Six Elements of SOL – Sleep

Sleep is the restorative element in our online retreats. We believe it’s essential for health, happiness and beauty. This powerful process helps our bodies heal, but is often compromised when life is busy, stressful or when caring for others.

New research has shown that a chronic lack of sleep appears to be associated with inflammation, a process that contributes to diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and depression. So, it’s vital to our mental and physical wellbeing that we not only get enough sleep, but also good quality sleep.

The amount of sleep we need varies depending upon age and health. Small babies require around 12-14 hours in total over a 24-hour period. Teenagers’ brains change dramatically with puberty, which (amongst other behaviours) changes their sleep patterns radically, meaning they often don’t feel the need to sleep until around 11pm.

Generally speaking, the minimum amount of sleep required for a healthy adult is between 7-9 hours, but this does vary individually. Ideally, we would all get 8 hours of quality sleep every night, but it’s not always possible. A consistent bedtime routine can help, so we’ll be sharing simple ideas and expert tips to help you create the perfect environment for deep, restful sleep.

Our Approach

In her book, The Sleep Revolution, Ariana Huffington says, ‘a good day starts the night before’.

We all need sleep and some people need more than others. It’s important to listen to your body and suss out a bedtime routine that works for you.

Going to bed at a reasonable time helps you wake up early and create space in the morning for wellbeing practices such as yoga and meditation. Getting the right amount of quality sleep enhances time spent awake.

SOL expert Gemma David notes that it’s usually not until we have difficulty sleeping, that we realise the extent to which we may take our daily slumber for granted.

‘We spend a third of our lives asleep. It is as essential to our bodies as food and water. When we sleep, cells repair and regenerate, and our brains remove toxins. Two systems in our brains are responsible for allowing us to sleep and remain alert when necessary: the homeostatic sleep drive and circadian rhythms.

Under normal conditions, the sleep drive is internally regulated and controls the duration and depth of our sleep, as well as the time we go to sleep and transition to waking. Circadian rhythms are our internal body clocks, and they ensure we are synchronised to our 24-hour rotation around the sun. Eating, mood regulation and hormone secretion all rely on these rhythms to help our bodies function healthily.

Honouring your circadian rhythm is one of the most important things to do for your health especially this time of year. Medical conditions, sleep environment, diet and lifestyle factors all influence the sleep/wake cycle.

For example, when we use our electronic devices (phones, laptops, tablets) late into the evening, cells in the retinas of our eyes process light and send messages to the brain about the time of day. This makes it difficult to fall asleep and can affect physical and mental wellbeing the following day.’

How much sleep do you need? Is sleep a priority for you? Later today, we’ll be sharing some simple tips to help you nod off quickly and wake up feeling refreshed.

Love Lizzie xx

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