Well-Being

Why Sleep is the Secret to Unlocking Your Health

When this question is asked, the answer seems intuitive. Yet sleep is an entity thats hard to define. Sleep has played a major role in philosophical thought, with the likes of Aristotle, Locke, and Leibniz putting forth theories about what exactly sleep and dreams are.

A basic definition of sleep is that it’s a state where awareness of environmental stimuli is reduced. Sleep is different from states of coma and hibernation by the fact that it can be rapidly reversed.

In addition, there are many different factors that influence our sleep patterns. Some of these factors include current level of physical fitness, physical size, muscle mass, and brain size. Lack of sleep can lead to many different ailments and result in general poor health.

During sleep, most of the body’s systems are in an anabolic state (where the body builds itself up), which helps to restore the immune, nervous, muscular and other body systems. These are vital processes that maintain mood, memory, and cognitive function and play a large role in the function of the endocrine and immune systems.

Our internal circadian clock promotes sleep at nighttime. Again, this comes from nature. When the sun is up and its light out, thats nature telling us to be awake and energetic. When the sun goes down and it starts getting dark, thats nature saying it’s time to wind down, relax, and ultimately go into a deep sleep.

This daily sun-up-sun-down routine is the basis of our circadian rhythm. If you dont set your circadian rhythm, you’re not going to get optimal sleep. Disrupted circadian rhythms have been linked to serious illnesses, including depression and obesity. Females in particular tend to be more susceptible to these negative effects, as they naturally have shorter circadian periods; research even shows that women report insomnia nearly 50% more frequently than men.

The moral of the story: sleep is super important and you need to protect your eight hours at all costs.

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