Friday, January 22, 2010

The importance of Sleep

I've talked a lot about supplements, natural aides and similar things that will help a person be healthy.

But the fact of the matter is, that unless someone is getting adequate amounts of sleep, all the supplements in the world won't do you any good.

Here are some ways to tell if you're sleeping enough:

When you wake up:

1. You can see clearly.
Generally within 5 minutes of getting up, the excess fluids from in and around your eyes should clear and your vision returns to normal. Ever wonder why your eyes water or you have to blow your nose right when you get up? This is from the fluid that collects around your eyeballs during sleep. It circulates during sleep cycles to clean the area of debris and detritus that you accumulate during waking hours(Sand). It also cleans off the excess protein that accumulates on your eyeballs. Your skin sloughs constantly throughout the day through normal skin regeneration, but so too do the cells on your eyes. Except that they have nowhere to go, so they get cleaned during sleep.
(There are also very small organisms that you're born with that live off of the dead cells on your eyes, everyone has them, but you don't want to hear about that.)

2. Higher brain function.
I'm not saying that if you get enough sleep that you'll be a candidate for MENSA, but studies have shown that if you get enough sleep(and eat right, workout, etc) that your brain functions better. The theory is that seratonin, which is secreated by the glands in your brain produce during active dreaming, effectively clears your mind to aid in high brain function.
Basically, its much like rebooting your computer. When you reboot, the RAM memory in your computer is cleared away and the computer runs faster because it has that active memory for use.

Through the day:

1. This should be a 'duh' sort of thing, but grogginess. Banishment of grogginess is a very telling factor of whether or not you're getting quality sleep. Quantity is all well and good, but if the quality of sleep is poor, then all the sleep in the world won't help you.

2. Lack-luster nutrition. Vitamins (such as A, B, C, etc) are absorbed and distributed throughout the body through water and can be taken any time through the day. Minerals, on the other hand, are digested through fat and are best taken before bed. The reason for bedtime? Simple. Fat reserves are slow moving and require extra energy to process. The simple act of digesting minerals takes longer because of the required fat in the small intestine and liver for distribution to the cells.
Ever wonder why skinny women have such poor bone density? Its a combination of lack of stress(weird, I know) on their muscles and bones, and a lack of calcium absorption. They can't process Calcium and other minerals as effectively because they don't have enough fat to process them. If a doctor tells you to drink whole milk, its not because he wants to make you overweight. The fats in the milk with help you absorb the Calcium.

3. Healthier skin.
Much of the cleansers and creams on the market right now won't do you any good if you're not getting enough sleep. Here's the deal: Cleansers clean your face. Moisturizers help to keep it hydrated.
The bad news? Moisturizers are formulated in such a way that they keep moisture IN. The title is a little misleading in that it sounds like its the thing hydrating your face in the first place. Its not. Your skin receives most of its hydration through your circulatory system(ie your blood). The waste products that each cell produces is then taken away mostly through a system called Lymph. If the toxic waste is not cleared by your Lymph, which occurs during sleep or restful periods when you are laying down, they your skin looks dull and dry. No amount of moisturizer in the world can counteract that.
Also, moist skin absorbs nutrients more readily, making it healthier inside and out.

Hope this helps you choose sleep...

Next time's topic: Relaxation techniques!

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