Many people don’t know just how much is both at stake and afforded from their quality and amount of sleep. When I learned about the intricacies of what that happens while we’re sleeping, I was fascinated and motivated to improve mine. And as my sleep and quality of life improved, I wanted everyone to tune in to their sleep possibilities.

There’s sort of no going back once you see the magnificence of rest that brings us restoration. It really is deep.

Many things happen for us during those asleep hours. It may feel like passive time, but there’s important activities going on inside us when we sleep. Here’s three examples:

  • Soft tissue repair. Muscles are stimulated to be repaired, immune function is supported and cells are replenished with energy.
  • Cleansing for the brain. The body sends fluid to the brain to clear it of toxins, thereby reducing build up of plaque in the brain.
  • Emotional clarifying. There’s social-emotional cycles that help us determine what we need to hold onto and what we need to let go of. This is fruitful for decision making processes and determining what are priorities for what needs to be resolved in our lives.

All cells in our bodies have a circadian rhythm and they try to rely on that to help predict what they need and when. So if your sleep is regular and sufficient, you’re giving all your cells the best possible chance to do their jobs successfully.

Psychologically, if you’re someone who experiences anxiety, it’s crucial to know that poor sleep absolutely makes anxiety worse. Our perceptions about level of threat, discomfort or stress tend to be heightened when we don’t sleep well. Having enough sleep for you, which can vary person to person but tends to be 7 to 9 hours, gives you the opportunity to down regulate your stress response. Reducing your stress response means that you have less of a stress hormone picture that can amplify fear and freeze states.

So with this general understanding that sufficient quality and quantity of sleep is foundational to physical-emotional wellbeing, I hope it becomes clearer that brushing off even minor amounts of sleep deprivation is almost comparable to brushing off nutritional deficiencies.

We, humans, need adequate sleep to survive and many folks underestimate what they need to thrive.

I look at sleep as a way of priming oneself for all that we are living for. Our relationships, our enjoyment, our work, our leisure, our responsibilities—all rest on how well we rest.