proper amount of sleep.
In fact, your brain is doing a major clean up job while you are sleeping!
Study reveals brain ‘takes out the trash’ while we sleep
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center,
what amounts to a plumbing system that piggybacks on the brain’s blood vessels and pumps cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) through the brain’s tissue, flushing waste back into the circulatory system where it eventually makes its way to the general blood circulation system and, ultimately, the liver.
This removal of waste from the brain is essential where the toxic proteins such as the ones which lead to Alzheimer’s disease can build up.
“The brain only has limited energy at its disposal and it appears that it must choice between two different functional states – awake and aware or asleep and cleaning up,” said Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc.,. “You can think of it like having a house party. You can either entertain the guests or clean up the house, but you can’t really do both at the same time.”
Another startling finding was that the cells in the brain “shrink” by 60 percent during sleep. This contraction creates more space between the cells and allows CSF to wash more freely through the brain tissue. In contrast, when awake the brain’s cells are closer together, restricting the flow of CSF.
Hormone production peaks during sleep
While we are sleeping our hormone production kicks in. During sleep, our pineal gland which is responsible for the production of necessary hormones is busy at work. Human growth hormone, melatonin, and even sex hormones are replenished while we are sleeping. If you are trying to conceive, it is very important for both mother and father to get sufficient sleep each night.
Skin damage is repaired while we sleep
While sleeping, cell production increases allowing repair of damage from environmental factors such as UV rays. This is most likely where the idea of “beauty sleep” comes from. Daytime naps will not do the repair to our skin that night time sleep allows. The energy necessary for cell production is not available during daytime naps.
It's okay to take naps during the day, of course, just don't try to make up for chronic poor sleep habits! Napping in the afternoon can also interfere with your sleep cycles, so keep it short and sweet!
Our immune system needs sleep for peak performance
There's a reason you sleep more when you are sick. It's because sleeping aids recovery! Getting enough sleep can help your body resist infection while sleep deprivation actually could lower your levels of white blood cells necessary for your body to fight off infections!
Sleep is necessary for weight control
If you find it hard to lose excess pounds or maintain your ideal weight it could be that your metabolism has been affected due to sleep deprivation. When your body is deprived of sleep your body get's things mixed up…Leptin, the satiety hormone ends up going down while sleeping and ghrelin, the hunger hormone, rises.
It's important to explore the reasons you may not be getting a good night's sleep so that you can remedy the problem. Here are a few of the reasons you may not be getting your nightly sleep detox:
- Too much light in the bedroom (including appliance lights from fans, tv's, DVD players, and other electronics) If you can see your hand in front of your face it's too light. Create an Oasis for sleep in your bedroom!
- Temperature is not right. Sleeping in a room that is too hot can hinder quality sleep. Try dropping the temperature down at night. Experts recommend 60-68 degrees for optimal sleep. I have found 66 is the lowest I can go without complaint from the family. Levels of melatonin go up as the body temperature falls, to produce feelings of sleepiness. When it is time for us to wake up levels of melatonin go down as the body temperature rises slightly.
- Drinking caffeine or alcohol too late in the day.
- Your body is low in Magnesium.
- Sleeping in clothing that is restrictive or tight. Many people have found that sleeping naked actually improves sleep quality.
- You are working so much you can't go to bed until it's all done. The more you skip sleep, the harder it will be to get things done. Lack of focus is often caused by mild sleep deprivation!
- The kids are keeping you up. Teach your children to follow a bedtime routine and also teach them good sleep habits for kids! (Download my free Sleep Hygiene Handout for kids)
- Good Sleep Hygiene is not your favorite subject! If you aren't sleeping enough, why not study up and make your goal to get the best quality sleep possible?
If you suffer from difficulty sleeping try a few of my favorite Sleep Inducing Products:
- Sleep Well Herbal Tea – a calming delicious blend of
- Salt Therapy Pillow can help to relax you after a stressful day!
- Stress Relief Bath Soak can also help to wash away the cares of the day before you get ready for your daily sleep detox!
- The warm glow of a Salt Lamp will not only be a warm soft light in the time leading up to “lights out” but it also can improve respiration and a helps many people get more restful sleep.
- A high-quality mattress that meets your particular needs! (it is recommended to replace your mattress at least every seven years.)