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“The Best Bridge Between Despair and Hope is a Good Night’s Sleep”

“The Best Bridge Between Despair and Hope is a Good Night’s Sleep”

(From: Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep & Dreams, Matthew Walker)

Did you know that in some parts of the world, certain cultures don’t have a word for the term insomnia? Research conducted in three preindustrial societies in Bolivia and Southern Africa has suggested that our hunter-gatherer ancestors slept better than us, despite only sleeping an average of 6.4 hours a night. All three showed similar trends in sleeping. The study suggests that our ancestors went to sleep about three hours after sunset and would wake up before sunrise1.

Despite our advances in sleep technology and drugs, 80% of the people in the US still suffer from sleeping disorders. This has only become prevalent in the last 100 years. We are constantly bombarded with artificial stimulation and unnatural lights and so our bodies have lost their natural circadian rhythm2. We are basically tricked into thinking it is daylight most of the time. Maybe you have even found this article trying to find a way to help you sleep better and are in bed with your phone in front of you “unable to sleep”!

Sleep affects our health in many ways: body weight, metabolism, stress, anxiety, hormones and more, are all affected by how well we sleep. If you are dieting and exercising to lose weight or get in shape, but are not getting enough quality sleep, you are self-sabotaging your efforts more than you think.

The benefits of sleep are many and here are the top ones:

 

While most people have heard this before, decreasing screen time and then avoiding it all together 2 hours before bed will help your body wind down and will allow for a better night's sleep. My favorites though are:

 

In summary, if you want better sex, pay attention to your natural sleep rhythm, avoid screens before bed, focus on quality sleep and workout!

 

Sources: Coker, April. Total Body Health, 2016

1CNN. Our ancient ancestors may have slept better than you, but also less. [Online] CNN, 29 October, 2015. [Cited: August 7, 2016] http://edition.cnn.com/2015/20/29/health/sleep-like-your-ancestors/.

2Cohen, Deborah. Are you a lark or an owl? BBC. [Online] January 19, 2014. [Cited:August 8, 2016]http://www.bbc.com/news/health-25777978

 

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