Everyone wants a good night’s sleep, but many of us don’t sleep well and wake up feeling exhausted.
Sleep deprivation can have serious consequences on our health and quality of life. But how can we make sure we get enough quality sleep? Which brings us to the question, what is sleep, how can it help us, and what does a lack of it do to our bodies and minds?
To answer this question, let’s look at what the National Institute of Health’s NINDS (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) has to say about sleep, “Quality sleep – and getting enough of it at the right times – is as essential to survival as food and water.” They go on to say how sleep affects our minds and bodies, “Recent findings suggest that sleep plays a housekeeping role that removes toxins in your brain that build up while you are awake…Sleep affects almost every type of tissue and system in the body – from the brain, heart, and lungs to metabolism, immune function, mood, and disease resistance.”NINDS concludes with how a lack of poor-quality sleep affects us, “Research shows that a chronic lack of sleep, or getting poor quality sleep, increases the risk of disorders including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity.”
The question now is, what is good quality sleep? The NSF (National Sleep Foundation) gives us two indicators of good sleep quality, falling asleep in 30 minutes or less and waking only once per night.
To be honest, we all have difficulty sleeping from time to time, a downside of living in this modern world. But that doesn’t mean we’re doomed to trudge through our days, tired and exhausted. The following are a few tips to help you sleep soundly and awaken energized.
Here are 5 Tips to Sleep Better at Night:
Set a Sleep Schedule and Stick to It
Consistency is the name of the game. Go to bed every night, yes, even on weekends and during holidays, and wake up every morning at the same time. Try not to nap in the daytime as this could interfere with nighttime sleep.
Create a Restful Environment
Make sure your bed and pillows are comfortable for your body. No two bodies are the same, so test them out. Have darkening shades to cut out all light that could come in through the window. Set the temperature at a comfortable level. Crack the window open a wee bit. Set the lights low and play restful music if you like.
Ban Electronics from the Bedroom
Blue light is no one’s friend at bedtime. It plays with the circadian rhythm, waking you up rather than helping you get to sleep. The light from our devices, scientists say, has a high concentration of blue light which affects levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin from being released by the pineal gland. To avoid tossing and turning before sleep takes over, tablets, televisions, and cell phones should get the boot from the bedroom.
Feed and Hydrate Yourself Properly
The best nutrients to promote good sleep are foods and drinks containing L-tryptophan and melatonin and foods high in protein. Be sure to ingest them two hours before heading to bed to give your body time to digest them properly.
You can try:
- dairy products
- chamomile tea
- passionflower tea
- tart cherry juice
Supplements to Improve Sleep
If, after following the above suggestions, you still need help getting to sleep, you might want to add supplements to your routine. Please note that you should always consult with a health professional before adding supplements to your diet.
- B-vitamins help regulate the production of L-tryptophan
- Calcium-Magnesium works with tryptophan to help the pineal gland produce melatonin
- Theanine found in green tea leaves helps induce sleep
- 5-HTP helps manufacture serotonin which, in turn, helps produce melatonin
- Melatonin supplements
Getting a great sleep every night is not out of reach. No one is doomed to nights filled with tossing and turning, and days walking around in a haze. The solution is right before your eyes. Use this simple guide to a sound, restful, quality sleep, and welcome the zzzz.
– The Wellness Universe
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