Good sleep is essential for a healthy mind and body. Impaired and disrupted sleep patterns and sleep deprivation reduce and weaken our mental and physical functioning.
Many physiological processes occur during sleep, but perhaps the most important are the increased secretion of growth hormone (GH) and the scavenging of free radicals in the brain.
Growth Hormone (GH) is known to be an anti-aging hormone and has a rejuvenating effect on the body. It stimulates tissue regeneration, liver regeneration, muscle building, breakdown of fat stores and normalisation of blood sugar regulation.
Some GH secretion occurs during the day, but most occurs during sleep.
As we age we generally need less sleep, but so does our ability to sustain sleep.
Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours sleep each night – ideally starting before midnight.
Certain health conditions, such as depression and chronic fatigue syndrome are related to sleep deprivation or disturbed sleep.
If your sleep is disrupted and psychological issues do not seem to be a factor, then consider your diet, which may be contributing the problem. Coffee, tea, alcohol and chocolate, for example, may be having a negative impact on your sleep.
Your last meal of the day should ideally be eaten 4 hours before going to sleep. Eating closer to bedtime may compromise your digestion and liver detoxification processes and interfere with your sleep pattern.