“Sleep is an investment in the energy you need to be effective tomorrow.” – T. Roth
How did you sleep last night? Lack of sleep has a profound effect on our endocrine, cardiovascular as well as our immune system. The amount of sleep that we need usually falls between 7-9 hours per night for adults. In 1910 the average sleep duration was 9 hour per night. This changed around 1960 as we were adjusting to the modern demands of around the clock production.
Some of the symptoms associated with sleep deprivation are brain fog, fatigue, irritability and moodiness as well as loss of productivity at work. Sleep is not just a passive event. Metabolically the body is as active during the night as it is during the day. At night our bodies are more focused on strengthening the immune system, on detoxification (especially the brain), on repairing and balancing the hormones. Our thyroid hormones as well as our insulin levels are especially affected by a lack of sleep. If you don’t get enough slow wave sleep, growth hormone production is diminished as well. One study showed a 70% reduction in natural killer cells after just one night of sleep deprivation. Our natural killer cells are the part of our immune system that helps clean up cancer cells. A lack of sleep can also make us over-weight, diabetic, and depressed.
Avoid screens at least 1 hour before going to bed and turn off overhead lighting. LED lights are not good if you want to sleep well so please do avoid them. These lights send a signal to our pineal gland that will decrease melatonin production. Our body reacts to light no less than plants. Instead of screens, try reading a book or meditate.
Exercise for 30-60 minutes most days of the week. Time stimulating exercises such as cardiovascular exercises earlier in the day. Regenerative exercises such as yoga and pilates can be done in the evening. See what works best for you and keep it consistent.