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We all know that sleep is good for us, but do you REALLY know why it is good for you? The benefits of good sleep are vital and it plays a critical role in promoting overall health. Sleep is first and foremost a behaviour, it primarily affects the brain and the immune system.

I don’t know about you, but I feel so much better when a I have a good sleep. I feel that I can conquer the day with whatever it throws at me.  However, if I have a bad night’s sleep then I seem to struggle during the day and not be able to concentrate, what about you?

Sleep is a biological drive – the drive to sleep.

Why is it important: –

  • healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels
  • improves and restores your immune function
  • helps regulate your metabolism
  • improves your concentration and productivity
  • maximises your athletic ability
  • affects social and emotional interactions
Sleep - Why is it good for you?

Side effects of bad sleep: –

  1. memory issues
  2. mood changes
  3. weakened immunity
  4. risk for diabetes
  5. low sex drive
  6. risk of heart disease
  7. low sex drive repeated (maybe you intended to?!)
  8. poor balance
  9. weight gain
  10. high blood pressure
  11. accidents
  12. trouble with thinking and concentration

Benefits of good sleep: –

  1. ability to learn and retain information
  2. helps us memorize
  3. make logical decisions and choices
  4. inspires creativity
  5. restocks the armoury of our immune system, helping fight malignancy, preventing infectious and warding off a manner of sicknesses
  6. reforms the metabolic state by fine-tuning the balance of insulin and circulating glucose
  7. regulates our appetite, helping control body weight through healthy food selection rather than rash impulsivity
  8. maintains a flourishing microbiome within your gut from where our nutritional health begins
  9. intimately tied to the fitness of our cardiovascular system, lowering the blood pressure while keeping in fine condition

Tips for better sleep: –

  1. Dim the lights in the house and keep all the blinds open until the sun goes down, make sure that your eyes see the change from light to dark – this activates your melatonin and gets your cycle ready for a good night’s sleep
  2. Avoid caffeine, that includes chocolate too close to bed
  3. Diffuse essential oils that promote sleep such as lavender
  4. Make sure your bedroom has good ventilation
  5. No screens at least 2 hours before bed

Some foods and drinks that may help with sleep: –

  1. Handful of nuts, for example almonds and walnuts help boost serotonin levels in the brain and are excellent source of magnesium and tryptophan.
  2. Herbal tea such as chamomile, ginger and peppermint.

As sleep is a habit, try and address some of the behaviours that you may have adopted and hopefully you can improve your sleep and be more productive throughout the day. Sleep is an investment into your overall health.

Article written by Dr Kristy Buist (Osteopath, Director & Mentor)

References:

Book – Why We Sleep. Matthew Walker. The new science of sleep and dreams.https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/food-and-drink-promote-good-nights-sleep