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Sleep and Its Importance

INSHAPE NEWS OPINION

“Our bodies are designed to follow the movement of the sun, moon and the earth. We really have no choice as to what time is the best to sleep as we are governed by Mother Nature. Much like nocturnal animals such as bats. However due to modern living with laptops, TV’s etc., our body cannot tell the difference between lights or daylight. So we completely disrupt our internal body clock.”

Nick Jack – CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach & Personal Trainer

When light stimulates our skin or eyes our hormonal system thinks it is daylight and releases a stress hormone called cortisol says personal trainer Nick Jack. This hormone is activated to prepare our body for movement, work and whatever we need to do in daily life. Basically cortisol is needed to wake you up.

But as the sun goes down this hormone naturally decreases so that your body can prepare for the activation of the growth hormone called melatonin. Melatonin is then released to allow the body to repair itself from the day’s activities.

As we are governed by Mother Nature there is a specific time that this repair is done. The cycle for physical repair is between 10pm and 2am, psychological repair between 2am and 6am. Therefore, if you go to bed at midnight you have now cut into 2 hours of your physical repair time.

Your body will suffer, and as a result of lack of sleep and this can affect your physical and mental health.

Some short term symptoms are as follows:

  • Accumulation of fat around the belly.
  • Low energy and lack of concentration.
  • Moodiness, easily upset or to anger.
  • Pains in neck, shoulders and back.
  • Weakened immune system.

The long term effects are more severe and can become debilitating. Excessive production of the stress hormone cortisol leads to adrenal fatigue as the adrenal glands produce cortisol.

Nick Jack says that he’s consulted several clients with adrenal fatigue and their injury and illnesses were significant and numerous. These clients suffered from anything like chronic fatigue to chronic colds, infections, and even disease.

In a nutshell, says Nick Jack these clients had no repair time for their body to combat the destruction happening inside them. They were literally being eaten alive by their high levels of cortisol. Plus, their body was producing more fat to combat the cortisol and reduce stress.

Nick Jack says that some strategies to get you into a good sleep pattern are:

1. Be in bed by 10pm.

2. Minimize exposure to bright lights.

3. No stimulants such as coffee, sugar and alcohol after 2pm.

4. Keep your bedroom dark with no TV in the room.

5. Eat fresh foods only, beware of refined carbohydrates.

6. Regular exercise – If I am struggling to sleep I do Tai Chi or some gentle stretching to help my body relax.

“Sleep is a natural part of everybody’s life and something our bodies need to do. As we sleep our bodies major organs and regulatory systems continue to work actively. Parts of the brain also increase their activity dramatically to oversee a wide variety of biological maintenance tasks that keep you running in top condition.”

Anthony “Chief” Ippindo – Director of Holistic Fitness Fox Studios

In addition, our internal biological clock regulates the timing for sleep and regulates each person to feel sleepy at night time and to be active during the day says director of holistic fitness at Fox Studios Chief.

A recent survey found that more people are sleeping less than 6 hours a night, and difficulties in sleeping affect 75% of us a few nights a week. If this becomes an increased bout of insomnia, health problems such as weight gain, high blood pressure, and a decrease in the immune systems power start to take effect.

Inadequate sleep can cause decreases in:

Performance

  • Concentration
  • Reaction Times
  • Metabolism
  • Inadequate sleep can cause increases in:
  • Memory lapses
  • Accidents and injuries
  • Behaviour problems
  • Mood problems
  • Symptoms where you may be sleep deprived are :
  • Need a alarm clock in order to wake up on time
  • Rely on a snooze button
  • Have a hard time getting out of bed
  • Feel sluggish in the afternoon
  • Fall asleep while watching or relaxing in the evening.

In closing, everyone is different when it comes to how many hours sleep per night is required, but my general rule of thumb is in bed by 10 p.m. and I am up and ready to hit the day hard at 6 a.m. This gives me that perfect eight hours of sleep, so that I get the physical regeneration I need. This is where my cells are repairing themselves and mental and psychological regeneration occurs where I am able to process my thoughts and decisions during the day.

All the best in health.

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