It’s a tough and uncertain time at the moment and so we’ve asked Georgina from The Holistic Sleep Project to give us her thoughts on how sleep is so essential during these trying times.
Sleep enhances our immune system
We need sleep as adults and children on a daily basis to rejuvenate physically and mentally so we can fulfill the next day of work, social commitments and parenting.
During times of stress, it is even more crucial. Ironically, this is when we get smaller amounts of sleep that are usually more disrupted!
At this challenging time in our society, there are so many of us lying awake at night with thoughts swirling round in our minds making quality rest very much out of reach.
Throughout these times of stress, sleep is one of the key elements to survival as it provides resilience, is it a necessary part of rest and enhances our immune system (definitely what we need right now!)
Keeping inflammation in check
Quality sleep can also directly helps us keep inflammation in check within the body. Increased inflammation can occur in the presence of poor, dysregulated sleep. In turn, an inflamed system can prevent quality sleep. Unhealthy levels of inflammation can be associated with acute and chronic diseases such as cancers, arthritis, autoimmune conditions and even depression.
Inflammatory substances like alcohol & sugar
Let’s face it, we regularly expose ourselves to inflammatory substances these days-alcohol, sugar, stress, cigarettes, processed foods, gluten and even red meat.
When we are in a state of stress either from social, relationship, environmental or financial factors of which so many of us are now, we reach for these less healthy choices to feel better in the short term.
However, these create the inflammation in our bodies worse, which can be one of the factors contributing to our sleep issues.
Alcohol (another sleep imposter) also affects the quality of sleep you are getting at night.
We think we need a drink to relax after a stressful or busy day and it will calm us down.
Although, alcohol does allow adults to fall asleep quicker and sleep more deeply for a while, but ultimately it is detrimental as it reduces REM sleep, which is the most restorative sleep.
Studies have shown that alcohol consumption does not improve sleep quality. Really? I hear so regularly from people- “But I can fall asleep so much quicker with a few wines”. That’s right, you will fall asleep quicker but the more we drink before bed, the more pronounced these effects will be.
Disruptions in REM sleep may cause daytime drowsiness, poor concentration and overall a lower tolerance for stress because we have had a rotten sleep. These disruptions to sleep happen predominately in the second part of the night. Sleep is also important to control appetite and manage weight for adults and children.
Sleep for children is crucial
When it comes to the importance of sleep for children. It is crucial for growth, healing and development including memory, attention and learning. It is important for not only babies but for children of all ages for these reasons as well as their resilience, mood and behaviour stability at a time when their little worlds have changed so dramatically. Just as for adults, it helps immunity which is crucial at this time in our society.
Specifically, sleep improves T cells in the immune system. These are a type of immune cells that fight against pathogens in the body such as the virus we are currently facing, also the flu, herpes and cancer cells.
Sleep is crucial for adults and children particularly when we are experiencing times of change and stress so make it a priority for every member of your family as we embark on this new (temporary) way of life.
Georgina – Holistic Sleep Consultant & Qualified Naturopath
Georgina is a Holistic Sleep Consultant and Qualified Naturopath. She works with all sleep challenges that arise for babies, toddlers and pregnant women in a gentle and holistic way. This means she addresses all the components that contribute to quality, age appropriate sleep resulting in comprehensive and long lasting results.
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