The Importance of Sleep

Enough sleep is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. A (temporary) sleepdeficit (insomnia) can cause problems with concentration, coordination and emotions. It can make you feel edgy, hungry and forgetful. It can even cause hallucinations in some cases. On a long term sleepdeprivation can contribute to health issues such as depression, overweight and diabetes.

Hormones are the culprits in the case of the health issues. While you’re in a deep sleep, your body produces the hormone leptine. Is this deep sleep cycle being disturbed or disrupted, the production of leptin is also being disturbed. As a result you start craving carbs. In turn, this can cause overeating with possible overweight and diabetes as a result.

Sleep is a hormonal proces in which melatonine and cortisol also have a big role. Melatonine makes you feel calm, tempers the bodytemperature and slows down the metabolic system. In other words, it makes you feel sleepy! Cortisol on the other hand activates you. Insomnia is often seen in people with low melatonine levels, which can be related to circumstances such as stress, fysical pain and abuse of alcohol of cafein, fear, sleep apnea or an irregular lifestyle. Some of these factors ask for a professional approach, but there are a few things you can do yourself that might balance the hormones and improve your night’s rest!

  1. Practice Yoga. Yoga can help you to reduce stress, it’s relaxing and this supports your hormonal system in a postive way. No idea how to do yoga? Maybe you can join a local yoga class! Take a look at or search for some instructional video’s on YouTube for some yoga inspiration! Yoga is also fantastic for improving you posture, flexibility and muscle strenght!
  2. Sleeping environment. The mainfunction for your bedroom should be for sleeping. Avoid electronical devices in the bedroom as much as possible. . Too much light in the evening can disturb you biological clock, therefore you should dim the lights in the evening to support your biological clock.
  3. Avoid the use of electronical devices in the evening. Try to stop using electronical devices (mobile phone, television, computer) in the hour before you go to bed. They are linked to work and activity and therefore can make you feel restless.
  4. Daily exercise. Exercise has a positive contribution to the recovery of your internal biological clock. It also makes you feel tired.
  5. Food. Our nutritional consumption can also positively or negatively influence our night’s rest and sleep cycle. Certain foodproducts and nutrients can make you feel active and energized while others can make you feel sleepy.

Foods with an activating function: Chocolate, coffee, tea, guaranaberries, products high in (refined) sugar, cheese, alcohol, sodas and artificial sweeteners such as aspartam. When having troubles with sleeping of falling asleep it’s best to avoid these kind of products.

Foods with a relaxing function: Seeds and grains such as oats, buckwheat, sunflowerseeds and pumpkinseeds. Many vegetables and fruits such as dates, bananas, cherries, mulberries, leafy greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, zucchini and many more!



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