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Last Updated on December 18, 2020

A Lack of Sleep May Slowly Kill You: Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know

A Lack of Sleep May Slowly Kill You: Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know

I’m always on the lookout for ways to transform my life and that of my clients. Sometimes we all go to great lengths to find the newest skill, habit or capability to change our life.

But if we looked a little closer to home we would find one very simple, often overlooked thing we can do to make us happier, increase our performance and improve our focus and attention.

Even better, that thing is completely within our control and is something we do every night. That thing is sleep.

Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve our health, reduce our stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

In this article, I will look into the benefits of sleep and why you should care.

The epidemic of sleep deprivation

Sleep problem is so bad that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has described it as a ‘sleep loss epidemic’ with two thirds of adults in developed nations not getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night.

In its simplest terms, those of us who have the capacity to have a good night’s sleep just aren’t sleeping enough.

In the US, 35% of adults are not getting 8 hours of sleep every night. In Canada it is 30% and in the UK it is 37%. In Japan, the average time spent asleep is just 6 hours and 22 minutes.

Global policy think-tank, RAND corporation, concluded in 2017 that insufficient sleep was a ‘public health problem, costing the global economy billions in lost productivity each year.

In the National Sleep Foundation’s 2018 Sleep in America Poll, only 10% of respondents prioritised sleep, with fitness/nutrition and work being seen as a much higher priority.

So, with our busy lives and trying to cram in as much as we can every day, have we forgotten the real benefits of getting a good night’s sleep?

Have we forgotten how we feel after a lack of sleep or really understand how bad it is for us not to get a good night’s sleep?

The negative effects of lack of sleep

Sleep deprivation is just really bad for us. Lack of sleep has a lot of negative effects on our physical and mental health.

These include:

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  • Getting more stressed out
  • High blood pressure
  • Slower reaction time
  • Focus and your attention span diminishes
  • Lower sex drive
  • More prone to bursts of anger and sadness
  • Less creative and mentally exhausted
  • Judgement becomes impaired
  • Immune system gets weaker
  • Becoming more forgetful
  • Getting easily distracted
  • Higher chance of heart disease and stroke
  • More at risk of getting diabetes
  • Gaining more weight

Benefits of sleep (that you never realized)

If we took a step back from our busy lives and prioritized sleep again, the benefits are huge. Let’s look at some of the key benefits:

1. You’ll be happier.

If you sleep poorly, it can ruin your day. You feel sluggish and brain fog can often creep in. An exhausted person is not a happy person. S/he is prone to making snap judgements and feeling more stressed than someone who has had a full 8 hours of shut eye.

You know when you feel well rested, you get out of bed with a bounce in your step ready to take control of your day.

Being well-rested has a significant effect on your daily happiness. Daniel Kahneman and Alan B. Krueger found in their research on life satisfaction a direct correlation between sleep quality and overall happiness.

When you sleep well, your motivation will increase and you’ll be more creative. You’ll just feel more positive and problems will feel solvable. You’ll just feel more optimistic about things.

Focus on getting 8 hours sleep every day for a week and see the difference it makes in your daily happiness.

2. It sharpens your attention span.

Our minds work better when we’ve had a good sleep. We can stay focused for longer and our attention span becomes sharper. Any of us who’ve faced a continual lack of sleep knows how difficult it is to concentrate fully.

When our mind is not fully rested, it starts slowing down and we become easily distracted. We struggle to solve problems as effectively and efficiently as we would do if fully rested.

After a good night’s sleep, we can react quicker and analyze information faster. We should never make important decisions after a lack of sleep as we wouldn’t be investing our full brain power and attention on the subject at hand.

3. It improves your memory.

When we sleep, the brain is hard at work processing the moments and experiences we had during the day. Pieces of knowledge are pulled together to make connections and solve problems, helping us to increase performance the following day.

Have you noticed that when you go to sleep with a question in your mind, you sometimes wake up the next day with a solution to the problem?

Sleeping on a problem does help you get the answer. Your memories and skills are being shifted to more efficient and permanent brain regions, increasing our learning, memory and problem solving ability.

4. You’ll have better sex.

Not getting enough sleep, no matter how strong your libido is, can be sure to impact performance in the bedroom.

Sleep is restorative and increases testosterone levels, boosting the sex drive of both men and women.

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If you never get enough sleep and you feel exhausted, this will lead to an unhealthy relationship. If frustration builds in this area, then relationship issues may occur.

So, get a good night’s sleep to ensure the magic in the bedroom doesn’t go away.

5. It promotes healthy muscle building.

There’s a reason that a lot of elite athletes focus on getting enough sleep. If you don’t sleep properly, you can’t build muscle.

When we’re sleeping, our body enters an anabolic state and uses that time to heal damage to our cells and tissues.

Our body creates spikes in human growth hormone, testosterone and melatonin. They all play a huge role in the reproduction and regeneration of cells within the body.

Put simply, without enough sleep, your body won’t be able to properly restore the damage done to your muscles during the day.

6. It can affect your weight, for the better.

One thing your doctor or nutritionist will tell you if you want to lose weight is get plenty of sleep.

Not only do we have more energy after a good night’s sleep but our body also burns calories. If we’re not sleeping well at night, we could be causing hormonal imbalances that could make you feel hungry more often when we don’t really need to eat.

If we aren’t getting enough sleep, we are more likely to be hungry. We’re more likely to snack on unhealthy food because the body needs more energy to stay awake. This can lead to weight gain.

If you’re tired all the time, you’ll be less motivated to go for a walk or hit the gym, affecting physical health.

If you eat well and rest up properly, your body will thank you for it.

7. It helps reduce stress.

Stress can really affect us emotionally, physically and psychologically. High stress levels can make sleeping more difficult; conversely, getting a good night’s sleep can reduce the effects of stress.

When we are tired, we’re less patient, more frustrated and easily agitated which can increase stress levels. This may increase blood pressure and affect our cholesterol levels.

A good night’s sleep allows you to tackle the day’s stresses much more easily.

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8. You will have healthier skin.

Sleeping badly is associated with chronic skin conditions. When we’re sleep deprived, our body makes more of the stress hormone cortisol.

Elevated levels of cortisol increase stress levels but also can cause inflammation in the body, which affects the quality of our skin.

This increased inflammation can lead to an increase in the breakdown of collagen and hyaluronic acid, the molecules that give our skin its glow and bounce.

When we’re sleeping, our body’s hydration rebalances. Our skin recovers moisture while excess water is processed for removal.

Not getting our ideal amount of sleep results in poor water balance, leading to puffy bags under our eyes, under eye circles as well as more skin dryness and more visible wrinkles.

On top of that, not getting enough sleep can accelerate the aging process. When we’re in deep sleep, the rise in growth hormones allows damaged cells to repair. Without this, daily small breakdowns will accumulate instead of being reversed overnight.

Get more shut eye to get glowing, healthy skin every morning.

9. It boosts immunity from sickness.

A lack of sleep can severely impair your immune system and make you more vulnerable to infections like cold and flu.

Our immune system is responsible for battling bacteria, viruses and other things that can make us sick. When we’re tired, it struggles to fight off these ‘invaders’ as effectively as it would do if we had a good night’s sleep.

When we give our body the chance to recharge and reset, by having 8 hours sleep a night, we can boost our immunity by optimizing conditions inside our body to make it easier to fight off illness and disease.

10. It makes us less accident prone.

If we’re tired, we have less energy and mental agility. This can make us more prone to accidents and injury as a tired body and a distracted, foggy brain alters our balance and concentration.

Have you noticed the increase in signs on the road that advise you to take a break or not to drive when you’re tired?

If we don’t get enough shut eye it can slow down our reaction time and reduce our ability to focus effectively.

According to the AAA Foundation, missing 1-2 hours of sleep per night doubles your chance of having a car crash.

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11. You’ll become more focused and productive.

In 2016, the RAND Corporation found that sleep deprivation costs the US Economy $411 billion a year and over 1 million lost workdays. This was caused by people oversleeping, showing up late or just missing work altogether through illness.

When we don’t get enough sleep, we can’t concentrate and focus. We have trouble listening and retaining information. We’re simply less productive.

We often have less energy, become more of a procrastinator and our ability to be creative plummets.

When we sleep well, it takes far less effort to focus. We’re able to focus for longer without our attention wandering and getting distracted.

Having a good night’s sleep allows you to make more measured, effective decisions and helps you solve problems.

When we’re sleep deprived, we’re less motivated and become more forgetful. As well as more focus, a good night’s sleep improves reaction times, gives us better judgement, lowers risk of burnout and reduces errors.

12. It reduces your chance of getting diabetes.

Not sleeping well can increase the risk of people developing diabetes, particularly those working long hours.

When we are tired, we eat more because we need more energy. Rather than going for the healthy option, many of us reach for sugary foods that spike blood sugar levels.

Diabetes occurs when our bodies don’t produce enough insulin. A lack of sleep can lead to insulin resistance, meaning it becomes harder for our body to break down sugars.

When we’re tired, our bodies can’t break glucose down into energy. When we’re tired, insulin can’t do its job properly, then sugar levels can harm our eyes, kidneys, nerves and heart.

Prioritize your sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is critical to our mental, physical and psychological wellbeing.

It is essential to boost our immune function, metabolism, memory, learning and other vital health functions.

Changing your habits and focusing more on getting the required 8 hours of sleep a night could simply change your life.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

More by this author

Mark Pettit

Mark Pettit is a Business Coach for ambitious entrepreneurs and business owners who want to achieve more by working less.

How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work The Importance of Sleep Cycles (and Tips to Improve Yours) How to Help Anxiety When Life Is Stressing You Out A Lack of Sleep May Slowly Kill You: Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

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Published on April 16, 2021

Guided Meditation For Increased Energy: How And Why It Works

Guided Meditation For Increased Energy: How And Why It Works

Are daily stressors draining your vital energy levels? Do you know deep down that meditation could help you out, but on some level, you repeatedly tell yourself that you don’t have the time or know-how to meditate? If so, you could do with some help, and you’re going to get to know all about guided meditation for energy to sort you out.

By the end of this article, you will have the tools in your possession to get started and know all about the amazing benefits to start feeling like your best self.

Your Life Is Energy

If you didn’t know it already, everything in the universe around you is energy. Everything you are perceiving, feeling, touching, or tasting right now are all vibrations of energy at its core.

Life energy—or Prana as it is also referred to in yogic philosophy—is flowing through you at all times, keeping you alive. When this energy is in tune, it aligns your body, mind, and soul to work in harmony.

Unfortunately, growing up, most people aren’t taught or shown how to efficiently align these three elements. This can lead to energy leaks in your state of being.

Your daily stream of unconscious thoughts, for example, is one element that uses up a vital part of life’s crucial energy flowing through you. How much energy you deplete then really depends on what you’re thinking about most of the day.

Say you’re thinking positive thoughts. You won’t be very likely to want to resist such pleasantness. Your energy levels, therefore, would most likely stay well connected to the source of life supplying you.

Having said that, given the human mind’s negative bias and your natural tendency to avoid pain, most of what you think unconsciously will automatically be distorted towards negative thoughts, negative emotions, and stress. These negative states will cause you to resist the life energy flowing through you causing you to feel depleted.

Just like a dam, every time you engage and persist in negativity and negative emotions, you’re building on and strengthening the barrier blocking your life force from flowing freely. In fact, every time you engage in an anger burst, it can deplete your immune system for up to 5 hours.[1]

Many stress-related health issues nowadays often arise because of depleted and blocked energy levels and uncontrolled thought processes. Luckily, guided meditation can be a powerful tool to reverse all of that and even empower you towards significant lifestyle changes.

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What You Stand to Gain

Guided meditation for energy isn’t complicated to define. It’s the process of instilling a state of deep peace within yourself, all the while training your attention and awareness. This is generally done by following the guidance of a trained practitioner.

Just like any new appliance you purchase, you’re most likely going to have to glance at the instructions manual to get it running. Well, the same can apply to meditation.

Meditation isn’t at all a complex practice. However, if you’ve never tried it out before, a guide can help get you started by directing your stream of thoughts and focus. The guide will act as your instructions manual to help accustom you to your new meditation practice.

Guided meditation for energy has many outstanding benefits to your mental and physical well-being. In fact, adopting a regular guided meditation practice can give you the following benefits:

1. Still Your Mind

When was the last time you counted zero thoughts floating through your head? Wouldn’t it be great to reach such a point and enjoy moments of peace, deep relaxation, and silence regularly after a guided meditation session?

2. Sharper Focus and Cognitive Abilities

As you become more conscious, you’ll notice increased capabilities within yourself to act more often, rather than react to the circumstances in your life. This will also allow you to focus more on the solutions rather than on the problems in your environment.

3. Reduce Feelings of Anxiety and Depression

Given most anxious and depressive feelings arise out of cognitive distortions, a regular guided meditation practice for energy can help you get acquainted with your higher self—your soul.

From this place of consciousness, you will find it easier to sit peacefully above your thoughts, untouched by whatever commotion is going on down under. Through conscious awareness, you’ll also find it easier to reflect and rationalize on any limiting beliefs.

4. Lowers Your Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

As you relax your body and focus on deep relaxing breaths, you are activating the parasympathetic nervous system in your body. As you do so, this allows your heart rate to decrease and your blood pressure to drop as your blood vessels begin to open up.

5. Help Heal Health Issues

Yes, when given the chance, your body does have the ability to heal itself in certain circumstances. Life energy is also healing energy when you allow it to flow freely undisturbed throughout your being.[2]

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Guided meditation for energy allows your bodily processes to conserve and generate more energy for healing than they otherwise would be able to in a stressed-out and depleted state.

6. Help Create and Influence Your Desired Future

That’s right, the thoughts you are focusing on every day are highly influencing your reality. Remember that everything around you is energy and is also created out of energy! Therefore, your thoughts are nothing more than a frequency of energy!

Guided meditation will often require you to use positive mental imagery for visualization. As you become increasingly capable of visualizing and feeling positive emotions in the process, the emotional frequency vibrations you will begin to emit from within yourself will become much stronger. This higher energy frequency can then influence and attract more positive future circumstances in your life.

You can check out the Law of Attraction if you’re interested in knowing more on how to start visualizing actual life goals you wish to manifest in your own life.[3]

7. Improve Sleep Quality

Guided meditation for energy looks to hack into your deeper brain waves to instill a state of deep relaxation within you. The more relaxed you feel and the stiller your mind, then the easier you’ll find it to fall and remain asleep.

Even better, as your practice becomes a regular habit, you’ll notice you actually won’t need all that much sleep to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on a new day—simply because as you live more from a state of ease, your body will need less rest to conserve its energy and operate efficiently.

8. Cultivate Gratitude and Compassion

Love, gratitude, and compassion for yourself are often hard to come by in today’s ego-driven and chaotic world. A regular guided meditation practice can help grow these positive emotions towards yourself and others. As you begin to transcend your ego, you won’t want to turn back once you’ve experienced a taster of selflessness and all the bundle of positive emotions it comes with.

9. Foster Spiritual Growth

All the above benefits are great, though this one is by far the most valuable. It doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not, spirituality is all about connecting to the creating source of life—be it God, spirit, universe, energy, or whatever you believe created all the magnificence around us. Regular guided meditation sessions will deepen your connection with your spiritual self and can help make you feel more connected to the people and world around you.

In yogic philosophy, meditation is one of the tools of self-discovery to connect Atman with Brahman. This refers to the process of connecting an Individual soul with the eternal consciousness of the universe.

Through regular guided meditation, you can transcend the ego and come to realize that you and everything around you is one and connected! No words can best describe this realization. It really is an experience you must feel for yourself.

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The Guided Meditation Process

You might be wondering, what’s the guided meditation process like?

Well, guided meditation is often the required stepping stone you’ll take before you feel comfortable progressing towards unguided meditation. If you never wish to progress to unguided meditation, that’s absolutely fine, too. You can still perfectly achieve most—if not all—of the above benefits with the help of a guide.

First off make yourself comfortable and follow these steps:

1. Pick a Guided Meditation of Your Choice

Nowadays, there are many helpful guided meditations over the internet or through mobile applications. Many of these apps or websites offer you focused meditations on many specific objectives you’re after.

For example, if you’re suffering from stress or insomnia, you will find ample guided meditations of varying length durations to pick from on those specific subjects. You can check out YouTube or any meditation apps such as Headspace to get yourself started.

Now, it’s important that you choose a guide with a soothing and comfortable voice. After all, that voice will be the one guiding you to the deepest relaxation experience within yourself, and you want to ensure their voice makes you feel good.

2. Find a Comfortable Seated Position and Close Your Eyes

To meditate, you don’t necessarily have to sit cross-legged or chant any mantras. Simply, find yourself in a comfortable armchair or seated position, ensuring your back is upright.

Next, close your eyes and try placing your attention on your breath. Follow your breath in and out to begin grounding yourself in the present moment. After a few deep breaths, begin your guided meditation.

3. Focus on the Voice Guiding You and Attentively Follow Its Instructions

Your objective is to mindfully let your thoughts and emotions come and go without giving in to the urge to react to them. This is a challenging task to maintain even for many established meditators, let alone for beginners.

That’s where guided meditation comes in handy. The guide in the meditation will act as a positive distraction for you to place your focus and attention on. The process is often carried out through visualization instructions, all the while helping you anchor your focus on the rhythm of your breath.

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4. Go in With an Open Mind and Fully Surrender

You may come to realize that many guided meditation stories will often narrate fantasy stories not based on reality. That’s absolutely fine! Go with the flow. Your job is not to judge what does or doesn’t make sense in any narration. Your job is to fully surrender to the voice guiding you, and let it take you to the undiscovered parts of your mind and imagination.

Don’t worry about a thing, most guides are trained practitioners and know exactly what they’re doing to help you out.

5. Don’t Rush Back to Your Senses

Guided meditations for energy can take you into deep states of relaxation and imagination. You may feel detached from your bodily sensations in the process, and that’s a great thing to feel. Once your guide brings you back to your body, make sure to take a couple of moments to yourself before getting back to reality.

Takeaway

Once you experience the deeper dimensions of your consciousness and higher energy levels, you’ll find it hard to want to go back and remain in a depleted state of stress. So, why not treat yourself to the positive experiences of guided meditation for energy daily?

Just 15 minutes a day of guided meditation is more than enough to unlock all the amazing benefits listed above. The best times to schedule your new habit would be first thing in the morning upon awakening or right before bedtime.

Like most self-development tools, guided meditation is a lifelong process, so do not expect to notice all of the benefits at once. However, with patience and persistence in your practice, your life journey will take on a new positive direction and you won’t want to look back.

So, how about you get started right now?

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Featured photo credit: Erik Brolin via unsplash.com

Reference

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