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Your Body Is A Starship – So Maintain It!

Feb 10, 2023

By Professor Jason Ellis of Northumbria University

“Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our health, and it’s essential to understand why it is so crucial. Through the lens of science fiction, let’s explore the importance of sleep and the role that circadian rhythm and REM play.

“First, let’s think of our bodies as a starship. During the day, we expend a lot of energy on communication and interaction with the world around us.

“At night, however, the starship shifts its energy usage. Instead of communication, it uses its energy for life support and shielding, which protects and repairs our physical, psychological, and emotional health.

“But what happens when we don’t give our bodies enough time for restorative sleep? If we lead a busy lifestyle, we might expend too much energy during the day, leaving little for repair and restoration at night.

“This leads to sleep deprivation and can negatively impact our immune system, endocrine system, and digestive system.

“On the other hand, when we’re feeling unwell, the first thing we want to do is sleep. Our bodies instinctively know that they need more energy to focus on repairing and restoring our health. This is where the reparative properties of sleep come into play.

“Sleep disturbances can also have a negative impact on our health. Sleep is a delicate balance of quality and duration, and it’s essential to have long, sustained periods of sleep to reap its benefits.

“When we’re interrupted during the night, our bodies have to start the sleep process all over again, losing the restorative benefits of deep sleep.

“Circadian rhythm and REM play a significant role in the quality of our sleep. The circadian rhythm is our body’s internal clock that regulates our sleep and wake cycles.

“Meanwhile, REM sleep, or Rapid Eye Movement sleep, is when we experience vivid dreams and repair our emotional and psychological health.

“It’s not just the quantity of sleep that matters, but also the timing of our sleep. Our moods change throughout the night as a result of our circadian and affective rhythms. Disrupting these rhythms can have a negative impact on our mental health and emotional wellbeing.

“Understanding the role that circadian rhythm and REM play in our sleep patterns is essential to maintaining good health and wellbeing. So, let’s take care of our starship and prioritise good sleep habits.”

To find out more about how you can make good sleep a priority in the workplace, get in touch with our team to learn more about our Charter for Sleep Equality.