Sleeping well is very important to whole-body wellness. We all know that getting enough sleep feels good, but how else does it affect our bodies, our minds, and our emotions?
5 Reasons Sleep is Foundational for Wellness
1. Quality sleep optimizes immune system function.
Conversely, loss of sleep or poor quality sleep has been shown to leave us not only more susceptible to illnesses, but also impairs our recovery time when we do get sick. Our immune system thrives on good sleep.
2. Quality sleep optimizes emotional health.
Most people know that less sleep or poor sleep affects their mood. It often makes them more irritable, cranky, moody, or prone to other emotional/mental issues like anxiety, depression, and toxic stress. Toxic stress has been a big point of public health concern and research in recent years as well, showing that when we are constantly in a place of toxic stress, we don't function well and this can also become cyclical (affecting our quality of sleep just as quality of sleep affects our stress levels).
3. Quality sleep optimizes the body's cognitive growth.
Sleep deprivation studies have shown that cognitive processing steeply declines when loss of sleep occurs. This is important for all, but especially for the young such as children in school, college students, and young mothers... but it's also important for elderly people as they start to experience effects of aging.
4. Quality sleep aids in memory.
There are still many unknowns regarding the connection between sleep and memory, but if we think of all experiences happening during the day, and experiences being processed by our mind and body at night, it makes more sense why we would be able to remember things better if we slept well; our body could process the experience and store the memories more effectively.
5. Quality sleep is an important part of maintaining (or losing) weight.
Our body's way of processing food is dramatically altered by the quality and length of our sleep. This is partly to do with our decision-making about what food to eat when we're fully rested versus when we're sleep deprived, but it also has to do with our body's regulation of metabolism and how it physically processes our food. Our gut does a LOT of work overnight (which is why a good probiotic is often recommended to be taken at night), and by not sleeping enough or well, we cut short the work it was doing to keep us in an optimal weight range.
So you can see, sleep is VERY important. It is a foundational element to so many aspects of our wellness and health! What are you doing to help yourself sleep better and longer?
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