The conversations in my life with my friends, colleagues and clients seems to end up talking about ‘lack of sleep’. Sleep is such an important repair process both physically and cognitively. I wonder whether Margaret Thatcher’s Alzheimer’s was accelerated by her only having 5 hours sleep a night, when it is recommended that we need 7 – 8 hours.
Research has shown that toxic plaques develop in the brain through sleep deprivation, and that this plaques also builds up around the heart valve that can lead to cardiovascular problems. Also simple issues like weight gain can be caused by not getting enough sleep because insulin is produced in the middle of the night to help digest food.
Shift work has long been recognised to increase the likelihood of developing cancer because at night the hormone melatonin is released that suppresses tumor development and if you do not sleep during the night hours the body does not produce it.
There are many things that help you get a good nights sleep including spending time in natural light in the morning without sunglasses as the circadian rhythm is able to kick in making the body clock ready for sleep at night.
When I am trying to go to sleep I say to myself “ if I was going to fall asleep how would my body feel ( heavy and relaxed, so what would that feel like now ) how would the bed feel, how would my pillow, what would it be like if I was able to really enjoy the sensations and expand this ” ? It does work most times as I find my body drifts off to peaceful slumber.
There are some areas that no matter what self relaxation techniques are used sleep is not possible, especially around hormone fluctuations. For many women going through peri-menopause and menopause, sleeplessness is part of the symptoms because of the progesterone fluctuations.
Many times I look at my beautiful sleeping cats and hope that my nights rest will be as easy as theirs seems to be, so wishing everyone a restful sleep tonight.
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