These days, not sleeping is a badge of honour. Executives boast of how they get by on three hours of sleep, and there are entire industries dedicated to keeping us all awake. Between smart phones, energy drinks and streaming entertainment, there is so much that entices us to skip out on sleep.
But sleep is the healing ability granted to us all, and while top athletes already know the incredible value sleep provides, it often eludes the rest of us.
What happens when we don’t sleep?
When we lack adequate sleep, we produce fewer appetite-regulating hormones. Our bodies crave sugary, fatty foods that we otherwise might not eat. Besides this, the body tries to make up for the energy deprivation by increasing our caloric intake.
Memory loss, brain fog and depression
During sleep, our brain carries out its own cleaning processes, as well as the consolidation of memory and experience. Those who suffer insomnia also find that the symptoms of depression are aggravated, feeding into further insomnia and worsening depression and anxiety.
We age faster
Not only does our skin suffer when we don’t sleep (puffy eyes, sallow skin), but our entire body struggles to repair itself against the wear and tear of the day. During deep sleep, our body releases growth hormones that repair our tissues.
Serious, life-threatening diseases
A lack of sleep has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes. By not allowing the body to sleep and activate vital processes, the whole body suffers. Sleep is not just for the brain!
The list goes on and on – impaired judgement, reduced sex drive, accidents caused by sleep deprivation – without good quality sleep, every aspect of our health and lives suffers.
How do I know if I’m sleep-deprived?
Here are some handy signs that you’re not getting as much sleep as you should:
- Constant hunger
- Weight gain
- More impulsive or risky behaviour
- Poor short-term memory
- Difficulty making decisions
- Increased clumsiness
- Emotional instability
- Recurring illness
- Weaker eyesight
What can I do to get more sleep?
Sleep hygiene is about good habits, and by adhering to them we can restore our sleep to what it should be.
A few tips to note:
- Keep the bedroom dark and free of blinking lights, as light levels dictate the production of sleep and waking hormones
- An eye mask goes a long way to blocking out light and encouraging the brain to produce the sleep hormone melatonin
- Screen time needs to be limited, and it is recommended that devices be put away two hours before bed time. The blue light from phones, televisions and tablets stimulates the brain into wakefulness, and devices are also an attractive distraction that can derail a sensible bedtime
- As difficult as it can be, trying to establish a regular bedtime and routine will help produce better quality sleep. Your routine can include a bath, some light reading or a cup of chamomile tea to establish a pattern that will teach the body and brain to start slowing down at a certain time
Of course, Nature has intelligently provided, with wonderful aromatherapy to help us sleep. By rubbing Africology Sleep Gel on your temples and the bottom of your feet, the natural peace brought on by lavender will help you drift off. Our Pillow and Linen Spray, ideal for travelling, makes linen smell fresh and inviting, invoking the floral scents of neroli and geranium to help you get a good night’s rest.
Enjoy a Magnesium Milk Bath before bed, knowing that magnesium is a powerful ally in combating fatigue and exhaustion. Add some lavender essential oil to your bath water to further improve your path to a good night’s rest.
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Our health is the source of all our potential, and we believe that plenty of nourishing sleep will help us live better, more enriched lives. Sleep beautifully with Africology.