The Importance of Sleep and Your Health

Sleep is one of the important health factors that affect us most. I speak to almost everyone that I meet with for wellness coaching on the topic and it is often one of the most common struggles that people are dealing with. It’s also becoming one of the most medicated wellness issues out there. I’ve always had trouble sleeping due to having a very busy brain if I wake up at night and being a light sleeper, I wake up often. I also share a home with someone with sleep apnea, which is a huge health issue in itself and obviously a noisy one that creates more sleep deprivation for both of us.

There are so many factors that can affect quality and quantity of sleep and in turn so many medical issues that lack of sleep can cause. Problems such as age-related cognitive decline, anxiety, bipolar disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea and snoring, various medications, or as I mentioned, a busy brain, can all have an impact on your sleep. In a vicious circle, the things that cause a lack of sleep, can also be amplified by lack of sleep. Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease all have been shown to have a link to sleep. Sleep issues can wreak havoc on emotions and cause stress in relationships.

Sleep quality has been linked to risk of Alzheimer’s disease as well as protein deposits on the brain. Sleep apnea causes a lack of oxygen and can in some cases end in death or have long-term effects. People prone to anxiety and depression find the symptoms growing if they are not getting enough quality sleep. Lack of sleep can result in detrimental health from causing a heart attack to weight gain. Your body is more susceptible to infections and viruses when run down, your cortisol and other hormone levels rise and can cause weight gain and make it nearly impossible to lose weight. Of course being tired also causes people to not have the energy to workout, make poor dietary choices and in general causes a lower quality of life.

Not drinking alcohol before bed, eating too late, or exercising in the late evening can be better choices to help with your rest. Most of us know that things like Epsom salt baths before bed, yoga, meditation, turning off electronics and taking supplements like melatonin and Valerian root can aid in sleep, but most importantly, if you have a pattern of sleep issues see your doctor, get a sleep study to rule out sleep apnea if you are at risk, talk to your family to recruit their help with creating a healthy sleep environment. Wishing you and your family happy, healthy holidays!

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Liz Jones is the Wellness Coordinator for the City of Mesquite a wellness professional in Rockwall, Mesquite, Wylie and surrounding areas. She is a writer, certified yoga instructor, personal trainer and wellness coach. She holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and Strategic Management, with a graduate certificate in Ethics and Leadership. Her undergraduate studies included communication, business, writing, art, fitness, and dance. Liz Jones can be reached at: [email protected].

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