When you hear the words “health” or “stay healthy” what is your first thought? I think most would say, “staying healthy means working out.”, some others may say, “staying healthy means maintaining a healthy diet.”, or, “staying healthy means staying mentally/spiritually healthy.”
None of these answers are wrong. Though oftentimes we forget that being healthy is a combination of multiple things combined, not just one thing. A lot of times sleep gets left out of this combination. That’s what I am here to address today. I am not saying that sleep is the only thing you need to stay healthy, but rather to help you understand why you and your baby getting a good night’s rest plays a huge role in your health and why it needs to be a priority.
In doing that, I am going to answer four questions to help you grasp the importance of quality sleep in your family’s life. Let’s get to it!
What does the body do during sleep?
If you have been following me long, you know that obviously during sleep we all (adults and babies) actively go through sleep cycles. Adults go through a complete sleep cycle every 90 minutes while babies go through a complete sleep cycle every 40-50 mins.
What else is going on while we sleep that makes it so important? While you are “resting” physically, your brain remains very active while you sleep. It is during sleep that the brain stores new information and gets rid of the waste that has accumulated throughout the day. Nerve cells can communicate better and reorganize, which supports healthy brain function (learning/memory). During sleep, the body has the chance to repair cells, restore energy, and release molecules like hormones and proteins into the body.
So, yeah, sleep is kind of important.
What does sleep do to our bodies?
We now understand what is going on in our bodies while sleep is occurring but what does it give us? Ready for this? Check out my list below:
- Brain Power: When you get the rest you need, you can recall things better and also be able to retain new information.
- Mood Boost: Do you feel edgy when you don’t get enough rest? Me too… Why is that? Well, simply because when you don’t get a full night’s rest, your brain is not able to organize emotions as it needs to, leaving you feeling like you could go off on anyone at the beginning of the day without a good night’s sleep.
- Heart Health: When you sleep, your blood pressure naturally goes down, giving your heart a break! Without a break (sleep) your heart doesn’t get the rest it needs to function as you need it to. The less sleep you get, the longer your blood pressure stays elevated during a 24-hour cycle. High blood pressure can lead to heart disease, including stroke.
- Energy: While you sleep your muscles can relax and repair as they need to, to build energy and strength for the upcoming day. Without the rest, you will be left feeling slow and low on motivation.
- Steady Blood Sugar Levels: Glucose levels drop during our deepest sleep, allowing a reset for the next day. Not allowing this reset can increase your risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
- Increases Immune System Response: The immune system identifies and destroys harmful bacteria and viruses in our bodies. Ongoing lack of sleep changes the way our immune cells work, causing them not to react as quickly and leaving you more likely to get sick.
What happens to your body when you don’t get adequate rest?
It’s going to happen. Especially in the stages we are in, bringing home our new babies and raising them. We are going to go through periods of lack of sleep. When we allow this to occur over long periods, it can take a toll on our bodies, commonly found symptoms in the list below.
- Increase Sickness: The immune system isn’t able to function as it needs to without sleep.
- Your Heart Suffers: The heart doesn’t get the rest time it needs increasing heart disease.
- Lack Good Memory: Brain functions including memory, decision-making, reasoning, and problem-solving worsened, along with reaction time and alertness.
- Weight Gain: A study examined the relationship between sleep and weight in 21,469 adults over the age of 20. The people who slept less than 5 hours each night throughout the three-year study were more likely to gain weight and eventually become obese.
- Risk of Diabetes Increases
- Accident Prone: You’re three times more likely to be involved in a car accident if you get 6 or fewer hours of sleep each night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
How much sleep do we need?
This is a great question and the answer is different varying on age. These are the number of hours recommended based on age:
So often I hear from people that “sleep is a luxury” that they “just can’t afford.” This pains me to hear because sleep is not an unobtainable luxury, it is a free necessity. Good health requires good sleep.
Sometimes good sleep might seem impossible, and often new moms are laughed at or mocked when they express their desire for better sleep for their families.
Mama, I believe in you. I believe that good sleep for your family is something achievable and necessary. I hope that these answered questions were helpful for you. If and when you are ready to start obtaining healthier sleep for your family, grab your FREE consultation call with me, and let’s find rest!