Have you had a hard day at work or with the kids? Turned on the TV or laptop for a bit of downtime, but are now lying in bed, wide-awake, without the faintest idea why your mind is still so alert?
So what causes such mental stimulation when all you want to do is sleep?
Every one of us has this internal clock (gland) that receives information through the eyes in the form of sun or light. As darkness falls, we naturally release a hormone called melatonin and the darker it gets, the more we release.
However, in today’s technical world where we watch more television, check our emails or chat online with friends, we are in fact disrupting this natural, clever function.
With more light being processed through our eyes and more information being received, less melatonin is released which ultimately affects our length and quality of sleep.
But a good night’s shuteye doesn’t only help us feel refreshed; it also plays an integral role in many areas of our lives.
Here are five very good reasons we should all try and sleep like a baby:
Did you know that people who habitually sleep less than six hours per night are much more likely to have a higher than average body mass index (BMI)?
During sleep, our bodies are releasing hormones that actually help to control our appetite!
Several studies have linked insufficient sleep with weight gain.
If you think you can get away with five hours’ sleep or less – think again!
You may be at risk of developing high blood pressure or worsening already high blood pressure.
So how does sleep help? It allows your blood to regulate stress hormones which actually help your nervous system remain efficient.
Just a couple of extra hours of sleep will assist in the prevention of high blood pressure.
Loss of sleep, even for an hour or two during the night, can encourage our immune system to actually turn against healthy tissue and organs.
And the bad news doesn’t end there! Lack of sleep will also make us more prone to catch colds and the flu and furthermore, can lead to anxiety and depression.
The overall effect – disabling our immune system to do the very job it’s there for, fighting illness!
The ‘growth’ hormone is responsible for keeping our bones and muscles strong and can also (ladies take note) decrease the amount of fatty tissue we carry.
When we’re asleep of course! About an hour after we’ve dosed off for the night.
A lack of sleep is believed to lead to a build-up of toxins in the brain.
Those of us running on empty run the risk of diabetes, depression and obesity and recent studies are now even linking our lack of sleep with heart attacks and strokes!
With all this information at our fingertips it’s a no-brainer – the more you sleep, the healthier you can be!
So, turn off the sidelight, make a date with your pillow and get that melatonin pumping.
Seriously, you’ll thank us in the morning!
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