“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.” Irish Proverb

“‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead” a popular phrase that many of us identify with due to our busy schedules or hectic social life. Sleeping just seems like a waste of time, we could be doing so much more if we just slept a little less right? Revisiting my own journey- college, when partying was the.most.important agenda, or working long hours at my first job, and thanks to smart phones you don’t get to switch off when you leave the office; and then when I became a mother- sleep was a luxury! It all slowly takes a toll.

Most of us have extremely busy days (even with WFH, where home and work boundaries are so blurred), leaving very little time to ourselves, sleeping that one extra hour just seems impossible…and almost ineffecient! But try think back to a that one night you slept like a baby, or the weekend you squeezed in that much needed nap- how did you feel after? That’s right- AMAZING!

There are a million good reasons we are advised to sleep 8 hours a day.  If I had to sum it up, it would be these magical, powerful three words: REPAIR; RESET & RECOVER. Sleep is when the liver cleans itself; it’s when our brain can shutdown and our eyes aren’t starring at a screen. When we deprive our body and mind of this on a regular basis it wreaks havoc, both short and long term.

When our bodies are functioning on less sleep you will gradually feel the wheels falling off. Your memory won’t be as sharp, you will reach for quick fixes like coffee or sugar loaded foods (which does more damage), your skin will look dull, energy levels of course dip, your immunity is compromised, your heart isn’t working to it’s full capacity, diabetes risk is higher…the list is endless!

This really threw me off- I heard on a TED Talk men who sleep 5 hours a night have significantly smaller testicles than those who sleep 7 hours (or more) a night; and men who routinely sleep just 4-5 hours a night have levels of testosterone which is that of someone 10 years older. Yes, it affects the female reproductive system too.[1] Do you still want to push sleep to the end of your priority list?

In our hectic lives we are glued to our smartphones, iPads and laptops through the day, the blue light emitted from these devices disrupt our sleep patterns and overall circadian rhythm. How many of you sit in bed and mindlessly surf Instagram? Well, that blue light supresses melatonin release, making it harder to not only fall asleep, but to stay asleep through the night. A study at Harvard concluded that blue light supresses our sleep almost twice as much as blue light and shifted our circadian rhythm twice as much as green light.[2] Put that phone away, try reading a book, magazine, or listen to a podcast

So, what happens when we sleep the required 8 hours a night?

  • We make memories: Our brain is able to compute what it needs to remember
  • Our brain gets rid of all the toxic waste
  • Cellular restoration takes place where nerve cells communicate and reorganise
  • Our hormones are able balance, releasing the require vitamins and minerals
  • Emotional and mental well-being is supported as the brain can regulate emotions better
  • We no longer are operating in a constant state of fight or flight so stress levels decrease
  • Collagen helps maintain our youthful skin

Here is the best one…we can lose up to 55% more body fat! That’s right, sleeping helps you maintain your weight! The list is endless but I will stop here, as I’m sure you got the drift…SLEEP 8 HOURS A NIGHT!

There may be nights we don’t sleep our required hours, so we need to find ways to regain balance. This doesn’t necessarily require a long nap; you could do a few stretches, or a quick face massage or, something I recently discovered called ‘tapping’ (I quite like Dr. Alan Mandell’s videos).

Here are some of my favourite quick ways to support my body on the days I feel run down:

  • Wim Hof Breathing (I try do this every day, and longer on my “tired” days)
  • While in a seated position, I put my head between my legs and stay there for a few seconds
  • Sit in baby’s pose for a few minutes
  • Cold rose water eye pads
  • Diffuser with calming essential oils

As Health Coaches we learn the importance of sleep but I didn’t respect it’s role completely. Once I started my own practise I realised most of my clients struggle with sleep in some form. Wholesome works with them closely to ensure they remain calm through the day, and closer to bedtime we relax our body to ensure melatonin is released. Why don’t you try to dim your lights, listen to some soothing music, read a book, and most importantly put that phone away! Do this for 10 days and see meet the new you!

‘That we come to this earth to live is untrue. We come but to sleep, to dream.’ – Aztec poem

[1] Ted Talk: Sleep is your Superpower, Matt Walker:

[2] YouTube Video: Here’s What Blue Light Actually Does to Your Body: