The Value of Sleep

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Sleep has become more important to me now than ever before. I have learned the importance of a good night’s sleep and I know its value as I grow older. Each month most magazines focus on an aspect of sleep and one can listen to TED Talks ie: Sleep is Your Superpower by Matt Walker and Dan Gartenberg on The Brain Benefits of Deep Sleep. They inform us on sleep’s impact on your learning, memory, immune system and even your genetic code.

I have found the ‘Power Nap’ around 2pm invaluable and always take 10 to 20 minutes on my bed with my precious eye mask which blocks out all the light. I take deep breaths and for some reason always manage to float away and completely relax then wake up feeling quite refreshed. It allows me the vitality and energy for the rest of the afternoon and evening, something I don’t believe I could cope with otherwise!

I believe sleep is similar to switching off your laptop, iPhone or iPad, its a reboot to re-align all parts of the machine, a pause to re-energise and to ensure the insides are working in top condition. With our bodies, it is essential that all major organs, oxygen and blood are ‘serviced’ by sleep in order for our brains, hearts, memory and limbs function to their best.

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There's nothing quite like a good night's sleep. What if technology could help us get more out of it? We all know the value of sleeping well, and we've all experienced the feeling of being refreshed after a good night's sleep (and the feeling of fatigue after a poor night's sleep). But even though we know this, in our busy society, many of us are not getting the quality six to eight hours of sleep our bodies need.

Understanding the sleep cycle

Understanding what happens during sleep also means understanding the sleep cycle. During the night, our bodies cycle through two recurring phases of sleep: REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-REM or non-rapid eye movement). Both phases are important for different functions in our bodies.

If the REM and NREM cycles are interrupted multiple times throughout the night - either due to snoring, difficulties breathing or waking up frequently throughout the night - then we miss out on vital body processes, which may affect our health and well-being not only the next day, but on a long-term basis as well.1

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What happens if you don't get enough sleep?

If your body doesn't get a chance to properly recharge (by cycling through the two phases of sleep, REM and NREM), you're already starting the next day at a disadvantage. You might find yourself:

  • Feeling drowsy or moody1

  • Struggling to take in new information at work, remembering things or making decisions2

  • Craving more unhealthy foods, which could cause weight gain1,2

If this happens day after day, night after night, you can imagine the strain it would place on your, body and overall health.3 Find out how to talk to your doctor about your sleep habits.

WellbeingChris Vidal