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  • Andrea Porritt

Amazing breakthrough treatment!

Scientists are finding more and more data that supports their theory that this treatment is possibly the best thing you can do to keep your body and brain healthy. This treatment improves your memory, makes you more creative and helps stabilise your mood. It makes you more attractive. It helps you keep a healthy weight, lowering cravings for carbs and fatty foods. It helps to protect your body from diseases such as cancer, and your brain from Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline. It keeps you free of colds and viruses. In short, it will make you happier and live longer. Would you like to know what it is?


Sleep.


Yes, while so many of us strive for a healthy life, with varied diets full of fruits and vegetables, spending hours running through the rain or at the gym, avoiding carbs, saturated fat and cigarette smoke, we may be actively ruining all our hard work by not getting enough sleep. Most of us need between 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and even one night of sleep deprivation can influence our bodies and brains adversely.


Professor Matthew Walker, neuroscientist and sleep expert explains in his book “Why we sleep”, as well as his numerous podcasts and talks, that sleep may actually be the best thing we can do to maintain a healthy body and brain. Let us look at a few of the amazing things sleep can do for us:


· There is a strong relationship between sleep and our immune system. In studies it was found that people who got less than seven hours of sleep were three times more likely to pick up a cold virus, while a further study carried out with 50,000 women concluded that those who got less than five hours sleep per night had a much higher risk of pneumonia. Meanwhile people who failed to get enough sleep in the week before their flu vaccination, produced less than 50% of the antibodies following vaccination than people who did get enough sleep, therefore making the vaccination less effective. Less sleep also leads to fewer natural killer cells which fight off infection.

· Sleep is crucial for learning and making memory files in the brain. The brain needs sleep both before learning to imprint memories, as well as after learning to cement those memories. With enough sleep there is a three-fold increase in creative insight. There is a reason why most languages and cultures have a saying telling you to sleep on a problem! Furthermore, scientists have linked lack of sleep to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.

· Sleep is vital in the struggle to maintain a healthy weight. Poor sleep leads to lower levels of the hormone that tells you are full, and higher levels of the hormone telling you to eat. Also, less sleep changes your preferences for different types of food, so you are more likely to desire all the carbs and sugary foods! And if that is not enough the activity in the frontal lobe of the brain decreases, which regulates your cognitive ability to reach your goals, so there goes willpower out of the window!

· Lack of sleep leads to changes in our emotional state. Sleep is like an overnight therapy session that smooths away the sharp edges of our emotions, so that we wake up more able to take on the world, seeing our problems in a clearer light. It is becoming more and more obvious that sleep is crucial to help keep us on an even keel emotionally.

· Sleep is good for your heart! During sleep your blood pressure and heart rate decrease. Even reducing your sleep to 6 hours a night on a regular basis can increase your chances of a heart attack or stroke at some point in your life by 200%.


Research studies in Taiwan which examined the effectiveness of reflexology to improve sleep quality in women who had recently given birth concluded that reflexology significantly improved the quality of sleep, while a further study in China looked into the effectiveness of reflexology was slightly more effective at enhancing sleep than the pharmaceutical drug Alprazolam also called Xanax. It is worth mentioning that sleeping pills come with side effects, and do not help with sleep deprivation, as they do not allow the brain to enter deep sleep. Reflexology may well be the better option!


But there are other things you can do this World Sleep Day to ensure your get a better night’s sleep.


· Maintain the same bedtime wherever possible, even at the weekend.

· Keep your bedroom cool, it is much harder for your body to get to sleep in a hot room.

· Melatonin is the hormone that helps shut your body down for sleep. Help regulate its production and secretion by getting out into daylight at some point each day, while keeping your bedroom as dark as possible at night.

· Turn off screens and devices a couple of hours before bed to stop exposure to blue light, which stops the body from realizing it’s nighttime.

· Keep devices somewhere else – not in the bedroom!

· Caffeine stays in your body for up to 12 hours. You would not try to sleep after swigging a Starbucks, but you do try and sleep when you still have caffeine in your body from lunchtime! Try and limit caffeine in the afternoon.

· Alcohol and drugs sedate the body and brain, but do not help the brain reach the stage of deep sleep. That nightcap is not really helping you to have restorative sleep!

· A hot shower or bath before bed brings all the blood vessels to the surface of the skin, allowing heat to escape, and your core temperature to plummet. This helps you sleep and is also a great tip if you have done exercise late in the day, which can impact your sleep.


If you want to see if reflexology to help you improve the quality of your sleep, please contact me for an appointment.


#sleep #reflexology #wellbeing



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