Importance of Sleep
I think one thing every single person on the planet can agree with is the fact that sleep is vital. Quality sleep is just as important as the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink.
While we sleep our brain is a busy worker bee carrying out functions that are crucial to our quality of life. When we sleep our cells are being recharged, our precious memories and experiences are being processed, crucial hormones are being released, and harmful toxins are washed away. It's recommended that we need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night to help our internal housekeeper run smoothly. Research suggests that one-third of Americans are not getting their recommended dose of sleep.
How Does Sleep Work?
The times in which we wake and sleep are known as our circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is like your own internal clock that lives in your brain. The circadian rhythm is also known as the sleep and wake and cycle This cycle runs for 24 hours and transitions you between sleeping and being awake.
The human brain is a finely tuned powerhouse. While we sleep our brain morphs into a factory, made up of tiny moving parts working efficiently to control when we are awake and when we are asleep.
A bundle of nerves monitors your body's internal clock. It regulates your blood pressure, body temperature, and sense of time. A special protein coordinates when we rise and fall by managing our body temperature and blood pressure. Before we rise and shine, our body releases stress-hormones to prepare us from the shock of waking up. A number of factors can disrupt our natural rhythm and throw our internal clock's programming out of whack.
In America alone, about 40 million people experience sleep disturbances and about 20 million people experience occasional sleep problems.
Besides a 4 pm double espresso and late-night Netflix binges, a number of things can disrupt our precious sleep leaving us susceptible to fatigue, mood swings, weakens the immune system's defense mechanisms.
Blue light (smartphones and tablets)
Lack of sleep can also lead to inflammation, weight gain, memory issues, and major health issues like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome can change our sleeping patterns and can negatively impact our health. Sleep disturbances, disorders, and deprivation can all affect fertility.
While research on infertility and sleep is still in its early stages, scientists have definitely found a link between sleep disturbances and infertility.
Sleeping regulates hormones essential to fertility for both men and women.. A number of hormones are released into our body by our brain as we sleep.
For women, hormones that regulate menstrual cycles and stimulate ovulation are released as they sleep. For men, hormones vital to sperm production are released as they sleep. Having too much or too little of these fertility hormones can impact our fertility.
In a study, researchers found that FSH levels were 20% lower in women who slept for less than 7 hours.
In a study, researchers found that if couples are not getting their daily recommended dose of sleep they are 42% less likely to have sex with their partner.
In a study, researchers found that ASA levels were higher in men that went to bed late.
In a study, researchers found that women receiving IVF, who slept seven to eight hours of sleep a night, were 25% more likely to become pregnant than those who snoozed for nine hours or more.
Sleep hygiene is behavioral changes we can make to improve our quality of sleep and ultimately our quality of life.
Sleep hygiene doesn't have to become
complicated or expensive. There are little steps you can take to get your body back on its natural schedule.
Here are 5 simple steps you can to get in sync with your rhythm.
Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends- Sticking to a consistent sleep schedule helps to regulate your body's internal clock. If you are a night owl, don't worry you do not have to become a morning person overnight. For example, if you typically go to bed at 11 pm try going to bed at 10:30. Reduce the time by 15 or 30-minute intervals each night until you reach a time that works well for your body.
Unplug before bed-Relaxing in a dark cool environment before bed is a great way to wash away your racing thoughts, the day's activities, and excitement for tomorrow, Try practicing yoga, listening to a guided meditation, or soundscapes before bed to promote relaxation. If you had a particularly stressful or uneasy day try dumping all of your thoughts into a journal. You can keep up with this on a nightly basis to make it a part of your nighttime routine or you can simply use it when you feel restless and unable to ease yourself into sleep.
Don't hit the snooze button- Sleeping too long can negatively impact your day too. Hitting the snooze button can disrupt your sleep patterns causing you to feel drowsy throughout the day. Try setting one alarm and then place that alarm away from arms reach. That way you have to physically get up to turn your alarm off. Set the intention in your brain to wake up at the same time every morning. Eventually, you may not even need that pesky alarm.
Get a morning dose of sunshine- Sunline helps to regulate our sleeping patterns. Starting your morning with sunshine is a great way to invigorate the senses and set us on the right path for the day. Not only will it help you to feel alert, but getting your daily dose of natural vitamin D will help you sleep later on. Try drinking your morning cup of joe on your front porch or going for a walk first thing in the morning.
Revaluate your bedroom- Take an inventory of your bedroom to find out what could be obstructing your ability to get to sleep easily. Experts say the bedroom should be for sleep and sex only. Keeping your screens out of the bedroom is one step you can take to make your bedroom sleep-friendly. You can also add an essential oil diffuser, paint your room cool colors, change out your mattress, and pick out comfy bedding and pillows.
There is no denying how crucial quality sleep is to our everyday life. Sleep is an important factor for all humans, no matter what you do or what you are trying to achieve. We all need sleep to be successful and happy.
Scientists have always been mesmerized by sleep, but there is still much to be learned. About 6 million people in America suffer from infertility. 20% of fertility causes are still unknown. If you are suffering from infertility due to an unknown cause, talk to your doctor about how to improve your quality of sleep. If you are struggling with infertility and the cause is known, your quality of sleep may still be impacting your fertility.
Tell us about the quality of sleep and what helps you in the comment section.