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Why is sleep so important?!

By now many of you probably know that sleep is so fundamental to our health. To be honest it took me a long time to truly understand how important sleep is. In my 20s and early 30s I would often push the limits and get by on 5-6 hours of sleep. However 2 babies in my late 30s and some hormone fluctuations in my early 40s have led to some serious bouts of insomnia and made me really look at my sleep hygiene.

Sleep is one of the most important metrics when it comes to good health (especially for women from their late 30s/early 40s onwards). Insomnia is incredibly frustrating and usually triggers a domino effect of other adverse reactions throughout our bodies. Getting 7-9 hours of good quality sleep per night can have so many wonderful benefits and prevent many negative things from occurring in the first place.

When you are asleep these are some of the awesome things that happen to you:

- your brain cleanses itself - it tidies up all the information of the day to get ready from tomorrow. The glymphatic system (the waste removal system of the brain) is at its most efficient during deep sleep - it makes cerebrospinal fluid flow through brain tissue thus flushing out waste/toxins;

- your heart rate slows giving your heart and vascular system a rest - in fact consistent lack of sleep can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack/failure or stroke;

- your body temperature drops and helps you relax;

- your body releases growth hormones to help repair your muscles, tissues and skin;

- your body is hard at work making sure you are ready to greet tomorrow feeling refreshed.

A good sleep can also have many positive knock on effects:

- boosts immunity;

- slims you - sleep deprived people have lower levels of leptin (the “feel full” chemical) and higher levels of ghrelin (the “I’m hungry” chemical);

- boosts mental wellbeing;

- helps with stress management and keeping cortisol under control (which also helps with weight management);

- prevents diabetes - lack of sleep can change the way the body processes glucose;

- increases sex drive;

- increases fertility;

- improves cognition and sharpness;

- skin is better.

All very powerful reasons to get our sleep habits sorted right?! Next post I’ll share with you some great tips for ensuring a good nights sleep. Many of which I have tried and tested ;)

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