Sunday, 6 October 2013

Vitamin Sleep

Sleep today is extremely underrated. How many of us actually get adequate sleep most of the nights? Many take sleep so lightly that they joke that they will sleep when they are dead!

The 4 Stages of Sleep

Stage 1
This is where you are half-asleep. You are still somewhat aware of your surroundings. You will also have involuntary kicks and jerks.

Stage 2
This stage of sleep is slightly deeper than stage 1. About half of our sleeping hours are in this stage.

Stage 3
This stage is where your temperature core drops and melatonin production is at its strongest. It is from this stage that your body will enter the most important stages of sleep.

Stage 4
This is the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage where your dreams will occur. This is where the body relaxes completely. The body and mind regenerates itself at an amazing sleep. Though this is the deepest sleep of all, only a quarter of our sleep is in REM stage.

Research shows that the hours that sleep is at its best are between 10pm and 2am. And most of the time, we are awake at such hours. And sometimes until the wee hours of the morning. When we sleep, the cycle of the 4 stages will not have a chance to be completed because before it can progress to a deeper stage, it would have been time to wake up.

The Side-Effects Of Sleep Deprivation

1. Accidents

Sleep deprivation will result in sleepiness. Daytime sleepiness will result in accidents as your body is not at its full state of alertness. Drowsiness while driving is equivalent to drunk driving. The reaction time is just as slow for both.

2. Impacts Cognitive Learning

You won't be able to pay attention, stay alert, concentrate, reason, and solve problems.

3. Serious Health Problems

Sleep deprivation can cause a lot of health problems such as heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes.

4. Depression

People who have trouble sleeping or lack of sleep tend to be depressed. People with insomnia tend to be depressed. Insomnia and depression tend to feed on each other.

5. Ages Your Skin

During the stage of deep sleep, our body releases the growth hormone. This repairs our tissues.

6. It Makes You Fat

Sleep loss causes you to be 30% more likely to put on weight. The peptides in our body regulates appetite. Ghrelin stimulates hunger and leptin signals satiation to the brain and suppresses the appetite. Shortened or disrupted sleep time causes a decrease in leptin and elevates the gherkin instead.

7. Increases The Risk of Death

A lack of sleep or sleep loss causes the risk of death to be doubled. The cause of death? Cardiovascular diseases.

8. Impairs Judgement

Sleep loss impairs our judgement on events that happen in our lives. People who have sleep loss are prone to poor judgement.

9. Weakens Our Immune System

By having all the 4 stages of sleep every night, our body will be able to repair itself and keep it in optimum condition. If our body isn't being renewed or repaired, it will be susceptible to viruses and germs that it encounters everyday.

I can't have supplements or vitamins as they contain lots of chemicals and colourings and additives that I am sensitive to. Thus, sleep is my vitamin. Many times, when I felt as though I was falling sick, I would sleep. And after a good night's rest, I wake up feeling refreshed and many times, the symptoms of the flu or a bug disappears. A good night rest does wonders.

To read more on the importance of sleep, click on LINK.

Harvard's Importance of Sleep

Why Sleep Is Important

How Much Sleep Do You Need? (I found this link to be very thorough and very informative!)


  1. I am not a great sleep. Never have been. I wake up often in the middle of the night. Now with middle forties setting in I think it's hormonal. I wake up and sometimes just can't go back to sleep. Usually, it's probably work-stress related. There is nothing better than when I feel well-rested, though.

    1. Hope you will have better sleep!

    2. Often it's sugar intake during the day that causes it. Fruit, fruit juices, dried fruit, too many high carbohydrate foods: pasta, wheat, rice, potatoes, and of course, sugar or other sweeteners. Especially don't eat them at night. If you wake up at 3am consistently (like I did), it's blood sugar. Hormones play a role, too, and stress is a huge factor, but a blood sugar dip is the hidden cause no one ever considers. I was surprised to discover this. At night or before bed eat a little protein like nut butters, eggs, avocado and see if that helps.

    3. Mine is definitely hormones... It only happens during a certain time of the month.