Sleep better for better health

Sleep better for better health

Sleep is essential for health and wellbeing. It allows the body to repair and regenerate and helps to keep the immune system strong. It also allows the brain to function properly. One study shows that during sleep, the brain actually flushes out toxins associated with neurodegeneration. In fact, a poor night’s sleep can affect your ability to concentrate, think clearly and process memories. Research shows that a chronic lack of sleep, or poor quality sleep may increase the risk of disorders such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression and obesity.

While it is recommended that adults get between 7-9 hours of sleep per night, about 40% of people report getting less than the minimal 7 hours of sleep. 

Here are some tips to help you sleep better for better health. 

Keep a Consistent Bed-Time 

The body does most of its healing between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Optimize your body’s healing abilities by sleeping during this window. Also, going to bed and waking up at the same time helps to improve sleep onset and overall sleep quality, according to this study

Avoid Blue Light in the Evening

Blue light suppresses melatonin production. Research shows that there is a direct correlation between the amount of time spent on electronic devices during the day (especially at night), and the length of time it takes to fall asleep, as well as the amount of sleep you get overall. In one study, teenagers who used electronic devices such as tablets, smartphones, and computers, for more than five hours a day, were 3.5 times more likely to get less than five hours of sleep per night. They were also 49% more likely to take over an hour to fall asleep.

Amber Lights at Night

Amber lighting and red light therapy devices in the evening support the body’s circadian rhythm and promote melatonin production. Because red, orange and amber lighting is on the same spectrum as a natural sunset, it signals to the body that it’s the end of daytime and the beginning of nighttime. An orange screen filter can be helpful when using a computer or smartphone in the evening.

Swap LED Lights for Incandescent Light Bulbs

LED and fluorescent lighting in the evening is a major sleep disruptor. Research shows that white LED lights are five times more likely to block melatonin production than incandescent light bulbs.

Sleep in a Cooler Room

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the best temperature for sleep is between 60-67°F (15-19°C). Sleeping at high temperatures decreases REM and deep sleep. In a study on the relationship between insomnia and body temperature, researchers found that people with difficulties staying asleep often have an elevated core body temperature at night. 

Sleep in a Dark and Quiet Room

A dark and quiet room is critical for quality sleep. Light influences sleep cycles, melatonin production and circadian rhythm. Consider adding black out curtains or using a sleep mask to block out any light from sneaking in. Ear plugs and noise canceling headphones can also be an effective way to block out potential noise.

Expose Yourself to Sunlight After Waking Up

Going outside and exposing yourself to sunlight for 10-15 minutes after waking up will synchronize your body to the proper circadian rhythm. You will feel more energized and happier throughout the day.

Don’t Drink Caffeine After Noon

Studies show that caffeine can affect the onset of sleep as well as reduce sleep time, efficiency and satisfaction levels. It can also reduce the time of deep restful sleep. Because the half-life of caffeine is about 5.7 hours, if you drink coffee at noon, then 50 percent of it will still be in your system at 6 PM. 

Exercise During the Day

According to a 2018 meta-analysis, exercise may alleviate symptoms of insomnia. Strength training has also been shown to increase sleep quality and resistance training helps the body to stay in deeper stages of sleep. It’s important to stop hard physical activity 4 hours before going to sleep.

Avoid Alcohol

Studies show that alcohol before bed may decrease deep sleep quality and disrupt the natural REM cycle by either shortening or lengthening it.

Protect yourself from EMF’s

Studies show that daily EMF exposure is associated with overall poor sleep quality and can affect melatonin production in a negative way. EMF exposure at night can have even more pronounced effects. Decrease your EMF exposure at night by turning off your WiFi, keeping your phone on airplane mode and keeping electronics out of your bedroom. Another helpful tip is to use on/ off light switches rather than dimmer switches, as dimmer switches are a source of dirty electricity. 

Supplements that Help with Sleep

5-HTP: 5-HTP helps the body to produce more serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that stabilizes mood, feelings of well-being and happiness. It also plays a role in sleep and wake cycles and assists the body in making melatonin. 

CBD Oil: CBD’s anti-anxiety properties help to promote relaxation and many people find it works as an effective sleep aid. Try Charlotte’s Web Max Strength CBD for a restful night’s sleep.

GABA: The amino acid, naturally produced by the brain, enables the mind and body to relax and fall asleep. Low GABA levels are associated with insomnia and disrupted sleep.

Magnesium Glycinate: Magnesium helps to regulate both the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. The parasympathetic nervous system helps to prepare your body for sleep by slowing down your heart rate and other systems in your body. It also helps to maintain healthy GABA levels. Magnesium glycinate is one of the most absorbable forms of magnesium. It contains glycine, which is another sleep inducing amino acid.

Melatonin: Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in response to darkness. It signals your body to know when it’s time to sleep. Research has shown that supplementing with melatonin can help with falling asleep faster as well as with insomnia.     

Valerian Root: Often referred to as “nature’s Valium”, valerian root is an herb that promotes tranquility, improves sleep and reduces anxiety.