A couple of decades ago, I happened to bump into a quote/advice by Viktor Frankl, psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor, who advised his patients dealing with insomnia to stay awake as long as possible instead of trying to force themselves to go to sleep, “….if you can’t get sleep, don’t spend the night tossing and turning and trying to sleep. Get up! Try to stay up as long as you can!”
Ah, how nice – I thought. This is fantastic – I can do my jobs:-) So, instead of tossing and turning at night in my bed I made better use of my time. After spending a few hours at my desk, I would be hungry. I was eating an extra meal a day, unnecessarily. It went on for month-after-month and years. It was high time that I questioned, how is it that one would continue to sleep for up to 8 hours and still not feel hungry? On researching, I learnt that the #hungerhormones #ghrelin and #leptin stimulate and suppress appetite, respectively, and that sleep deprivation causes ghrelin levels to rise and leptin levels to decline. You can see where this is going. What is it really a better use of time?
Besides putting on weight, my immune system got severely compromised.
Losing sleep can prompt one’s immune system to turn against healthy tissue and organs, meaning, it can trigger tissue-damaging inflammation. Having not given my body a chance to repair was a downright absurd thing to do. I was full of vigour; I thought I was doing the right thing being prolific and working away. But I paid a huge price. I became susceptible to colds and flu; it was a tell-tale sign that something wasn’t right. You can never tell when a chronic illness is taking hold to be there for longer. My immune system became vulnerable to attack. I fell seriously ill with #pneumonia in both my lungs and sepsis. How I recovered is a story for another day but for now, in short, it was a mammoth military operation and nobody wants to go there.
So, how do you get a good night’s sleep?
Good Nourishment for your body is the key. An imbalance in nutrients → leads to poor sleep quality which ultimately affects → your immune system.
What is this Immune system everybody is talking about?
Immune system is body’s security guard – it defends your body against infection. It truly is a superstar; it even recognises your sleep pattern. It works around the clock, including doing some of its best work at night when you’re sleeping! You can think of your immune system as an army that gets on with fighting germs and foreign invaders that it identifies as “the enemy.” Like any army, though, it needs rations that come in the form of the nutrients you put into your body. The more nutritious the ration, the stronger it gets to fight against invaders. Obviously, the more junk you put into your body, the more sluggish and sloppier it becomes. Your body needs a balanced diet with essential nutrients for the immune system to do its job; it also needs adequate rest to recharge, combined with enough activity to flush bacteria out of your system.
Why is Sleep important?
So, you see, sleep goes way far beyond just banishing your dark rings and boosting your mood. Sleep really is the best medicine; if you want to be well, sleep is the stepping stone. When you sleep, any inflammation in your body from cold or flu or from anything else, will get addressed. Sleep gives your immune system a great boost; I never gave my body a chance to repair itself. I never realised the consequences of not eating right and not sleeping. We all do when we are young, but please don’t; you want to live long, but healthily.
Just remember the word APHID (a small bug which feeds by sucking sap from plants)
A – Sleep makes you look Attractive
P – Sleep increases your Productivity
H – Sleep gives you better Health
I – Sleep reduces inflammation
D – Sleep lowers risk of Diabetes and heart disease
What can you do to get Sleep?
Stay active during the day; have a good diet, drink water and try not to nap and have a fixed time to sleep and wake up. Easy said than done. But we all have anxiety and stress in our life which comes in the way of a good night sleep. Tossing and turning at night is very disruptive and frustrating; it is worth doing something about it.
Sleep is like a processor and you must get this processor charged so your brain and body can function better the next day and year-after-year.
Stage one – Don’t eat or drink at least a couple of hours before bedtime
Stage two – Do sedentary activities around the house
Stage three – put gadgets away, including TV – the next day you will like them better
Stage four – Dim lights, keep bedroom quiet – it is your solace where you get renewed
Stage five – Go to bed thinking what went well during the day instead of what did not go well and worrying about it – have compassion for yourself
Stage six – Hear yourself breathe – you are alive; the next day will be a new day; you must get energized to face the day of ups and downs.
Just think, why do babies sleep well? It is because we make a regular regimented plan for them. Then once asleep, they sleep like logs; you could do anything in their room while they are asleep. You too must sleep while they are. Did you know Controlling your weight can be as easy as having a good night’s sleep? And if weight is controlled – all will be well.
Follow the process – Process is Paradise; let me know if it made a difference. Let’s connect!