So, why is sleep so important?
Anyone who has ever struggled with sleep or been sleep deprived can attest to its importance. Sleep is critical to your daily functioning, your mental wellbeing as well as your physical health.
Decisions, decisions, decisions
You make on average 35,000 decisions a day. But when you don’t get enough sleep, your ability to make decisions decreases as does your ability to problem-solve and stay focused. When you don’t get enough sleep, your productivity decreases, tasks take longer to finish, your reaction time is slower and you make more mistakes. Getting enough sleep is therefore critical to your everyday functioning. National Institute of Health
While you sleep, your blood vessels and heart are healing and repairing. Hormone balance responsible for growth and development, blood sugar levels and hunger are also dependent on good sleep. Sleep triggers normal growth, in children, and cell and tissue repair in children and adults. When you don’t get enough sleep, you don’t react to insulin the same way, which leads to higher blood sugar levels and an increased risk for diabetes. The balance between your “I’m hungry” and “I’m full” hormones is also off, which means you feel hungrier than when you are well-rested. National Institute of Health
Memory and mental wellbeing
Getting good sleep improves your learning. While you sleep, your brain is forming new pathways so you can learn and remember things. When you don’t get enough sleep, not only is your ability to learn compromised, but also your ability to manage your emotions, cope with change and interact with others. National Institute of Health
Chronic disease and illness
Sleep is important for your long-term health. Not getting enough sleep is associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, obesity and depression. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
When you don’t get enough sleep, you can’t fight colds and infections as well. People who get less than 6h of sleep are 4.2 times more likely to get sick.
You need sleep to function and reach your goals
You need energy and a clear mind to overcome obstacles, reach your goals, feel purposeful and in control and create meaningful connections with people. Getting good sleep is about your body and mind repairing and staying healthy. When you sleep better, you will be more productive, your capacity to learn will increase, you will be happier and healthier.
If you struggle with sleep, imagine, for a moment, waking up feeling rested and clear-headed; having the energy to get through the day, doing what you need to do, being focused and adaptable, ready to deal with any situation.
Meditation could help you sleep better
Meditation decreases insomnia, fatigue and depression. In one study, a group of 49 adults with difficulty sleeping were placed in one of two groups: meditation or sleep education. The groups met six times over six weeks. At the end of the six weeks, the meditation group had decreased insomnia, fatigue and depression scores compared to the sleep education group. In another study, a group of 30 adults with insomnia participated in a 6-week intervention. The group that practiced meditation, again, had a significant decrease in insomnia scores.
If you’re struggling to sleep and have tried different avenues to no avail, perhaps meditation holds the key. Why not give it a try! There’s no better time than now!
If you’re looking for how to start, simply click the link below to find out more about a free online meditation series Better Sleep every Tuesday and Thursday night.