By Janet Domke, RN BSN
Sleep is certainly an enjoyable and relaxing activity. It is also one of the most important activities for both our mental and physical health. Did you know sleep affects all your health goals?! Let’s dive a little deeper into the restorative magic that occurs at a cellular level while you get those ZZZ’s.
While sleeping, your body detoxifies and releases hormones. Sleep affects your tissue growth and repairs it at an optimum level. Among these important regulatory processes one in particular is quite relevant: the production of human growth hormone (HGH), or somatotropin.
It’s thought that nearly 75 percent of HGH is produced during the third stage of sleep. HGH helps to keep body fat at lower levels. Part of how HGH does this is by keeping lean tissue repaired and burning energy for repair. We live in a toxin-filled world. Even with our best holistic intentions, we are bombarded daily with things out of our control such as nutrient-poor soil for food production and pollution/exhaust toxicity.
Additionally, when we’re asleep, our brain cells shrink. Weird, huh? The reason this happens is because this shrinkage allows the fluid in your brain to flush out toxins that build up during your waking hours. Water and sleep work together to accomplish massive detoxification. (Your body was created magnificently; we only have one so we should treat it well.) In addition, sleep supports liver detoxification. How? The liver detox system runs in sync with your 24-hour sleep-wake cycle.
All of these restorative functions happen during sleep and at no other time. Disrupting this process can disrupt detoxification, hence disrupting your body’s processes to better health and wellness. So, let’s focus on getting to bed earlier, turning those screens off earlier, and optimizing our sleep environment. Research suggests that the most restorative hours of sleep are between 10pm and 7am.
Resources: Mel Robbins (author, motivational speaker, legal and social commentator on CNN) has written and spoken about the importance of sleep and waking up early (not hitting snooze):
Janet Domke, RN BSN is the clinical coordinator for Mather Hospital’s Bariatric Center of Excellence and a registered nurse since 2005. She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Stony Brook University and has completed courses in holistic nursing. She is pursuing her certification in bariatric nursing.