By Daniel Kronenberg
Imagine I offered you a single magic pill which controls the balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut; lowers your blood pressure; improves the way your heart functions; helps avoid strokes; manages your weight; improves fertility and improves your mood.
This pill has no side effects. Are you hooked yet? Are you ready to buy?
Now imagine that this pill is not a pill but something you already have in your possession: sleep.
All the positive effects, mentioned above, of “the pill” known as sleep are suppressed if we don’t have adequate good quality sleep. Without adequate sleep we over-produce stress hormones and our daily lives are controlled by the fight or flight response.
An excess of the stress hormone cortisol also encourages the overproduction of bad bacteria in our gut. This then disrupts the absorption of vital nutrients further imbalancing our bodies.
Sleep is not a passive state but has a restoring and healing function for the body and mind. We often treat sleep as if were an option we could take or leave.
Most people think nothing of losing one hour’s sleep a night but research has shown that when we all lose an hour’s sleep in March – due to daylight saving – a spike in heart attacks is seen the following day. Higher rates of car accidents, due to microsleeps and lapses in attention, have also been seen at this time.
So, ditch the idea of a pill that will heal every part of your mind and body. Focus on your need for good quality sleep and make it a priority as much as you prioritise good quality nutrition and exercise. You already have the best remedy for stressors of the mind and body waiting for you tonight.
Daniel Kronenberg is a Clinical Hypnotherapist based in Salisbury specialising in helping people improve their sleep.