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SAVVY SELF-CARE best practices 26 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k m a r c h / a p r i l 2 0 1 7 When it comes to taking care of ourselves, there are many factors to consider. In this column, we have examined aspects of self-care from exercise to digestion to self-massage. But sleep does more for our well-being than almost anything else in our lives, and it deserves some attention, too. Sleep is extremely important to our overall health. Many important physiological processes that heal and balance the body take place while we sleep. A 2013 study involving mice showed that waste removal in the brain increases during sleep, which may indicate that sleep is an important part of protecting our brains from toxins and diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. 1 Science has also shown that while we sleep, the brain filters through the information we took in during the day and strengthens the connections for important information while letting go of what is unnecessary. During sleep, the heart rate slows, respiration slows, and blood pressure drops. This slowdown takes pressure off the body, allowing it to rejuvenate. Getting enough sleep helps the body maintain proper weight (the weight- regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin are disrupted when we do not sleep well). Other hormonal processes that affect our bodies take place while we are sleeping. Even The Importance of Sleep By Jennie Hastings

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