Sleep: The Key to Wellness
Wellness experts agree—sleep is the cornerstone of wellness. Too often however, we overlook the importance of sleep in favour of “sexier” recommendations like intense workouts, strict diets, expensive supplements, and other fads and gimmicks. Some estimates say that one-third of adults are chronically sleep deprived, meaning that they get fewer than seven hours of continuous sleep each night. Things like stress, alcohol, allergies, and electronics are the biggest obstacles for most adults in getting the rest they need. Couple those factors with the increasingly rapid pace of modern life, where people are working longer and playing harder, and often sleep is the first thing that gets cut in order to multitask already hectic lives.
Often people insist that they “can” live on less than seven hours of sleep per night. So if you’ve convinced yourself that you CAN do it—why wouldn’t you?
First, it’s crucial to understand why our bodies need sleep and what happens when we sleep to fully appreciate how imperative getting enough sleep is to our mental and physical well-being. Some of the critical functions that occur while we sleep are—cell rejuvenation, hormone stabilization, neurotoxin removal, cardiovascular recovery, and a myriad of other body repair. The US Center for Disease Control has gone so far as to state that “Insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic.” A lack of sleep is associated with decreased cognitive functioning, mood swings and irritability, and an increase in anxiety and depression. Research even shows that a chronic lack of sleep, or getting poor quality sleep, increases the risk of disorders including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.
If sleep is so vital to our overall wellness, how do we go about ensuring we get a good night’s sleep? Click here for Six Sleep Tips for a Good Morning.
Amanda Lim, Peak Health Consultancy, and Maria Luedeke, Aspire Counselling, are the co-creators of The Butterfly Project.
Maria is a mental health counsellor and psychotherapist with nine years of experience. She believes in melding mind and body self care for holistic wellness.
Amanda has been a certified personal trainer and nutritionist for 14 years. She’s passionate about women's health, prenatal and postpartum wellness, and helping her clients develop lifelong fitness & nutrition solutions.