(Based on the “Sleep On It!” by Robert Stickgold, an article from Scientific American Magazine)
Those who want to make the most of the waking hours at the cost of their sleep say we should just sleep when we die. But for those of us who are grumpy pants when we don’t get the proper hours of shut-eye, beg to differ. And I’m glad to say that Robert Stickgold, a neuroscientist whose work revolves around the function of sleep and dreams, seems to agree!
Over the last 20 years research began to partially explain our need for sleep. It is needed for optimal functioning of the immune system, proper hormone balance, emotional and psychiatric health, learning and memory, clearing toxins from the brain and so much more! In an extreme case, someone who lacks months of sleep may die, but someone who lacks only a little bit of sleep will still have bodily functions. And yet, having a good night’s rest is a necessity for the proper functioning of the body and mind.
In one study done by Karine Spiegel, healthy young men were limited to only four hours of sleep a night. After five nights of limited sleep, researchers found that their bodies were unable to clear the glucose from the blood, which is managed by the insulin. This action was decreased by 40%. In a different study, Spiegel limited the amount of sleep in 12 men for two nights. The levels of leptin were decreased by 18%, which signals the brain that there is no need to eat, resulting in the men having a 23% increase in hunger levels.
Sleep deprivation negatively affects the:
- The central nervous system in our bodies including brain function, memory, emotion & regulation of appetite
- Immune System by not being able to effectively fight off disease
- Endocrine System by making the body less sensitive to insulin, which increases the risk of obesity.
- the possibility of depression
- possibility of psychiatric disorders
Getting a little amount of sleep each night is a terrible strategy for dealing with everyday life. Results of studies show that lack of sleep and not getting enough of it could result in not only being very tired, but sick, overweight and forgetful! The more researchers explore what happens while we sleep the more they discover the new benefits of a good night’s rest.
For those who have difficulty getting a good night’s rest and are looking for a natural solution for this, therapeutic-grade Lavender essential oil is fantastic! In 2 separate studies that are published on PubMed, one engaged college students who had sleep issues and the other studied patients in an ICU who could not sleep well, both showed that Lavender may be an effective way to improve sleep.
To properly use Lavender, rub it behind the ears, on the back of the neck, on the bottoms of the feet. Diffusing or inhaling the smell of it will help aid in relaxation and calmness for the body, preparing it for a good nights rest! For more detailed information about therapeutic-grade Lavender essential oil, check out our online Master Class!