5 reasons we should be getting more sleep.

Sleep is underrated more than ever. Up all night, sleeping in, the line between work and home blurred from the pandemic, it’s no wonder we feel like we can’t get enough of the stuff! Having a proper sleep routine is key to increasing energy levels, promoting healing and boosting natural immunity levels in the body. Plus, having the proper amount of sleep can improve long term memory and contribute to weight loss, according to the Sleep Foundation. 

So here’s 5 (terrifying) reasons we should be getting at least 8 hours sleep a night according to Matthew Walker, author of Why We Sleep (and yes, 8 is the golden number, anything less than 7 is considered sleep deprivation):

  1. After one night of just four or five hours’ sleep, your natural immunity dips significantly. Special white blood cells, often called T-cells, which are responsible for attacking everyday cancer cells that appear in your body drop by 70%. 
  2. Sleep also impacts on your immune system in other ways, which is why if you have a night of little sleep, you’re more likely to fall ill. Well-rested individuals tend to respond better to winter flu vaccinations, too. 
  3. Sleep significantly affects the bowel – a lack of sleep can lead to an increased risk of bowel cancer. The gut flora (i.e. friendly bacteria) produced in the bowels has also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Not getting enough sleep severely impacts the production of gut flora.
  4. One study found that adults aged 45 or older averaging less than 6 hours sleep per night are 200 times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke in their lifetime. This is because the more sleep you have, the lower your heart rate and blood pressure become over time.
  5. A lack of sleep also contributes to the body’s poor processing of blood sugar, which in turn can lead to hyperglycaemia (pre-diabetes) and weight gain. Hormones which control hunger and that feeling of fullness after a meal are also affected, which is why when we’re tired we want to eat more than we should.

One way in which we can learn how to fall asleep again is through the practice of Yoga Nidra. Yoga Nidra means “yogic Sleep”. It is a deep relaxation technique, which puts the yogi into a state of consciousness that is neither sleep nor wakefulness. It is also a place of creativity and focus, too. Have you ever experienced that feeling at night when you’re about to fall asleep and suddenly have a great idea? Then forget it by the next day? Then you’ve already experienced a taste of the Yoga Nidra state. It is a state of readiness and calmness. It can help to soothe anxiety around sleep, and help the mind to drift off into a peaceful sleep-like state. When practised regularly and under the guidance of a yoga teacher, Yoga Nidra can even help to process trauma and regulate sleep, too. 

If you’ve interested in learning more about how Yoga Nidra can help improve your sleep, I am running a 90 minute workshop on Saturday 19th June 2021. Head on over to https://www.franandayoga.com/events/yoga-nidra-workshop to find out more and book your place

Francesca Eckersley – Frananda Yoga.

You can find out more about Frananda Yoga, by checking out her profile!

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