The importance of sleep for our health



“More resilient people are able to ‘roll with the punches’ and adapt to adversity without lasting difficulties; less resilient people have a harder time with stress and life changes, both major and minor. It’s been found that those who deal with minor stresses more easily can also manage major crises with greater ease, so resilience has its benefits for daily life as well as for the rare major catastrophe.” Elizabeth Scott, author of 8 Keys To Stress Management

The good news is you can rebuild or improve emotional resilience and one way is through getting a good nights sleep. Recent research shows people who get more deep sleep are less fearful. Consistently getting the recommended eight hours of sleep every night is therefore key.

Some of the most important factors that can have a significant impact on your sleep are your night time exposure to:

•Electronic screens. Avoid using electronic media for at least an hour or more before bedtime, as the blue light emitted from these devices (including TVs) inhibit melatonin production. Melatonin not only regulates your sleep-waking cycle; it’s also a powerful antioxidant, and low levels have been repeatedly linked to an increased risk of cancer. One 2008 study revealed that people exposed to mobile phone radiation for three hours before bedtime had more trouble falling asleep and staying in a deep sleep.

•Excessive light. Exposure to light at night interrupts your circadian clock and melatonin level, both of which play a role in how deeply you sleep and how well-rested you feel the next day.

•Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from electric wiring in your bedroom walls also negatively affect sleep by disrupting cellular communication and impairing melatonin secretion. EMF’s also harm your mitochondria by producing oxidative damage, and have been linked to neuronal changes that affect memory and the ability to learn. One of the most important is to turn off your Wi-Fi at night. Since you don’t need internet access while sleeping, this is a simple remedy that most people can implement.

According to Professor Matthew Walker, scientist and author of Why We Sleep (see recommended book below), sleep is one of the most important aspects of our lives, health and longevity though it is increasingly neglected in twenty-first-century society, with devastating consequences. Walker believes every major disease in the developed world – Alzheimer’s, cancer, obesity, diabetes – has very strong causal links to deficient sleep. He views it as being more influential over our health than diet and exercise…
There is certainly no doubt that getting a decent amount of good quality sleep is the foundation of many aspects of health, both physical and emotional.


WHY WE SLEEP by Matthew Walker

Have you ever wondered why Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were so proud of existing on very little sleep, yet both went on to develop dementia?

I highly recommend this fascinating book. As many of you will know, I’m always emphasising the importance of sleep but if you want to know more about the many reasons sleep impacts upon our health and wellbeing then read this book. From how we file away memories and process emotions to the far reaching effects of how lack of sleep impacts upon everything from weight gain to immune function, this book will not leave you in any doubt as to how important sleep is!