What is Sleep?
Sleep is one of the most effective ways to restore your body and mind. In terms of its benefits, this is actually the answer to what sleep is. However, sleep is an incredibly complex physiological process.
We would be blown away if we realized what happens to our brain and our bodies whilst sleeping.
Most of us just think that when we go to bed, we are unconscious for some seven to nine hours. We then wake up the next morning and generally feel better.
In my mind, this greatly undermines the amazing physiological and biological significance of sleep. As a matter of fact, while we are asleep, the changes in our brainwave activity are far greater than when we’re awake.
With REM sleep some parts of your brain are actually 30% more active than when we’re awake.
Again, this tends to violate the notion that our minds are dormant and our bodies are simply quiescent or resting whilst we sleep.
As the world’s leading scientist Matthew Walker stated on a recent podcast;
“When we think about the question of sleep and what sleep is our assumption has always been that we evolved to sleep. I have actually questioned that and I have no way to get in a time capsule and go back and prove this but what if we started o, sleeping, and it was from sleep that wakefulness emerged. Why do we assume that it’s the other way around?”
So now that you can start to appreciate how active our brain is when we sleep, let’s explore; Why is Sleep is so important for Health and Well-Being?
Sleep is important. That’s a given. One night of bad sleep will have you feeling groggy, irritable, slow, easily thrown o, in other words, just downright awful.
Dr. Noah Siegel, MD explains that when we sleep, our bodies go into recovery mode which is revitalizing and recovering for the next day.
Sleep allows our brains to consolidate memories. Each morning our brain should wake up in a so-called “clean state.” Sleep gets rid of all the waste products that make functioning at our best possible.
Chronic lack of sleep is associated with depression, low sex drive, high blood pressure and even heart attack and heart failure. In the workplace, it increases on-the-job accidents and even impairs judgement.
With “hustle” culture being the norm now, a lot of us tend to take sleep for granted. Sleep, as taken for granted as it is, is probably the most important thing you can do to be the healthiest, happiest and most productive version of yourself.
The scary reality is, 30-70% of adults are sleep deprived, making them more vulnerable to these effects.
I have created an ultimate guide which addresses some of the following frequently asked questions and strategies about improving our sleep quality:
- How much sleep is the right amount for me?
- Is it true you should go to sleep before midnight?
- What is sleep debt? And can I repay this debt?
- Are naps a good idea?
- What is the best position to sleep in?
- What type of pillow and mattress should I be considering?
- What are some other factors that could negatively affect my sleep?
- Is there anything else I can do to increase the chances of having a better sleep?
This ultimate guide entitled “I’ll Sleep On It…” can be downloaded:
In my book “Move It or Lose It”, there is also a whole chapter which discusses various aspects of sleep benefits.