Hey! It’s the New Year, which means a new you.
You have written new goals and on the top of the list, if you’re like most Americans is to get healthy!
I’m sure you’ve signed up for that gym pass promising yourself you’ll be good this time and will workout every day.
No longer will you give up on your resolution in February because this is your year.
In fact, you probably bought a juicer and stocked up on bags of organic kale and spinach.
However, what most people don’t realize is just working out and eating healthy won’t get you to your optimum health.
You may be able to reach your goal by just sticking to the two but it will take longer.
You can eat all the kale salads and drink all the wheatgrass shots you want but missing this key piece can make it tougher for you to get there.
Which means another year of being weighed down by constant fatigue or not being able to enjoy the great outdoors.
Or better yet, being stuck in a gym contract because you gave up too soon due to the extremely slow results.
You see, most people when they talk about getting healthy they only focus on two components to the formula for health.
What are they?
Diet and exercise.
But there’s more to the complete health puzzle and a vital piece is missing.
So what is this missing piece? What is this “so called” 3rd pillar of health?
Well, to give you a hint we spend a third of our lives doing this every single night.
Yup, you guessed it, it’s sleep.
Sleep is the 3rd pillar of health and it may be the missing piece to your getting healthy mishap.
So why is sleep so important and considered the 3rd pillar of health?
Here are a couple amazing benefits of the power of sleep.
Sleep is vital to our physical health. Duh no brainer right?
But how you feel when you’re awake depends a whole lot on what happens when you’re asleep.
You see, while you’re sleeping your body is at work repairing your muscles from exercise or just from the wear and tear the day brings.
Without giving our body the sleep it needs we hinder our body’s natural process of repairing our achy muscles.
Sleep is also connected to our eating habits.
I’m about to get a little scientific and use some weird words on you so please stay with me.
Getting good quality sleep helps us maintain a healthy balance of our hormones ghrelin (which makes us feel hungry) and leptin (which makes us feel full).
When we don’t get good quality sleep our ghrelin levels go up (causing us to feel hungry) and our leptin levels go down (leaving our stomachs feeling less satisfied).
So our constant hungry belly and late night munchies can be attributed to poor sleeping habits.
A study done by the University of Chicago showed that healthy adults when restricted to just 4 hours of sleep per night for a week some showed to have insulin and glucose characteristics to that of a diabetic.
Other studies have shown that consistent lack of sleep has been linked to an increase of heart disease, high-blood pressure, and diabetes.
With that all being said I think I should now go to bed. Oh wait never mind it’s only 2:37 in the afternoon.
Did you know getting good quality sleep can actually make us smarter?
Because, when we are asleep our brain is getting things ready for the next day.
Our brain is actually “tiding up the house” storing the important things and getting rid of the stuff that would be considered brain waste.
Another amazing benefit of sleep is that each time we sleep our brains also clear up all the waste from the days junk.
Our bodies also do this and is done when we are awake using our lymphatic system.
But our brains don’t have lymphatic vessels so to accomplish getting rid of the toxin build up throughout the day the brain uses what is called cerebrospinal fluid which takes out all the toxins and junk in the brain to give us a fresh start the next day.
And this all happens in our brains while we are sleeping.
Ok, so now that your brain is overloaded with a lot of sleep information, let me see if I can help clear some of this up.
Let’s take a newborn for example.
Ever wonder why they sleep so much? I mean, how can they possibly be so tired?
All they do is nurse and make dirty diapers.
Well, the reason is because their brain is taking in so much new information.
So when they sleep their brains are helping them process and sort all the new information they have taken in for the day.
And if you keep a baby from her nap and deprive her of her sleep the baby becomes cranky and at times inconsolable.
Now there’s a little more to it than that but you get the gist.
So to put it simply, if we continue to sacrifice our sleep and rely on coffee to “fix it” we aren’t allowing our brains to do it’s job and we then become like the zombies from the walking dead.
This is why sleep is so vital to our mental health. Getting a good night sleep gives us a fresh new start each day.
So now that you know the 3rd pillar of health you can now finally cross off that new years resolution at the end of the year once and for all.
If you learned something reading this or have some questions share it with your friends and/or let us know.