Sleep on it!
Updated: Jan 4, 2021
It is so important that we start putting sleep at the top of our wellness strategies alongside nutrition, movement, mindfulness and community. Without sleep, nothing else functions as it should... Seriously!
Let's start with a brief breakdown about what actually happens when we sleep?
We need to cycle through Non-REM and REM
There are 4 stages to Non-REM 1-4 which take us deeper into sleep. The deeper we sleep, the more restorative to our body and brain where we rebuild cells, clear away toxic byproducts of the previous day and massive cardiac deceleration happens which is basically a reset for our heart. In addition, we restock the armoury of our immune system... If we get just 5 hours of sleep a night we are 400% more likely to catch a cold the following day than is you sleep 8 hours or more... that's insane! After we move from light Non-REM, to the deeper stages of REM we then experience a short REM cycle.
REM sleep is for dreaming. It stands for Rapid Eye Movement and during this time there are parts of the body that have very high activity yet other parts of the brain are "switched off." In addition, their is a safety mechanism that plays out where our body is completely paralyzed during the dream state so we can "dream safely" and not actually act out of dreams.
After REM, we cycle back into Non-REM and the cycle continues.
We need to cycle through this every single night with a minimum of 8 hours sleep for an adult for optimal functioning of our physical, mental and emotional bodies...
We dive into the importance of sleep below...
The information below are notes Marni took while reading the book, "Why We Sleep" by Dr. Matthew Walker. We highly suggest this book if you want to dive deeper into this topic with us... it's fantastic!!
A part of our brain called the Amygdala is our center of strong impulsive emotions. The reason why we usually think and respond rationally in our decision making is because the pre-frontol cortex which makes high level top down decisions keeps our emotional brain in check. When under slept, the pre-frontal cortex unleashes the emotional brain meaning the amygdala is about 50% more reactive and emotionally unstable. This acts like a pendulum... we not only become more negative in our thought pattern and trigger emotions like anger but we are also more likely to have reward-seeking and sensation seeking behaviours. The emotional distance between negative emotions and these pleasure seeking emotions are vastly larger when under slept.
Hello emotional rollercoaster!