Sleep – The Healer of all Things

imageThe body and mind require sleep to heal, repair, rejuvenate and prepare you for the next day.

Sleep is a healer of all things, even your muscles, after you workout. Ever noticed how exhausted your muscles feel, especially after a good weight-training workout? That is them telling you they now need to rest to allow sleep to do its work of healing. Weight training, (I mean serious weight training) causes small tears in the muscle fibers worked. These tears heal over time to produce stronger, larger muscles and this happens while you rest. You do not grow in the gym. That sensation of your muscles being bigger immediately after a workout is what is called ‘the pump’ in weight-training jargon. It is only your muscles increased in size temporarily with blood and fluid. This gives way for the real increase in size and strength as the muscles heal – while you sleep.

In your enthusiasm to show your undying loyalty to your fitness routine, you may disregard sleep, dragging yourself out of bed even when your body is clearly craving sleep. I know because I’ve done this! Catastrophe! You fall ill, you can injure yourself (and then set yourself back several weeks with your much loved fitness routine! Not very smart). Being sleep deprived prevents you from actually listening to your body.

Working out without rest and adequate nutrition is like trying to drive a car without fuel. It does not work! Your muscles never recover. They will feel fatigued all the time.

The worst part of being an Obgyn are the night calls. Sleep deprivation is so common amongst us Obgyns that it is almost a way of life. One of the highlights of going away on holiday or just ‘away’, even on work, is the thought as ones head hits the pillow that one does not need to anticipate hospital calls. You don’t need to fall asleep every night hoping, THAT ring tone doesn’t rudely pierce through your slumber.

I am sure many other professions, nurses, new mothers dealing with bawling babies, people who travel frequently etc also suffer various levels of sleep deprivation.

Lack of sleep can affect us in a variety of ways. The most obvious of course is the fatigue. You eyes burn, your body hurts, you are irritable and intolerable to be around and your attention span is shorter than that of gecko.

You could make dangerous, even life threatening decisions when sleep deprived. Accidents, disastrous business decisions, poor judgement, unnecessary arguments and fall outs can all result from JUST not sleeping enough.

Lack of sleep has been linked to increased levels of stress and even obesity. This of course also works vise-versa. Stress can lead to insomnia and obesity to sleep apnea, which in turn impair sleep. Hormones Ghrelin and Leptin are responsible for hunger and satiety respectively. Sleep deprivation causes an alteration in these hormones, which change your perception of hunger and satiety.

Ever noticed how you tend to eat more and/or indiscriminately when tired and sleep deprived? You may not even be hungry, just sleep deprived. However, when your body tells you that you are experiencing discomfort, (IT means, you need to rest), but YOU interpret it as – you need to satisfy hunger! What’s more, preferably with the most ill-advised food choice available. So, you reach for that mid-night snack. A recipe for disaster when trying to lose weight.

A good nights sleep is important for ones psychological health. Depression and anxiety can result from and cause poor sleep patterns. Depriving one of sleep is akin to torture. It is THAT significant!

Sleep is a healer of all things. What seemed frustrating slips into insignificance after a good nights sleep. You wake up with a new perspective, a new energy and whole new point of view.

In today’s world though, its not just work, babies or stress that keeps one awake. There is the Internet for endless surfing as it sucks you into its vortex of the virtual world. Face book, chatting, trying to connect and keep up with just about everybody in the whole world. The television, with the incessant supply of news or mindless drama. For some, it’s a can’t-put-downable book (again, guilty as charged! You suddenly look at the time and its 1am! GROAN… and there’s a 5am wake up call)!

Late nights, early mornings as one is climbing the social ladder or bettering ones career or just partying for fun and alcohol. All of this somehow take precedence over much needed sleep.

It all comes down to priorities. Sometimes you may just need to refuse a party invite, or shut down that computer/television when you know that it’s sleep you need. It is a matter of mental and physical health and well-being.

As someone said – “If you don’t sleep, you are never really awake”.

Learn form the cat. Sleep can be a healer of all things……..

Ref-

–      Mental distress, obesity, and body fat distribution in middle aged men. Rosmond et al. Obesity Research, Vol 4, May 1996.

–      Inadequate sleep as a risk factor for Obesity: Analysis of NHANES. Sleep, Vol 28, 2005

–      Insomnia as a Health Risk Factor. Daniel.J et al. Behavioral Sleep Medicine/ 2003, (4), 227-247

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2 thoughts on “Sleep – The Healer of all Things

  1. You are so right. There have been studies among college students where the ones who crammed and stayed up all night did not score as well as the ones who got a good night’s sleep. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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