Previous studies have linked lack of sleep to a number of health issues such as hypertension, obesity and diabetes. Lack of sleep also affected the immune system and now new studies reveal that lack of sleep has the same impact on the human body as high stress does. As reported in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “Sleep deprivation effect on the immune system mirrors physical stress.” – ScienceDaily, 1 July 2012.
You’ve probably noticed yourself that after a stressful time like a new job, moving, exams and those kinds of things, you suddenly get flu?
Stress creates a type of fight or flight reaction in your immune system and it can take a long time to get back to full balance. But now it’s apparent that it’s not only stress that needs to be looked at and balanced, it is also sleep, or lack thereof.
In the clinical trial some of the steps taken to help the participants get a good night’s rest started before the trial itself. The steps were ensuring they had exposure to light early in the morning, no caffeine or alcohol and no medication. Routine and these steps helped reset their circadian clocks and assisted in getting a full complete rest. Not all these steps need to be followed but some can help in day to day routines as well.
Try exposing yourself to sunlight or bright light early on waking. Try limit stimulants to early morning or cut them out altogether. Ask your doctor if you can change dosages of some medications that interfere with sleep, to the morning dose. Try to have a routine of waking and sleeping, you might be pleasantly surprised at some meditation types and or simply deep breathing. They often do the same thing with having you breathe in counting to a number, and out to a count. They often get you to consciously relax things like your jaw, neck hands, legs and make you picture yourself relaxed in a setting of your choice.
You may also be surprised how often you lie there tensed up when trying to sleep, and scrolling through social media with the light of the device is playing havoc on that clock of yours. You would be better off playing a sleep meditation video on it and putting it face down next to you.
Don’t knock it till you try it, there is something to them and they often work. Short term sleeping aids can also help you to reset that precious internal clock and it’s just as important as managing stress, so don’t ignore the issue. If you have poor sleeping habits it might be time to change a few bad habits instead.