The Power of Sleep
Do you consider sleep to be an essential part of your life? For some, sleep is a necessity that they would much rather do without. However, putting sleep first can be easier said than done. The world we live in today can be a trigger that does not allow us to optimize sleep time. We have 24/7 global communication, with some people working in totally different time zones than what they live in. Having global communication allows us to connect with anyone at any time, be it a friend on the other side of the globe or a work colleague.
For some, sleep can be seen as a luxury and not a necessity. We have a community of people who work their regular job and then add a side hustle into the mix that can take them away from a time they usually sleep. Then if you add children into the mix, or even a pet that contributes to you having a broken sleep pattern from their nighttime antics, you can wake feeling like you’ve not slept.
Have you thought about how a lack of sleep affects your body? You can see it in new parents who can look a little shell shocked with their new 24-hour role of a newborn. You can see how sleep has just as much impact as diet and exercise has on our health. Insufficient sleep impacts our health and wellbeing when it comes to daily habits that affect performance; sleep is critical to ensure you are operating at your best ability.
Sleep impacts mood, cognitive function, the ability to focus and remember things; it can even impact our immune system. Good sleep is fundamental for good health; while you’re sleeping, your body is in repair mode, repairing and growing new cells. Both muscle repair and tissue growth happen whilst we sleep; this is an excellent reason to sleep after exercising daily. Recovery and fitness rely on good sleep; the body cannot repair and recover fully, resulting in slower progress with your fitness levels.
When you sleep, you consolidate your memory and store new information learnt throughout your day. Lack of sleep can lead to poor clarity and a foggy head due to brain health and function. In addition, we require sleep to support emotional wellbeing, hormones related to appetite and mood; with lack of sleep, the brain can be overstimulated and remain in the ‘flight n fight response, causing anxiety and stress.
Keeping a sleep journal over a few weeks can help you understand how much sleep you are getting each night and how that makes you feel upon waking. In addition, this can allow you to see the correlation between your sleep, mood, and energy levels.
Sleeping well gives you the energy to feel alive; if you want to get the most out of each day, then use your sleep to power up your body. In the clinic, we use acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to help with sleep issues. From a Chinese medicine perspective, the cause for every individual’s sleep patterns is unique; therefore, the treatment is specific for each person. Having a consultation to discuss your sleeping patterns, lifestyle and any issues you may have aids with determining the treatment required to bring your body back into balance. Good sleep hygiene, breathing resources, dietary recommendations, and acupuncture can help you get a better night’s sleep.