Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency - Why Is Sleep Important?

SoundEmbrace found a great read by NIH article, Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency - Why Is Sleep Important?”

Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.

The way you feel while you're awake depends in part on what happens while you're sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development.

The damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant (such as a car crash), or it can harm you over time. For example, ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems. It also can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.

Healthy Brain Function and Emotional Well-Being

Sleep helps your brain work properly. While you're sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next day. It's forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information.

Studies show that a good night's sleep improves learning. Whether you're learning math, how to play the piano, how to perfect your golf swing, or how to drive a car, sleep helps enhance your learning and problem-solving skills. Sleep also helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative.

Studies also show that sleep deficiency alters activity in some parts of the brain. If you're sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. Sleep deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior.

Children and teens who are sleep deficient may have problems getting along with others. They may feel angry and impulsive, have mood swings, feel sad or depressed, or lack motivation. They also may have problems paying attention, and they may get lower grades and feel stressed.

Physical Health

Sleep plays an important role in your physical health. For example, sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke

Sleep deficiency also increases the risk of obesity. For example, one study of teenagers showed that with each hour of sleep lost, the odds of becoming obese went up. Sleep deficiency increases the risk of obesity in other age groups as well.

Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). When you don't get enough sleep, your level of ghrelin goes up and your level of leptin goes down. This makes you feel hungrier than when you're well-rested.

Sleep also affects how your body reacts to insulin, the hormone that controls your blood glucose (sugar) level. Sleep deficiency results in a higher than normal blood sugar level, which may increase your risk for diabetes.

Sleep also supports healthy growth and development. Deep sleep triggers the body to release the hormone that promotes normal growth in children and teens. This hormone also boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells and tissues in children, teens, and adults. Sleep also plays a role in puberty and fertility.

Your immune system relies on sleep to stay healthy. This system defends your body against foreign or harmful substances. Ongoing sleep deficiency can change the way in which your immune system responds. For example, if you're sleep deficient, you may have trouble fighting common infections.

Daytime Performance and Safety

Getting enough quality sleep at the right times helps you function well throughout the day. People who are sleep deficient are less productive at work and school. They take longer to finish tasks, have a slower reaction time, and make more mistakes.

After several nights of losing sleep—even a loss of just 1–2 hours per night—your ability to function suffers as if you haven't slept at all for a day or two.

Lack of sleep also may lead to microsleep. Microsleep refers to brief moments of sleep that occur when you're normally awake.

You can't control microsleep, and you might not be aware of it. For example, have you ever driven somewhere and then not remembered part of the trip? If so, you may have experienced microsleep.

Even if you're not driving, microsleep can affect how you function. If you're listening to a lecture, for example, you might miss some of the information or feel like you don't understand the point. In reality, though, you may have slept through part of the lecture and not been aware of it.

Some people aren't aware of the risks of sleep deficiency. In fact, they may not even realize that they're sleep deficient. Even with limited or poor-quality sleep, they may still think that they can function well.

For example, drowsy drivers may feel capable of driving. Yet, studies show that sleep deficiency harms your driving ability as much as, or more than, being drunk. It's estimated that driver sleepiness is a factor in about 100,000 car accidents each year, resulting in about 1,500 deaths.

Drivers aren't the only ones affected by sleep deficiency. It can affect people in all lines of work, including health care workers, pilots, students, lawyers, mechanics, and assembly line workers.

As a result, sleep deficiency is not only harmful on a personal level, but it also can cause large-scale damage. For example, sleep deficiency has played a role in human errors linked to tragic accidents, such as nuclear reactor meltdowns, grounding of large ships, and aviation accidents.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Original Article

6 Tips For Your First Sound Bath

You are probably wondering how to get the most from your sound bath experience. Well, I’m glad you’re here! Below you will find some helpful tips to ease your mind and support you in having the best experience.

When you first start meditating, it's easy to get caught up with thoughts around whether or not you are doing it correctly.  Keep in mind: it's just like working out; the more you do it, the stronger, faster, and better you get!

1. Be kind to yourself.
Show yourself a little self-love and compassion. Remember, even The Dali Lama had to start somewhere!

2. Headphones.
For optimal sound and experience, we recommend you use stereo headphones. Don’t worry if you don’t have them, this is simply a recommendation to get the most from these high res sound files. You can still have a moving experience with earbuds.

3. Get comfortable.
Choose a comfortable space where you feel safe and calm. Choose a time of day you feel you will not be interrupted. The more comfortable you are, the easier it is to relax into the experience.

For 30 minute sessions, it is recommended that you find a comfortable place to lay down. An eye mask may be helpful to block out light and help  you to keep your eyes closed.

For 10 and 2 minute sessions, you may lay down or sit up. If you are sitting up, it is recommended that you sit with a straight spine.

4. Set an intention
Setting an intention for your sound healing session helps to elevate the mind chatter, and help you to be present to your experience.
(read more on Setting intentions by reading 3 Main Purposes for Setting an Intention)

5. Ting Shaws ON or OFF?
+ Ting Shaws ON is an indicator that the sound healing track has completed. You will hear three chimes at the end of the track to help bring you out of the experience.

+Ting Shaws OFF is a version of the same tracks without an indicator at the end. This will allow you to stay in the meditative state or support you in going into sleep.

6. Allow time for integration.
Bring your awareness to the sensations you are feeling in your body. You may not feel anything. Simply become a witness to what you are feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Most importantly, drink a lot of water.