How important is sleep, rest and relaxation for our health and longevity?
It is still a mystery of the complete role sleep plays in our brain function but scientists do know that when a person is sleep deprived they start to experience slowed speech patterns, flattened emotional responses, impaired memory and an inability to multitask. I know from my own experience with myself that the first things I notice when I have not had enough sleep is irritability and moodiness.
Instead of responding to the environment around me I react and feel completely out of control of my emotions. Over the past 10 years of eating a raw food diet, people often question how many hours of sleep I need a night. They want to know if since I have been eating raw foods for so many years has the amount of sleep I require gone down.
For some reason I find most people want to find a way to be wake more so they can work or be busy more. I personally love to sleep and find that even though I no longer require naps, like I did after my third child, I do still sleep 9-10 hours a night. Sleep as always been a priority in my life and I appreciate that my children have been empathic in understanding this as well.
I have heard several parents who have spoken about the woes of a baby waking them in the middle of the night. I choose to sleep with my children from the very beginning, when they woke up I simply roled over and nursed them back to sleep. I found that all of my babies slept through the night early (2-4 months) and took on my sleep pattern.
Each one of my children slept in late in the morning as long as I did for at least as long as they were nursing. I never had to force or do anything to enforce this behavior it just happened naturally. Even now Mitchel (11 years) and Carter (8 years) both are late sleeper. We begin heading off to bed at around the same time 9-10 range, read a few books together, they head to their beds and then we all seem to wake any time between 8-9 am.
Blake, my husband, has a completely different natural sleep pattern. He enjoys going to bed around 8-9 pm and waking at around 5-6 am. Of course he is only able to stick to this pattern when he is not working during those hours. I am often tortured for his quality of life and longevity due to his unnatural sleep pattern from his job.
How Important Is Sleep ?:
Your Natural Sleep Pattern and Requirements
The best way to tell your natural sleep pattern is to look back over the times in your life when you were allowed to go to bed when you felt tired and then woke up once you felt rested. If you are currently out of sync with your natural pattern it may take some time and if you have to wake up to go to work or do something else this can complicate the process too.
How much sleep you require is completely a matter of your personal body. Often times diet and stress will complicate your natural rhythm as well. I interviewed an artist who was only able to sleep 3 hours a night from the time she was 16 into her 40's. After doing a cleanse and cutting out all animal products and consuming only plant based foods for an extended time she was able to sleep for 8 hours straight.
She found this odd at first and then was tested for allergies and sure enough she was sensitive to dairy products to the point her body was unable to rest for longer than 3 hours. Her complete wellness has elevated since adopting an 100% plant-based diet.
Take a Time Out for Rest and Relaxation
A few more ways to rest your body:
- Closing your eyes and breathing
- Quite pace from noise and electronics
- Yoga rest poses
- Sitting under a tree in nature
- Anything else that allows you to clear your mind, breath deeply and let go …
If your goal is to live a long and healthy life how important is sleep may be just as important as eating and perhaps even breathing. You can support your spirit, body and mind by getting plenty of sleep, rest and relaxation. According to scientific research when our bodies are well rested it restores the brain, increases our memory function. In addition this allows us to experience improved learning ability. These qualities can add to our quality and quantity of our life span and to our overall wellbeing.
Live, Laugh, Love and SLEEP …..