4 physical health benefits of sleep 

Do you sleep like a baby… or a cat? 

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Babies can take a long time to fall asleep, wake every time you move and wake regularly even when there isn’t any movement. Cats on the other hand, well - it’s a cat’s life apparently!

I work with lots of people that struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep or wake too early. There are many health benefits of sleep so sleep disturbances are not only frustrating and exhausting but also harmful to health. In younger people sleep disturbances can create poor school performance. Students with a sleep length of less than seven hours show poorer performance. Interestingly, those who make up for the sleep loss over the weekends do not. 


How do sleep problems affect health?

It is important to know exactly how sleep affects physical health. When you have adequate sleep you are more likely to have a healthy lifestyle and function well during the day. 

Studies show that disturbed sleep increases the risk of vascular disease. One study investigating sleep heart health, for example, investigated whether long working hours and short sleep duration increase the risk of heart attack or severe coronary heart diseases. It concluded that those with average working hours -  longer than 60 hours per week - have significantly increased risks of coronary heart diseases (CHD) as compared to those with weekly working hours of 40–48 hours. In addition, those with daily hours of sleep fewer than six hours have increased risk of CHD compared to those sleeping for six to nine hours. 

Lack of sleep is also related to kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, stroke and depression. Lack of sleep leads to greater risk taking behaviour in young people, which may explain why sleep deficiency links to a greater chance of injury. And sleep psychologist Jacqueline Kloss found evidence to show a link between sleep disturbance and infertility. 


Why is sleep important for physical health?

The above goes some way to explain why lack of sleep is bad for your health but other than eliminating some of these problems, why is sleep important for your physical health?

Obesity

When you sleep, alongside other hormones, your body regulates ghrelin which causes the feeling of hunger, and leptin which helps you feel full. When your sleep is insufficient your body’s regulation of ghrelin and leptin is confused increasing your ghrelin levels and decreasing your leptin levels leading you to feel hungrier than you should. When you sleep well your body is more able to balance your hunger hormones so you eat when and what you truly need.

Reach your potential

Sleep disturbances affect your ability to concentrate, learn new skills and cause you to make mistakes. When you sleep well, you find it easier to pay attention, express your creativity and reach your potential. In addition to this you will live a safer life. Some mistakes are dangerous and create problems for the people around you, for example your colleagues or other drivers on the road. Good enough sleep will help to prevent this whilst you reach for the stars. 

Don’t miss a beat

When you sleep your blood pressure falls. Therefore sleep disturbances cause higher average blood pressure making you more susceptible to the previously mentioned problems. Sleep well, beat well! 

Immunity

whilst you sleep the components of your body’s immune system peak. We are sometimes led to believe that when you are exposed to a virus you will fall ill. Actually, your body can reject illness and many things contribute to this, including mental health and adequate sleep. 


What if I can’t sleep?

Hypnotherapy will help you work out your sleep issues and find ways to bring sleep back into your life. Your hypnotherapist will use hypnosis/meditation to help your body relax into a sleepier state and teach you how to use this phenomenal tool at home. Your hypnotherapist will work with you to find a lifestyle that will help you sleep and explore reasons that your sleep is a struggle. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes is all it takes to see the wood for the trees. 

As a therapy session is personal to you it is difficult to specify exactly what your hypnotherapy session will look like. However, you should expect your hypnotherapist to ask enough questions to get a thorough insight into your life and your specific struggle with sleep. They might suggest some things for you to bring into your life, such as mindfulness, meditation or exercise.

If you need help feeling motivated to do this they will help you to find enough discipline to try their ideas. During the session your hypnotherapist will take you into the hypnotic state and speak with you, sometimes your hypnotherapist will make the session interactive so you speak whilst in hypnosis, other times you will simply listen.

Hypnosis is a lovely state of mind, one of intense focus which leaves most people feeling refreshed and energised. 


References:

Kloss, J. D., Perlis, M. L., Zamzow, J. A., Culnan, E. J., & Gracia, C. R. (2015). Sleep, sleep disturbance, and fertility in women. Sleep medicine reviews, 22, 78-87.

Liu Y, Takana H. The Fukuoka Heart Study Group. Overwork, insufficient sleep and risk of non-fatal acute myocardial infarction in Japanese men. Occup Environ Med 2002;59:447–51. 5 

Hypnotherapy Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Farnham GU9 & GU10
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Written by Juliet Hollingsworth, MSc
Farnham GU9 & GU10

Juliet is a trauma-informed therapist. Her passion is helping people reach their potential through a combination of hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and transpersonal psychology. Juliet works online and face to face with clients across the world. (DHP Clinical Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy. MSc Consciousness, Spirituality & Transpersonal psychology.)

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