How Sleep Helps The Body To Heal

While you’re dreaming away, your body is actually hard at work healing and repairing itself so that you wake up feeling stronger and healthier.

With fewer demands on your body when you sleep, it has time to recover from the stresses of the day and perform restorative tasks that reset your energy, hormone, and stress levels.

HOW SLEEP HELPS THE
BODY TO HEAL

Medically Reviewed by
Dr Ronald Krueger MD F.A.A.C.S.

EVER WONDERED WHAT YOUR BODY IS REALLY UP TO AS YOU SLEEP? THERE’S MORE GOING ON THAN YOU KNOW!

While you’re dreaming away, your body is actually hard at work healing and repairing itself so that you wake up feeling stronger and healthier.

With fewer demands on your body when you sleep, it has time to recover from the stresses of the day and perform restorative tasks that reset your energy, hormone, and stress levels.

Getting enough good quality sleep allows your body time to reboot itself so that you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the challenges of another day. It also protects you from feeling overwhelmed, constantly stressed and run down which can happen when you miss out on the sleep you need.

Importantly, good sleep is integral to preserving your health in the longer term by guarding against many chronic diseases.

Let’s take a closer look at how your body heals and restores itself as you sleep.

The mystery of what exactly happens to our bodies when we sleep has long fascinated researchers. But recent studies have confirmed what sleep experts have suspected all along – that sleep plays a vital function in the body’s ability to fight infection and recover from illness and injury.

Dr. Michael Twery, who leads the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, says that sleep is one way for the body to recover and protect itself from illness. 

If you’ve been feeling particularly low on energy, sleep can help you push the reset button on your energy levels. So if you haven’t been making sleep a priority, here’s why it’s worth making sleep a priority in your schedule to sleep.

Let’s take a closer look at what happens when you go to sleep.

Immune health

The Kerry Global Consumer Survey on Immune Health found that immune support was the most important health concern for 63% of consumers with 19.5% saying that they purchased lifestyle products to boost their immunity.  

If you fall under this category, look no further – when you sleep, your body gets the opportunity to produce more of the white blood cells that attack viruses and bacteria that prevent it from healing. This also helps reduce inflammation and aid in the healing process. 

So when you don’t get enough shut-eye, your immune system may not be as effective at fighting or protecting you from infection.

Muscle health

If there are muscles in need of healing, the brain triggers a rush of hormones that promote tissue growth that repairs the blood vessels when you sleep. This process helps ease muscle soreness, rebuild damaged muscles, and encourage wounds to heal properly. That’s why physical trainers advocate rest and sleep for muscle gains.

Cardiovascular health

Sleep-deprived individuals are at greater risk of developing high cholesterol, which in turn can trigger a heart attack or a stroke. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), heart disease is the leading cause of death around the globe.

Sleep deprivation can cause your sympathetic nervous system to become overactive, initiating the release of excess adrenaline and signaling for the tissues to go on standby. This forces your heart to work harder.

When you fall into restful sleep, your blood pressure drops, your breathing slows, and the muscles relax. With your body in this state, there are naturally fewer demands on your heart.

Brain health

Sleep is essential if you intend to solve problems and stay focused at work. Some people think they can get by on three to four hours of sleep each night but this only maintains minimal cognitive functioning enabling you to accomplish basic tasks like showering or getting dressed. 

However, complex tasks like managing your finances or making a pitch at work might be more difficult to do on such little sleep. Your brain needs time during sleep to deploy its inbuilt cleaning system, the glymphatic system, which enables our brains to eliminate toxins and prepare for higher order task and challenges.

Energy levels

There are fewer demands on your body when you go to sleep, allowing it to recover and perform restorative tasks that reset your energy, hormone, and stress levels. Getting enough sleep allows you to feel refreshed and ready to take on the challenges of another day so that you don’t feel overwhelmed or constantly stressed.

Liver health

Your liver follows a natural rhythm that guides its functioning depending on the time of day. Research has shown that the liver adapts to feeding and fasting cycles as well as phases of rest and activity. Experts believe that any disruptions to the circadian clock can have an effect on liver functions like eliminating toxins and maintaining blood sugar levels.

Weight maintenance

People who don’t get enough sleep usually compensate by consuming more calories throughout the day. This is because sleep deprivation disrupts the balance between hormones responsible for suppressing and stimulating your appetite. 

The Harvard School of Public Health also found that women who only got about five hours of sleep were 15% more likely to be affected by obesity than those who slept seven hours. 

Dr. Phyllis C. Zee, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, also says that sleep loss has been linked to changes in the way your body utilizes glucose, which can potentially lead to pre-diabetes, or a state of insulin resistance. 

She also says that there is evidence to suggest that lack of sleep affects appetite regulation, which can cause you to overeat or eat more of the kinds of food that contribute to being overweight or obese.

How to get a good night’s sleep

Falling and staying asleep should be easy and straightforward, but most of the time, it isn’t. From environmental factors like blue light and noise pollution to health issues like congestion and narrowed airways, there are surprisingly a lot of things that prevent us from getting a good night’s sleep. 

The good news is that you have control over some of those issues. Small changes, like keeping your bedroom dark and cool, getting some exercise through the day and switching off your phone before you go to sleep, and addressing health issues like congestion or a compromised nasal airway, can make it easier for you to fall and stay asleep.

IF YOU’RE WAKING UP WITH A DRY MOUTH OR YOUR PARTNER TELLS YOU YOU’VE BEEN SNORING, THEN IT COULD BE THAT YOU’RE BREATHING THROUGH YOUR MOUTH DURING SLEEP RATHER THAN YOUR NOSE. REMEMBER THE NOSE IS FOR BREATHING, THE MOUTH IS FOR EATING!

THE SLEEP BETTER NATURALLY SERIES is sponsored by Rhinomed, a medical technology company dedicated to improving sleep through better breathing. Rhinomed is the maker of Mute, to aid snoring, and Pronto Sleep, to help you fall asleep and stay asleep, naturally.

NEED BETTER SLEEP?

Is Snoring Affecting Your Partner’s Sleep?

Poor sleep can have a major effect on the life of a snorer’s partner including feeling tired, irritable, moody and burnout. It can also affect their ability to concentrate and be productive during their working day.

Snoring can also result in relationship strain and even deep resentment. Partners tend to blame the snorer for preventing them from getting good shuteye, while snorers resent their partner for making an issue out of their snoring and for the elbow in the ribs during the night to stop the snoring.

IS SNORING AFFECTING YOUR
PARTNER’S SLEEP?

Medically Reviewed by
Dr Ronald Krueger MD F.A.A.C.S.

SHARING A BED WITH THE PERSON YOU LOVE IS ONE OF LIFE’S GREATEST PLEASURES. IT’S THE ULTIMATE ACT OF TRUST AND INTIMACY. BUT MORE AND MORE COUPLES ARE GETTING A “SLEEP DIVORCE”– AN ARRANGEMENT WHERE COUPLES SLEEP IN SEPARATE ROOMS TO GET AWAY FROM THEIR PARTNER’S SNORING.

Poor sleep can have a major effect on the life of a snorer’s partner including feeling tired, irritable, moody and burnout. It can also affect their ability to concentrate and be productive during their working day.

Snoring can also result in relationship strain and even deep resentment. Partners tend to blame the snorer for preventing them from getting good shuteye, while snorers resent their partner for making an issue out of their snoring and for the elbow in the ribs during the night to stop the snoring.

A recent global sleep survey by Phillips found that 35% of those who live with snorers say that they sleep separately on occasion because of their partner’s snoring. 

Unfortunately, some of those who are unable to find solutions end up leaving their partners, making snoring, along with infidelity and financial problems, one of the leading causes of divorce in the world.

But there are many ways you can prevent a sleep divorce. Good communication and a better understanding of what is causing the snoring will go a long way to finding the right solution.  Improved sleep hygiene, simple sleep aids, speaking with a health practitioner, and having a healthy lifestyle are just a few easy ways to make a start.

How snoring affects your partner

Even if it doesn’t keep you awake, snoring is probably stopping your partner from getting a good night’s sleep. Ongoing sleep deprivation has been shown to have the following consequences for both the snorer and their bed partner:

  • Studies have shown that 80% to 90% of people who sleep beside a snorer have difficulty entering rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, or the deep sleep you need for a good night’s rest.
  • Sleep-deprived individuals are more likely to be irritable, feel sleepy, and have poor concentration during the day which makes them less productive and more prone to making mistakes.
  • Chronic sleep deprivation puts individuals at higher risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, depression, and a weakened immune system.
  • Nearly 20% of car accidents and related injuries are associated with drowsiness.
Importantly, snoring can also have a negative effect on your relationship – a 2017 study found that couples that don’t get enough sleep are more likely to argue.

Here’s what you can do about it

  • Avoid alcohol and sedatives before bed – These substances cause the muscles in your airways to slacken, which can make snoring worse. Try herbal tea instead. Chamomile and lavender tea, for instance, are known to calm the nerves and induce sleepiness.
  • Use a sleep aid – A nasal dilator that gently opens the airways to help you breathe better at night is a good line of defense against snoring, particularly if your snoring is being caused by or exacerbated by nasal obstruction.
  • Sleep on your side – This sleeping position prevents the tongue from collapsing to the back of the throat and obstructing the airways. You can also prop up your bed or keep your head elevated with a thick pillow to keep this from happening.
  • Treat allergies, colds, and other illnesses – If you suffer from nasal congestion as a result of chronic allergies or the common cold, get proper treatment and ease your symptoms to reduce snoring.
  • Establish a routine – Try going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time each day to regulate your body clock and make sure that you and your partner are getting enough sleep.
  • Treat allergies, colds, and other illnesses – If you suffer from nasal congestion as a result of chronic allergies or the common cold, get proper treatment and ease your symptoms to reduce snoring.
  • Prioritize comfort – Make sure your bedroom is conducive to restful sleep by keeping it dark, clean, and distraction-free. Maintain a comfortable temperature by keeping your thermostat in check. Replace your beddings with fresh ones on a regular basis.
  • Laugh about it – Snoring is completely involuntary. It doesn’t have to be a cause of resentment between you and your partner. Laugh about it together and work as a team to reduce your snoring.

Don’t let snoring come between you and your partner. Sleeping in separate beds should always be the last resort. Try to work out what is causing your snoring and then explore all your options. You might be pleasantly surprised to find an endless array of natural, safe, and affordable solutions available to you.

https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/snoring-considered-leading-cause-relationship-2796485

https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/snoring-considered-leading-cause-relationship-2796485

https://sleepguardian.com.au/blogs/news/snoring-is-a-leading-cause-of-divorce

https://verilymag.com/2018/01/sleep-apnea-symptoms-couple-sleeping-in-separate-beds-bedrooms-married-snoring-husband-wife

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/visualizing-worlds-sleeping-habits/

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/04/which-countries-get-the-most-sleep-and-how-much-do-we-really-need/

https://www.travelagentcentral.com/running-your-business/stats-51-adults-worldwide-don-t-get-enough-sleep

https://www.sleepadvisor.org/sleep-statistics/

https://www.dreams.co.uk/sleep-matters-club/data-shows-a-shocking-worldwide-lack-of-sleep/

https://www.philips.com/a-w/about/news/archive/standard/news/press/2019/20190307-philips-global-sleep-survey-shows-we-want-better-sleep-but-only-if-it-comes-easily.html

https://www.philips.com/a-w/about/news/archive/standard/news/press/2019/20190307-in-recognition-of-world-sleep-day-philips-presents-its-annual-global-sleep-survey-results.html

https://www.vox.com/culture/2020/3/20/21187296/coronavirus-quarantine-husband-wife-roommate-family-couples-therapy-cope

https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2020/03/coronavirus-quarantine-socializing/608020/

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/03/23/to-have-and-to-hold-in-quarantine-and-in-health

 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0306453016305169

PLEASE REMEMBER: AVOID LONG DAYTIME NAPS WHICH ONLY LEAVE YOU FEELING GROGGY AND UPSET YOUR NIGHT TIME ROUTINE. IF YOU REALLY NEED SOME SHUT EYE KEEP IT TO ABOUT 20 MINS WHICH WILL LEAVE YOU FEELING REFRESHED AND REVIVED.

THE SLEEP BETTER NATURALLY SERIES is sponsored by Rhinomed, a medical technology company dedicated to improving sleep through better breathing. Rhinomed is the maker of Mute, to aid snoring, and Pronto Sleep, to help you fall asleep and stay asleep, naturally.

NEED BETTER SLEEP?

The Long Term Benefits of Sleep Start Now!

But our go-go-go lifestyles and the temptations of technology often keep us from surrendering to sleep even when our bodies and brains beg for it. This imbalance of sleep and wakefulness has a price to pay, both short and long-term, and the consequences are evident in the current global epidemic of sleep deficiency.

When you don’t get enough sleep for even one night, you wake up groggy, craving coffee and likely have trouble focusing throughout the day.

THE LONG TERM BENEFITS OF
SLEEP START NOW!

Medically Reviewed by
Dr Ronald Krueger MD F.A.A.C.S.
SLEEP IS ESSENTIAL FOR LIFE.
IT’S AS SIMPLE AS THAT.

But our go-go-go lifestyles and the temptations of technology often keep us from surrendering to sleep even when our bodies and brains beg for it. This imbalance of sleep and wakefulness has a price to pay, both short and long-term, and the consequences are evident in the current global epidemic of sleep deficiency.

When you don’t get enough sleep for even one night, you wake up groggy, craving coffee and likely have trouble focusing throughout the day. But when you multiply this night after night, year after year, the toll is cumulative, increasing your risks for cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, depression, infections, obesity, early onset dementia, and even early death.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. While we should acknowledge the risks of insufficient sleep and use them as a catalyst to improve our sleep, let’s focus on the long-term benefits of good sleep which are much more encouraging.

While we can’t change the sleep of our past, we can recognize that the long-term benefits of sleep begin for each of us TODAY. The sleep you get tonight and over time will serve as an integral indicator of your overall health, physical and mental.

Before providing the benefits of good sleep, let’s define what constitutes good sleep. Scientists and sleep medical/clinical experts recommend 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Recognizing that sleep quality is also critical in addition to sleep quantity, it is important to address whether you have a sleep disorder and/or poor sleep habits. If you suspect you may have a sleep disorder, be sure to see your physician or a sleep specialist.

Here are some of the benefits of good sleep that impact your health and well-being, both short and long term:

  • Good sleep improves your immune system function, a benefit particularly relevant and critical today. Sufficient sleep offers protection from infections with a more functional immune system and heightened efficiency and you are even less likely to get the common cold.
  • During sleep, our brain has a cleaning system, the glymphatic system, which enables our brains to eliminate toxins. When we chronically get insufficient sleep, our brain becomes like a dirty kitchen, increasing our risk for early onset dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Sleep helps to “maintain many of our vital functions. One of the most important of these functions may be to provide cells and tissues with the opportunity to recover from the wear and tear of daily life. Major restorative functions in the body such as tissue repair, muscle growth, and protein synthesis occur almost exclusively during sleep.”
  • Sleep is integrally woven into our appetites. In fact, insufficient sleep can lead to weight gain. Sleep duration is related to the hormones that regulate hunger. People who get sufficient sleep tend to eat fewer calories. Furthermore, when you are tired, you are less likely to get adequate exercise thereby risking weight gain.

And for your waking hours, sufficient sleep has these benefits:

  • Getting a good night’s sleep enhances our ability to absorb new information we acquire when we are awake and during sleep, we then consolidate what we learn into our memory.
  • When you get good sleep, you are more productive at work and your ability to learn, problem solve, and make decisions are supported.
  • Sleep is integrally woven into our appetites. In fact, insufficient sleep can lead to weight gain. People who get sufficient sleep tend to eat fewer calories and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Good sleep supports your social skills and healthy interaction with family, friends, and colleagues. In fact, one study found that people who get insufficient sleep have trouble recognizing facial expressions of anger or happiness in others.

How you sleep directly impacts your health, both mental and physical, as well as how well you function during your waking hours. You will spend about one third of your life sleeping which will directly impact the quality of your life for the other two thirds when you want to be at your best. The benefits of good sleep merit ensuring that you get the best sleep possible, tonight and every night to come.

PLEASE REMEMBER: SET THE SCENE FOR A GREAT NIGHT’S SLEEP BY ENSURING YOUR BEDROOM IS DARK, COOL AND QUIET. IF IT’S TOO QUIET FOR YOUR LIKING TRY A WHITE NOISE MACHINE OR AN APP THAT PLAYS SOOTHING SOUNDS LIKE RAINDROPS ON A ROOF.

THE SLEEP BETTER NATURALLY SERIES is sponsored by Rhinomed, a medical technology company dedicated to improving sleep through better breathing. Rhinomed is the maker of Mute, to aid snoring, and Pronto Sleep, to help you fall asleep and stay asleep, naturally.

NEED BETTER SLEEP?

The Day-To-Day Benefits of Sleep

Sleep is often seen as a luxury rather than a necessity in today’s fast-paced world. Not only are we plugged in 24/7, we’re driven by deadlines and a fear of missing out so there’s always something better or more urgent that needs doing.

But getting a good night’s sleep can make all the difference to our day-to-day lives. It can have a tremendous impact on our performance at work, school, or gym. It also affects how we interact with those around us. From mood stability and concentration to immune health and muscle recovery, sleep is vital to waking life.

THE DAY-TO-DAY BENEFITS OF SLEEP
(+ TIPS ON HOW TO GET THEM!)

Medically Reviewed by Dr Ronald Krueger MD F.A.A.C.S.

SLEEP IS OFTEN SEEN AS A LUXURY RATHER THAN A NECESSITY IN TODAY’S FAST-PACED WORLD. NOT ONLY ARE WE PLUGGED IN 24/7, WE’RE DRIVEN BY DEADLINES AND A FEAR OF MISSING OUT SO THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHING BETTER OR MORE URGENT THAT NEEDS DOING.

Sleep is often seen as a luxury rather than a necessity in today’s fast-paced world. Not only are we plugged in 24/7, we’re driven by deadlines and a fear of missing out so there’s always something better or more urgent that needs doing.

But getting a good night’s sleep can make all the difference to our day-to-day lives. It can have a tremendous impact on our performance at work, school, or gym. It also affects how we interact with those around us. From mood stability and concentration to immune health and muscle recovery, sleep is vital to waking life.

Getting the right amount of good quality sleep is all about living better in the here and now. Combined with a healthy approach to food and exercise, a good night’s sleep is an investment in feeling great every day.

The Verdict Is In Getting enough sleep is the single most important thing you can do to make day-to-day life a little better.

But it’s one of those things we take for granted. According to the 2018 World Relaxation Report, 51% of adults around the world say they don’t get enough sleep. The independent research study by Wakefield Research named the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia among some of the most sleep-deprived countries in the world.

It’s a shame because quality sleep has proven benefits. Here’s why you should start making sleep a priority.

The day-to-day benefits of good sleep

Chronic sleep deprivation causes elevated levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the bloodstream. So if you’ve been feeling more overwhelmed than usual, make sure to get enough sleep. Relaxation techniques like meditation and breathing exercises can also help you manage stress.

A study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM) found that sleep enables the body’s T-cells to fight infections more effectively, bolstering your immune response. So if you’ve been feeling under the weather lately, crawl back to bed and get some rest.

Excess cortisol can cause elevated blood pressure, which in turn puts you at higher risk of heart disease and strokes. Restful sleep promotes a state of relaxation that can help keep your blood pressure under control.

So if you find yourself getting snippy with your spouse or just feeling grumpier than usual, lack of sleep might be to blame. Dr. Michael Twery, director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, says that lack of sleep causes mood changes, memory loss, and poor concentration, which in turn creates problems in our personal and professional lives.

Mental health concerns like depression have also been linked to sleep deprivation. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have found that over 90% of patients who have depression also suffer from poor sleep quality with 40% saying that they have difficulty falling and staying asleep.

Poor sleep has also been linked to weight gain with short sleep duration being one of the biggest risk factors for obesity. So if you’re trying to keep the weight off, make sure to get enough sleep along with regular exercise and balanced meals.Mouth breathing is much less efficient and increases the risk of snoring.

Studies have also shown that those who sleep less tend to consume more calories throughout the day. They may also have more difficulty controlling their appetite as sleep deprivation throws your hormones off balance.  So if you’ve been feeling more ravenous lately, getting quality sleep should be a priority.

How much sleep is enough?

So how much sleep do you really need? The numbers differ based on age and other factors, but the National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep for adults. 

Babies and toddlers need up to 14 hours while teenagers are advised to get 8 to 10 hours in. 

That’s easier said than done, of course. A global survey by Phillips found that anxiety and stress prevent 54% of adults from getting enough sleep. 40% blame poor sleep on their environment while 37% cite work or school as their primary obstacle to getting a good night’s sleep.

How to get the sleep you need

Experts advise sleep-deprived adults to follow a regular sleep schedule to help regulate their body clock. That means going to and getting out of bed at roughly the same time each day. 

They also caution against taking caffeine and doing a strenuous workout too close to bedtime. 

If you’re a shift worker, with work hours that require you to stay awake and alert when you should ideally be sleeping, experts recommend keeping your bedroom as dark, quiet, and comfortable as possible when you come home to sleep during the day. 

You can also try having a warm shower or simple breathing techniques that may help you to relax and sleep better naturally. 

It’s no secret that a good night’s sleep makes us happier, more alert, and more productive. Making small adjustments to your sleeping habits can make a world of a difference.

Important Note: There are many sleep disorders that require a medical diagnosis and treatment, so if you are at all concerned, please seek advice from a medical professional.

PLEASE REMEMBER: KEEP YOUR BEDROOM FREE OF TECHNOLOGY AND RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO CHECK EMAILS OR SOCIAL MEDIA BEFORE BED. LET YOUR BEDROOM BE A HAVEN FOR SLEEP AND RELAXATION AFTER A BUSY DAY.

THE SLEEP BETTER NATURALLY SERIES is sponsored by Rhinomed, a medical technology company dedicated to improving sleep through better breathing. Rhinomed is the maker of Mute, to aid snoring, and Pronto Sleep, to help you fall asleep and stay asleep, naturally.

NEED BETTER SLEEP?