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When it comes to understanding the key contributors to our whole health, it is safe to say that we have now come to a point where we have a solid understanding of the impact that both diet and exercise each respectively have on our health. There has been enough emphasis, research, and studies conducted for this to be so (especially in recent years). And considering all this growing data and research, people are finally taking better care of themselves and their bodies. More than ever before, people are prioritizing their health by eating healthier and getting in more physical exercise every day. But what about the impact that sleep has on whole health? We have all felt the immense difference in how we feel after we get a good night’s sleep, but many – if not most – of us do not really think about why we feel that way, the contributing factors that form the underlying state when we wake from sleep. Sleep and its links to health is something that is increasingly becoming the central focus of studies and research, and it is about time, too.

An individual’s sleeping pattern has a distinct impact on their health. In fact, getting less than six hours of sleep, or more than nine hours, has been shown in recent studies to have a negative impact on not only one’s physical health, but their mental health as well. Take the brain, for example. Every day, we put our bodies through a lot as we go about our everyday activities and tasks. This is a given. Now, throughout the day, we accumulate a lot of information. Some of that information is useful, and some of it is not. In addition to this, the brain builds up a lot of “gunk” during the day in the form of fluid build-up. When we go to sleep at night, we give our brains the much-needed (and frankly necessary) chance to clean out the gunk. If we do not get enough sleep, that gunk continues to build up, and over time it can manifest in diseases of the mind like Alzheimer’s or dementia (to name a few). Similar things happen to other organs and systems in the body (think weight distribution and metabolism, diabetes, and mental health issues).

With so much importance placed squarely on the shoulders of a sound sleeping pattern, it comes as no surprise that people are becoming more focused, more intend, on righting the ship and establishing a healthier sleeping pattern for themselves. For some people, remedying the issue can be as simple as switching the mattress on their bed. Whether they do this by browsing review sites online such as Sleep Junkie, or physically going into traditional retail stores to try all their options in person, a new mattress can put to bed sleeping problems. For some people, however, it is not as simple as replacing the old mattress with a new one. In many cases, a poor sleeping pattern is the result of several contributing factors, and it can take some time to sift through them all to find the root cause of disjointed sleep. For some, it can take months, even years, for a sound sleeping pattern to be established.

It can be disheartening in the beginning to realize that the road is not so straightforward, but ultimately the end goal is too important not to strive for – no matter how challenging the road to achieving that goal may be. We only have one body. We should do everything in our power to give it the best life possible, and that includes ensuring that we get enough adequate sleep. Our bodies literally rejuvenate and replenish as we sleep, and so when we deprive our body of that precious shut-eye, we effectively squash our body’s chance to rest and revive for the next day ahead (not to mention taking away its opportunity to clean out all that junk that we have accumulated throughout the day). Sleep is a crucial key component to strong whole health, and when people do not take accountability for ensuring they get the right amount of sleep, whatever it takes, it can prove to be incredibly unhealthy – even fatal, in the most extreme of cases.

Whole health is something that people rarely deeply consider beyond the term itself. Of course, we all want to believe that we are the healthiest versions of ourselves, but historically there has not been nearly enough emphasis on what exactly is involved in improving and maintaining whole health. The two contributing factors to whole health that have been gaining the most attention and subsequent traction in recent years are diet and exercise. However, sleep is just as (if not more) important when it comes to maintaining strong whole health. We have all felt the remarkable difference between a sound night’s sleep and a fractured sleeping habit, but what many of us do not realize or pay enough attention to, is that sleep is important for practically every part of the human body’s physical and mental systems. A negative sleeping pattern can result in issues from weight distribution to mental stability (and everything in between) becoming more pronounced. At the end of the day, sleep is crucial for positive whole health.

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