Why Do We Need Sleep?

There’s no arguing that we live in a time where everyone seems to absorb excessive amounts of data and information 24/7 and at lightning speed.

Together with an excessive amount of unhealthy light, the almost unavoidable overconsumption of information pervades our bodies with extraordinary amounts of energy to process. And when you add a full day’s events into the equation, it’s not shocking that sleeplessness is rampant.

It would be great if all it took was a firm mattress and quality pillow to solve the sleep deprivation issue, but just like anything else in life, there is no quick fix. Instead, lifestyle changes are necessary to reap the rewards of deep sleep.

It’s important to understand that even if you don’t suffer from night after night of insomnia, it doesn’t mean you’re getting good, quality sleep. Sleep-deprived people often have a difficult time receiving information due to the brain’s overworked or fatigued neurons. Furthermore, sleep deprivation can contribute to people interpreting events differently and impairing judgment.

If your body is not in a genuinely restful sleep state, there’s no effective way for it to balance the numerous metabolic and other physiological processes, which reduce the toxins that we take in each day. These toxins can rear their ugly heads in many forms, from negative influences generated from stressful people in our lives, polluted indoor and outdoor air, processed foods and much more.

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Sleep Deprivation: The Cold, Hard Facts

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about 70 million Americans of all ages suffer from chronic sleep problems. The two most common sleep disorders are insomnia and sleep apnea. Sleep impacts almost every tissue in our bodies, from growth and stress hormones, breathing, blood pressure, our immune system, appetite, and cardiovascular health.

Research shows that consistently getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night is the most advantageous for adults – any less can increase the risk of severe conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and even death.

Additional NIH research reveals that lack of sleep elevates the risk for obesity, heart disease, and infections. What’s the connection? During the night, our heart rates, breathing rates, and blood pressure rises and falls – a critical process that’s related to cardiovascular health. Also, our bodies release hormones during sleep that help repair cells and control the body’s use of energy – these hormone changes can impact body weight.

The key to a healthy lifestyle is to invest the time and energy to get enough quality sleep. Here are several benefits to a good night’s sleep:

  • It boosts longevity. A 2010 article in Trusted Source stated that those that typically slept for less than five to seven hours a night were 12% more likely to experience a premature death.
  • It helps manage your appetite. Poor sleep habits can boost your body’s energy needs. Movement – and the need for calories – is reduced at night, but when the body is sleep-deprived, the brain can release chemicals to signal hunger. This can lead to weight gain.
  • It helps the immune system. The immune system releases compounds called cytokines when we sleep. These have a protective effect by fighting inflammation, especially related to infection. Without enough sleep, the body may not have enough cytokines to prevent illness.
  • It improves memory. On top of helping us focus, sleep protects and strengthens memory. Research shows that sleeping after learning can help with memory retention.
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How to Maintain Good Sleeping Habits

Having an abundance of stress or a poor work-life balance can impact how much – and how well – we sleep. The Mayo Clinic suggests starting the process of making sleep a priority by setting a sleep goal – aim to get at least seven hours each night. Waking up clear-headed and refreshed can help you make better decisions and stick to a healthier exercise and diet plan. Sleep can also boost motivation and willpower.

The Mayo Clinic also suggests trying these tips:

  • Develop a regular bedtime – and stick with it. Commit to what you want to accomplish and stick to your plan. Create a regular bedtime and follow it as best as you can.
  • Ease into sleep. Set aside 30 minutes before bedtime to relax – it can help you better transition into a restful sleep. Try deep breathing, gentle stretching or guided imagery to shift your focus away from stress. Play soft, relaxing music and enjoy a soothing warm shower – these are also conducive to returning the body to a slower rhythm that welcomes sleep.
  • Eat healthier foods. If your body and mind are fatigued, you may misread hunger cues. The next time you find yourself wandering into the kitchen or mindlessly snacking in front of the TV, ask yourself if you may be tired rather than hungry.
  • Turn off electronics and reduce bright lighting. One of the challenges with too much blue light is that it lowers the amount of melatonin that the body naturally produces when night arrives. If darkness or subdued lighting never arrives, neither does this natural sleep-inducing hormone. Turn off your TV, laptop, phone, and tablet at least one hour before bed to reduce the amount of information and light you take in before bedtime.
  • Embrace a peaceful, serene state of being. While it might be difficult to realize, falling asleep can be an experience to look forward to each night. It is here that we experience the process of surrendering to the day. But to genuinely experience true peace and restfulness during sleep, we must first be relaxed. Relaxation should be cultivated in intervals during the day – like taking moments to slowly eat a meal or a short walk in between work obligations to help the body progressively slow down.
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Have you Experienced a Spiritual Awakening?

In addition to insomnia and other sleep challenges, some people frequently find they wake up at the same time every night, often between the hours of 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. Angel Souls’ Founder Michelle Patterson says this is not uncommon, and it can help to pay attention to the specific time on the clock to figure out the meaning behind this habit.

For example, if you wake up and the clock reads “4:44 a.m.,” many experts refer to this as “angel numbers.” Pay attention to what you are thinking and feeling in that exact moment, especially if you are stressed about finances, a job or a relationship. That “4:44” could be a message that’s telling you that your spiritual team is with you and they love and support you and that everything will work out.

Or, perhaps, you wake up at the exact same time every night (i.e., 3:21 a.m.). This is another chance to pay close attention to what you are thinking and feeling at that moment in time – these types of patterns can represent a spiritual awakening. Your body will adjust to contain the frequency, and as your physical body is upgrading, you can feel surges. This sensation is the earth helping you get through that upgrading process; as a result, you are very much in tune with pulsations to heal, and clear issues away and expand.

If you do experience this scenario, I urge people to stay in bed, in that in-between state, and take advantage of the opportunity. Don’t be afraid to ask the questions that you have, and don’t go into it with any expectations – instead, be more open to figuring out what it’s all about and making a true connection. And if you feel fear, use that time to talk to your spiritual team or talk to your spirit guides to help you along the way.

Keep a dream journal or notebook handy and write down as much as you can remember from the moment you wake up and as you ask questions and receive answers. Holding an air of genuine curiosity can help you receive this information. And as always, remember to share gratitude with your inner team, even if you’re still not quite sure who they are yet. They are here to help you, all you have to do is ask, take the information and act on it the best you can.

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Are You Ready to Greet the Waking World?

Historically, sleep has been viewed as a method to recharge our bodies for the waking world. Obviously, we do need a good night’s sleep for many of the body’s functions to regulate themselves. However, in addition to meeting our bodies’ physiological needs, it can be beneficial to welcome some spiritual ones, as well.

When you start to regard sleep as a part of your life that has intrinsic value, you can more effectively prepare for it and embrace it.

By using this strategy to approach how you sleep each night, you can do more than just recharge your battery – you can ultimately correct your energy and turn your life around for the better.

If you’re experiencing sleep issues, there are many modalities that can help you such as Reiki, and Gemstone/Diamond Therapy. For more information, I warmly invite you to reach out for a complimentary consultation. To schedule your consultation, please select a time and date that best’s for you right here.

Jennifer Marcenelle BSN, RN, HNB-BC
Jennifer Marcenelle is a board-certified and registered nurse with over 30 years of experience in the medical industry. She currently holds degrees in nursing and holistic healing, with a specialization in burnouts.

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