In this fast-paced Western society, we are constantly connected and available 24 hours a day, we have information flowing to us every day, and there is an ever-increasing expectation that we respond instantly. Given all of this, there is a growing need for us to operate in terms of our mental health, not just at ‘normal’ or ‘acceptable’ levels, but at ‘optimal’ levels.
Optimal means that we are functioning at the highest mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual levels so that we are able to cope with the demands of life. If we are operating at a suboptimal level, it is much more difficult for us to perform even the basic functions of life.
So how do we make sure our levels of health and wellness are what they should be?
A key factor that contributes to long-term mental health and well-being is ensuring that we get 7-9 hours of good quality. sleeping per night
Sleep repairs the body. This has a positive effect on the way you function cognitively in the following days. When we sleep, we sleep in 60-90 minute cycles. During that time we oscillate between deep sleep (called delta) where the body repairs itself, and lighter REM sleep.
REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, or lighter sleep, moves information from your short-term memory to your long-term memory. This helps you better remember the information you absorb on a daily basis. It is during this REM phase of sleep that your eyes dart from side to side (hence the name) and that you dream.
Going to bed at the right time (ideally 10pm) and getting enough sleep each night keeps your circadian rhythm in check. Your circadian rhythm is your natural body clock that signals when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake up. Shift work patterns (especially night shifts) can throw this out of balance, which can have major consequences not only for your mental and physical health, but also your gut health.
Lack of good-quality sleep means that instead of being wide awake and full of energy during the day, you may feel sleepy, sluggish, and unable to concentrate for a significant period of time. Also, when he is in bed at night, he may feel ‘tired and nervous’ (meaning his body is physically tired, but his mind is wide awake and therefore unable to sleep). .
Melatonin, the hormone that prepares the body for sleep, and serotonin (the hormone of wakefulness) must be in balance for it to function at its best during the day. This means that melatonin is naturally activated around 9pm (to help you sleep) until around 7am, when serotonin is released to help you through the day. When this cycle of melatonin and serotonin is in balance, you are wide awake during the day and sleepy at night (when you should be). This in turn means that you will get a better night’s sleep.
So never underestimate the power of sleep if you value your health and wellness. Good quality sleep not only helps us function more effectively, it also boosts our immune system, helping us to ward off viruses and other infections that we would more easily catch from a lower level and quality of sleep.
Sleep is, therefore, one of the fundamental pillars of extraordinary health and well-being. Without it, we may, over time, find ourselves not only operating low, but opening ourselves up to comprehensive chronic conditions like MS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia. These conditions can be debilitating and could, if left unchecked, leave us bedridden or wheelchair bound.
So a key way to take care of your long-term mental health is to make sure you not only get your 7-9 hours, but make sure you go to bed at the right time to increase your chances of having a much better night. best. to sleep.