Mindful Owl Journal

Snooze Button: Why Do We Sleep?


You may be surprised to learn that even now, with our advanced knowledge and understanding of human physiology, science still cannot confidently answer this question. What we do know (from our collective personal experiences!) is that sleep is one of the most important contributors to health. During sleep, our bodies synthesize growth hormones, as well as hormones which regulate hunger, such as ghrelin and leptin. Sleep allows our bodies to grow muscle, repair tissue, restore our energy and rejuvenate our minds.

How much sleep to aim for

Research shows that 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep is ideal. This is because there are specific processes that take place during sleep which are of benefit to us, such as memory consolidation: a process where a person can strengthen their memory retention by turning short-term memories into long -term memories. Sleep also gives our bodies a chance to improve its immune system’s efficiency by secreting cytokines; proteins originating from the immune system’s cells that affect surrounding cells.

Cytokines fight against infections and inflammations during sleep. A lack of sleep will, in time, result in the body’s immune system becoming weaker, since cytokines are not being produced as they should. Under sleep deprivation, the body will also cause an increase in the secretion of the previously mentioned ghrelin (which increases appetite) and a decrease in the secretion of leptin (which decreases appetite).

What’s the best way to catch some ZZZs, then?

One of the key ingredients for a good night’s rest is, of course, a comfortable, even surface to sleep on; preferably a bed. Beds usually have two components: the base (e.g. springs, memory foam, water, air, etc.); and the mattress. As far as bedding materials go, cotton is a popular choice especially organic cotton which offers numerous benefits.

Organic cotton is naturally processed, which allows it to retain the properties responsible for its softness. It also regulates temperature and humidity by circulating heat and moisture away from the body as you sleep. Again, sleep is at its best when it is uninterrupted, so if the fabrics you sleep on are comfortable enough, you’re unlikely to wake up prematurely due to discomfort. This is good! The more you sleep, the better.

The benefits of organic cotton for toddlers and children

It is well known that toddlers and infants have particularly sensitive skin. In fact, their sensitivities tend not to decrease until they become much older. This is where one of the advantages of organic cotton truly comes in: since organic cotton is not chemically processed, there are no chemicals involved to potentially cause allergic or other adverse reactions with a toddler’s or child’s skin. This is fundamental, since their bodies are less capable of fighting off such reactions than those of adults. All in all, organic cotton is comfortable and healthy; two attributes which make it a worthwhile purchase for any consumer.

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