The Harmony of Healthy Sleep Patterns

2 Oct

 

Aging is inevitable. Some of it is accelerated by poor decisions made early in life. Patterns of living developed that hastened the decline of physical functions of the mind and body. The motivation to turn the ship around got weaker and weaker.

Exhausted woman sleeping in front of computerUnless you give the body what it needs to function properly, it will fall out of harmony.

Here’s some information from an article that cites sleep as important to the functioning of your body. What can you do to improve some of your mind/body functions at this point?

Early to bed, early to rise.

Staying up late is a stress for the body. Cortisol is the body’s major stress hormone. It declines in the early evening to prepare the body for sleep. Late nights force the cortisol to surge. According to one study, cortisol reactively surges the next night as well.

A common cause of insomnia is cortisol levels staying high in the evening. With each successive late night, cortisol levels rise and make it more difficult to get to bed early. So the body becomes conditioned to staying up late.

But this conditioning is not to your advantage. With each late night, the cortisol rises, making it harder to get to sleep on time the next night.

Studies show that when people get less than six or more than eight hours of sleep per night, there is an accelerated decline in cognitive function.

In addition, studies have shown that consistently sleeping more than eight hours or sleeping less than six hours can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, premature death and aging, cognitive decline, weight gain, excess snacking, hormone imbalances, diabetes, and psychiatric disorders.

If you wake up exhausted due to a poor night sleep, your body will have to produce extra cortisol to endure the day, turning the typical day’s tasks into stressors.

Excess cortisol can suppress your natural immune system, cause hypertension, high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), insulin resistance, carbohydrate cravings, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, fat deposits on the face, neck, and belly, reduced libido, and bone loss.

Healthy sleep habits are not just about how much you sleep, but also when you get that sleep. Staying in harmony with nature’s cycles is a rule of thumb when establishing healthy habits.

Going to sleep within a few hours of the sun going down, and waking up at dawn or shortly before, is much more rejuvenating for the body and mind than getting the same amount of sleep later at night and out of sync with the natural cycles.[1]

Have you convinced yourself that other things are more important than healthy sleep? There’s a price to pay for it. What it’s worth to allow your body the rest it needs to replenish itself?

Make sleeping the right amount at the right time a healthy habit. Don’t compromise on your health. Your health can be lost. There are many people who would give all the money they’ve earned in order to be free of pain or poor health.

A healthy body helps you in the work of bringing harmony to the mind and spirit. Proper sleep patterns go a long way toward this end.

[1] Information received from John Douillard, 5 Ways to Get Old Fast, http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/03/5-ways-to-get-old-fast/

 

 

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