Did you do the memory test I posted last week? Let's see if you can remember 60 images in 60 seconds...
Sleeping is a beautiful thing, isn't it? You know the feeling, the one when you just woke up from a great night's sleep, and you feel absolutely amazing? Well, unfortunately, 50% of adults don't sleep well. A lot of people have problems falling asleep, or problems staying asleep. They wake up many times throughout the night, or they wake up in the morning and sure, they've slept, but they just don't feel well rested. Watch the video or read the full blog for more.
I'm starting a Sleep Series. For the next few weeks, we're going to figure out everything that there is to know about the brain, about sleep and about how to help you sleep better! Today, for part number one, we're going to be talking about anxiety, weight gain, and about different problems that could be caused by lack of sleep.
In part two, we're going to go over the five stages of a sleep cycle, so that you can understand exactly how sleep actually works.
In part three, we will talk about dreaming, about snoozing, about napping... and all kinds of things that are related to sleep that will be very interesting to find out.
In part four, I'll give you four techniques to sleep better. Techniques that you can start using right away, the same techniques that I use with my clients.
In part number five, I'll be talking about different tools that you can use to prevent bad sleep. So, this part will focus on the "before sleeping" part of your day.
Part six is going to be about the "during sleep" part of your day (or night!). While you're tossing and turning in the middle of the night, what can you do to actually fall asleep?
The last part, part seven, is going to be about "after sleep". What can you do to cope if you had a bad night's sleep and you have a very important meeting or a project or a very important day?
Let's get started right away with part one. Research shows that mediocre sleep leads to low mood and heightened anxiety. Lack of sleep is triggered by many different factors, and what it does to the brain is that it affects the amygdala. The amygdala is what alerts us and makes us panic in case of an emergency. It's our fight of flight response. When it's impaired, it then becomes 60% more active than normal and causes anxiety. Usually, the amygdala is regulated by the medial prefrontal cortex, but if the medial prefrontal cortex is affected, then the amygdala doesn't get regulated. Have you ever found yourself panicking for something benign whenever you're sleep deprived? Well, that's why.
Lack of sleep also impacts our cognitive performance. Scientists measuring sleepiness have found that spending a whole night without sleeping is just like being legally drunk. This is very important to know: even if you don't drink and you spend a whole night working on a project, the next day, it will be as if you were legally drunk. It really affects our alertness and our concentration. It's more difficult to focus and to pay attention. We're easily confused, and it impairs our ability to perform tasks that require reasoning or going through a complex sequence of thoughts. It's not a good idea to make big decisions if you're sleep deprived.
The next thing we need to know is that it makes us very foggy and impacts our focus and our concentration. It also impacts our memory and our retaining capacity. If you stay up all night to study for something, well, it may not be that good of an idea, because you can't retain information as well if you're sleep deprived. It impacts our long-term-memory and we are more prone to mistakes.
Sleep deprivation also contributes to weight gain, unfortunately. A recent study suggests that while of course staying up late makes us more prone to snacking, that's not really the primary reason why people gain weight when they suffer from lack of sleep. There's compelling evidence to date that when we have disrupted sleep, it alters our metabolism and it boosts our ability to store fat. We don't want that, do we?
It also weakens our immune system. Sleep deprivation can lead to a lot of other major health issues. Gaining weight is not a big deal, but a cardiovascular problems are. According to the Center for Disease Control, sleep deprivation is linked to lots of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity (as we previously mentioned) and depression.
Next week, we will be back with part two of the Sleep Series and will be looking into the five stages of a sleep cycle and how sleep works.
See you there!
SLEEPING IS A BEAUTIFUL THING, EXCEPT WHEN YOU DON'T SLEEP WELL.
Unfortunately, 50% of adults don't sleep well. If this is your case, check out the NEW THINK Yourself® ASLEEP Online Course, coming soon!
Want more? Check out the next parts...
The 5 Stages of a Sleep Cycle
Sleep Inertia, Snoozing, Napping & Dreaming
4 Strategies to Help you Sleep Better
Tools to Prevent Bad Sleep
5 Tools to Stop Tossing & Turning
4 Tools to Cope When you Had a Bad Night's Sleep