Why You Need Sleep to Restore Your Body

Many of my clients and attendees at my retreats tell me they're so busy and stressed, they sleep around six hours per night; but that's OK right? Wrong. Evidence on the biochemical changes that occur during sleep is mounting, meaning sleep is more important than we ever realised!

I asked one of the experts to tell all of you about the importance of sleep - check it out!

why you need sleep australia nz

Sleep provides time to heal, recharge and restore the body, yet many people view rest as a luxury rather than a necessity. Many adults don't sleep the recommended seven hours each night. By making sleep a priority and developing good sleep hygiene, you can get the restorative sleep you need to be physically and mentally at your best.

Sleep Deprivation Puts a Stop to Your Healing Abilities

The body has amazing abilities to heal and restore itself but needs time in which to do it. A study published in Sleep Medicine measured the levels of proteins necessary for muscle recovery and correlated it to the subjects’ amount of sleep. Lack of sleep suppressed showed a slower healing process in all aspects of your biology.

The immune system also takes a serious hit during sleep deprivation.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University explored the effects of sleep deprivation on the immune system by examining susceptibility to the common cold. Sleep deprived people were more likely to catch a cold.

Those that slept less than seven hours were nearly three times as likely to get sick.

It wasn’t just how much time they slept but the quality of their sleep as well. Participants who frequently woke during the night were also more susceptible to illness. The immune system needs rest to not only fight off infection but to recharge itself for full daytime functionality.

what is the main reason you need sleep?

How to Get Better, More Restorative Sleep

The benefits of sleep come from spending enough hours in bed and from high-quality sleep. You can improve the restorative nature of your sleep by developing good sleep hygiene. Good sleep hygiene means that you:

  • Keep a Consistent Sleep-Wake Schedule 

Your body relies on regular 24-hour biological and physiological cycles called circadian rhythms to control your sleep-wake cycle. By keeping a consistent sleep-wake schedule, that means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, you acclimate your brain and body to your natural rhythms. Consequently, the brain will release sleep hormones automatically because it knows what time you need to fall asleep.

  • Develop a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

Bedtime routines are particularly important for those who have a hard time falling asleep. A routine can trigger the release of sleep hormones and provide time to relieve any stress or tension before bed. It should include activities that calm and relax you. Try to perform your bedtime routine at the same time and in the same order each day.  

  • Turn Off Screens Early

The bright light from televisions and smartphones can suppress sleep hormones, making it hard to fall asleep. Try shutting them off at least two to three hours before bed to prevent a sleep delay.

  • Eat Healthy, Regularly Spaced Meals

A well-balanced diet helps improve all aspects of your life. However, it’s not just what you eat but when you eat it that affects your sleep-wake cycle. Try to eat at the same times each day and keep your meals regularly spaced. Avoid heavy high-fat foods close to bedtime.

Sleep gives your body the time it needs to restore and heal itself. When you make sleep a priority, you’re giving yourself a natural boost to your mental and physical health.

About this Guest author:

Samantha (Sam) Kent is a researcher for SleepHelp.org. Her favourite writing topic is how getting enough sleep can improve your life. Currently residing in Boise, Idaho, she sleeps in a California King bed, often with a cat on her face.

The one thing you need to change about your eating habits

Stephanie Gobbo, Naturopath and Nutritionist extraordinaire, spoke at my recent retreat in Melbourne and her insight into nutrition is both holistic and incredible. I spoke to Steph about the most valuable mid-year resolutions you can make, superfood smoothies and the one thing you need to know to help you stay 'well.'

1. What is the most common mid year resolution you hear from your clients?

Definitely weight loss or detoxing.

2. What is the mid year resolution you'd love everyone to try instead?

I would like all my clients to try practicing self care, instead of focusing on dieting. Whether that means putting more effort into fitness, cooking clean food, getting extra sleep, drinking more water, having a massage or doing something nurturing for their mental health. This all leads to weight loss and a healthier body and liver anyway!

3. What is the number one food people can try at this time of year to supercharge their health?

Berries aren't in season, but you can always buy them frozen. They are filled with anti-oxidants which help reduce free radicals in the body. They're a great thing to incorporate into your diet.

How to stick to new years resolutions

4. What are your top 5 favourite superfoods?

"My favourite superfoods that come from nature are: Blueberries, green tea, turmeric, chia seeds, acai berry"

5. What is the most common digestion-related issue you see? What is your one top tip for managing this? 

The number 1 digestive symptom I see in clinic is bloating. The best advice I can give to work out why you are bloating and how to treat it is to investigate if it is because of these things:

1. something you're consistently eating that you’re intolerant to, 

2. the way you’re digesting and breaking down your food or 

3. because of dysbiosis of your gut microbiome

6. What is your favourite smoothie recipe?

best mid year smoothie recipe

My favourite smoothie recipe is filled with greens and mango:

1 mango cheek

1/2 frozen banana 

1 handful of baby spinach 

5-10 mint leaves 

1/2 cucumber chopped

1 small knob of ginger 

1 cup of coconut water 

Blend well and serve. 

7. What is your favourite indulgence?

My favourite indulgence is without a doubt a cheese platter and glass of red wine

8. If you had to give one piece of nutritional advice you wish everyone knew, what would it be?

From Steph's instagram @steph.naturopath

From Steph's instagram @steph.naturopath

"My number one piece of nutritional advice is to ensure your diet has variety."

This is imperative to feeding the gut microbiome and keeping it healthy along with ensuring your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs to function optimally.

"So many of us get set in our ways with eating the same things over and over. Trying to include new foods each day is really beneficial. Eating the colour of the rainbow each day is an old saying but definitely true."

9. What are some cooking tips to help us heading into the cooler Autumn and Winter months?

Now that the weather has cooled down it is best to steer away from raw foods/salad/smoothies and start to include more warming foods such as soups, curries, casseroles, herbal teas and warming herbs and spices in cooking. Using bone broth as a base for your winter hot dishes is a fantastic way to heal your gut day to day. 

10. What foods help our immunity?

Ginger, Garlic, Turmeric, Onion, Shiitake mushrooms, Manuka honey, Bone broth, Oranges, Kiwis, Capsicum 

From Steph's instagram @steph.naturopath

From Steph's instagram @steph.naturopath

Now you know all these handy hints for navigating Autumn and Winter, what will you change about your eating habits?

About Steph:

Naturopath & Nutritionist. Stephanie is a Naturopath and Nutritionist with a Bachelor of Health Science Degree majoring in Naturopathy. She practices out of the stunning Luxton Clinic in Armadale, Melbourne, Australia.