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Why does sleep matter?

Over the last twenty years, research has begun to unravel the mystery of sleep: why we sleep at all, the benefits of sleep for the body and mind and why we dream. The answers to these questions have eluded scientists until recently. In Matthew Walker’s excellent and ground-breaking book, “Why We Sleep”, he begins to explain the marvel of sleep(1). 

Sleep matters, on just about every level:

The Role of Dreams (4)

Dreams act as a type of overnight therapy, to help us safely process difficult or traumatic episodes in our life. The phrase ‘sleep on it’ may well have some truth to it. Research has confirmed that in REM sleep; dream stage, the emotional component is removed from trauma, enabling us to move forward. Dreams are also the font of our creativity and problem-solving skills. There are many cases of people waking up a new idea, or solution to a problem.

Dreaming also plays a vital and fascinating role that helps us read facial expressions and perceive emotions which inform our behavioural response to others. Parts of our brain decipher facial expressions and nuances and, without sleep, the brain muddles the signs, tending towards a fear bias, meaning a friend can be perceived as foe. I wonder what the implications are to our brain from the lack of facial expressions as a result of us wearing face masks (during Covid-19). I suspect it will help maintain a state of the unknown, perhaps keep us on a mild ‘red alert’, which may have implications on our sleep and mental health.

As I hope you will now see, sleep is your free, 24-hour, repeat prescription for optimum health, function and wellbeing. Avoid it at huge cost to your health, quality of life and even your lifespan. With insomnia at epidemic levels, (5) there is no better time to take control your sleep disorder. Wake up to the benefits of sleep today!

Contact me and start your recovery to healthy sleep, naturally. Because sleep really does matter.

References

1 Walker, Matthew, 2018: ‘Why We Sleep’ – Penguin Random House (ISBN: 978-0-141-98376-9)

2 Rooks M & Garrett W, 2016 ‘Gut Microbiota, metabolites and host immunity’ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27231050/

3 Lateef, M & Akintubosun, M, 2020: ‘Sleep and Reproductive Health’ – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32256630/

4 1 Walker, Matthew, 2018: ‘Why We Sleep’ – Penguin Random House (ISBN: 978-0-141-98376-9)

5 ‘The Wide Awake Club’, Mintel, 2017: https://www.mintel.com/press-centre/social-and-lifestyle/the-wide-awake-club-half-of-brits-struggle-to-sleep

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