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Southern Brooks Community Partnerships

The wonders of sleep

Life is busy, stressful and complicated and feeling up and down is a total normal part of life. It is sometimes really hard to find a way back to feeling calm and balanced and quite often we reach very quickly for things that don’t help in the long run. Without exception there are 3 things EVERYONE needs to focus on in order to be happy and healthy. When people come to me to ask for help the first things I always ask about are…

  • Sleep
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise

These 3 things need to be thought of as the first prescription from the doctor, if they are not met WE CAN NOT BE FULLY HEALTHY, MENTALLY OR PHYSICALLY, no matter how strong the anti-depressant or how much money and things we have.

So I thought I would share with you a couple of things about these building blocks to health and start with the most important….sleep.

First of all, we all need about 8 hours. Everyone. There are many people who say ‘I feel fine on 5-6 hours’ and they probably do, but all the rigorous tests have shown that they have (significantly…like 30%!) reduced cognitive function (or being able to solve problems/think clearly), reduced physical ability (weaker, slower, clumsier) and reduced emotional intelligence (more up and down, less able to be logical and calm, less able to see clearly through a strong emotion). There is also a huge reduction in our regulatory hormones including testosterone and serotonin…which means our sex drive and happiness is on the floor!

A brain scan on people who are sleep deprived is exactly the same as someone who has brain damage. This does not mean 3 days of no sleep, this can be from as little as 1-2 hours less than you need…

Due to the change in insulin response from sleep deprivation a loss of 1 hours sleep a night over the course of a year is the equivalent to 14lb in weight.

‘Sleeping’ using sleeping pills is not sleep, it’s unconsciousness. It will induce actual sleep for less than an hour during the night; although it may mask SOME of the symptoms of sleep deprivation it does not change most of the damage.

So, in a nutshell, if we want to be able to think, make decisions, be calm, happy and lose a stone in weight the first thing we need to do is….get 8 hours, every night!

If you’re interested in any of this look at Dr Kirk Parsley, he’s got some good podcasts too if you haven’t got time to read his research.

I hope this was helpful to some of you,

Happy sleeping!