SoulBeing Blog

News, information, and resources to help you understand and improve your health.

Snooze or Lose: Sleep, Its Benefits, and How to Optimize Them

Jul 10, 2024 | Benefits, Blog, General, Health | 0 comments

Sleep is important. This is a fact and lesson that everyone has been told at some point in their life, whether by a doctor, teacher, parent, or friend. Because of this, almost everyone knows that good sleep habits are essential for living a happy, healthy life. However, many do not understand how much and how the quality of one’s sleep can truly impact daily life. These impacts range from the obvious effects on energy and concentration to more obscure, lesser-known effects on issues like blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity, influenced by eating habits and the digestive system.

But what exactly is sleep? Well, if you ask the average person, they’ll say it’s ‘a break for the body’ or ‘the buffer between days for the body to rest.’ While these answers make sense given the average understanding of sleep, they do not capture the whole picture. In fact, the medical and scientific definition of sleep, while encompassing these ideas, elaborates further and adds information highlighting how important sleep truly is.

For instance, a 2013 journal article by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services explains that during sleep, the brain and body are still working, albeit at a slower pace. The work done during sleep directly affects how you feel when you wake up. The brain sends out signals and releases hormones and chemicals that repair damaged cells and regulate heart and blood rates, which can improve cardiovascular health. In short, sleep is neither a complete shutdown nor worthless in the slightest, as some of the key factors of how you feel and operate while awake come from biological processes that happen while you sleep.

There is another important aspect to discuss, and it’s one of, if not the most crucial part of this topic: circadian rhythm. Most people have at least heard the term, but in case you haven’t, the best way to summarize circadian rhythm is the biological, mental, and emotional change patterns our bodies experience over 24 hours, with sleep being a significant part.

At certain points of the day, your body naturally starts producing hormones like melatonin because of your unique circadian rhythm. When this rhythm is disrupted, it highlights the negative effects bad sleep patterns can have. It’s also important to note that circadian rhythm, though subtle, varies for everyone. There’s a detailed article on if you want to learn more, but for our purposes, remember that your circadian rhythm is unique to you. Trying a new cure-all that worked for someone else is not recommended because it might cause more negative effects than positives.

Whether or not circadian rhythm can be changed is debatable, as different resources provide varying answers. However, as sleep relates to circadian rhythm, sleep patterns can change circadian rhythm, which the body can adapt to. Major changes should not happen, as they can disrupt the circadian rhythm, but small, minor, or temporary changes can usually be adapted to with little to no negative effects.

So, what can be done to help with poor sleep habits? What services can our providers offer to help you? Believe it or not, a lot more than you might think! CAM therapies like acupuncture, meditation, tai chi, and yoga can positively affect sleep quality by regulating serotonin levels in the body. This helps one become calmer and less stressed, as serotonin levels directly impact these factors and play a key role in the brain’s production of melatonin, a hormone that improves sleep quality.

Now, equipped with a more detailed understanding of sleep, why it’s important, and what exactly can improve it, consider trying any of the services that might help. It may just go a long way.



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