Sleep Is Your Super Power

Photo by Kristen Coffield

Sleep is the single most important thing you can do to create a foundation for Beautiful Longevity. Restorative rest is the key to a happy, healthy and productive life; improving cognitive function, strengthening your immune system, and providing valuable time for your body to process stress.  On the flip side, sleeplessness is a contributing factor in heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension and depression — not to mention the development of cognitive impairment. Sleep is an essential part of our circadian cycle, providing time for the flushing of cellular debris generated by the body’s metabolic activity. You NEED at least 7 hours of sleep a night if you want to have normal, healthy levels of fluctuating hormones in your body.

 

Plan For Sleep:

Maintain regular sleeping patterns. Try to go to bed at the same time most nights and wake up at the some time most mornings.

Prepare for a good nights sleep.   Turn off your electronics an hour before your sleep time. Read paper books, practice meditation, pray or write in a journal.

Create a sleep ritual. Write down something for which you are grateful,  make a to do list for the morning, sip camomile tea.

Make sure your room is dark. Block out as much blue light from electronics and ambient light from your bedroom as possible.

Turn the temperature down.  67 degrees and below creates the best temperature for deep sleep. A cool room improves the quality of sleep.

Your bed should be reserved for sleep and sex. Get the TV out of the bedroom and get off your gadgets when in bed.

 

Eliminate Sleep Disruptors:

Avoid caffeine after 2pm. Your body needs time to process it so it doesn't affect your sleep.

Limit alcohol. You should also not drink for two hours before bed.  While alcohol may make you drowsy, it is a notorious sleep disruptor. It causes the release of adrenaline which disrupt the production of serotonin, one of the brain chemicals important for sleep.

Eat dinner 2-3 hours before bed time. You do not want to be too full or hungry when going to sleep. If you are hungry before bed, consider 10-15 raw almonds to bring your blood sugar up and avoid insomnia-causing nocturnal hypoglycemia.

 

Sleep Promoting Habits:

Consume your daily calories over a 12 hour period.  Fast the remaining 12 hours. This is the way your body was designed metabolize, and helps maintain a healthy weight.

Get exposure to the sun within 2 hours of waking.  This will signal your circadian clock to reset itself for the day.

Workout in the morning. If morning workouts are not your thing, avoid vigorous exercise within 3 hours of your bedtime.

Take a magnesium supplement at bedtime.  Magnesium is responsible for over 300 enzyme reactions in the body and you must have it for your cells to make energy. Magnesium helps anything tight relax and can improve your sleep. Try 300-500mg of magnesium citrate, glycerinate taurate, or aspartate before bed.

Drink sleep promoting herbal tea.  There are many delicious sleep promoting teas like Chamomile, Lavender, Holy Basil and Ashwagandha. Try making a medicinal dose by steeping 2 tea bags for 3-4 minutes and drinking before you head up to bed.

 

Longevity Benefits of Sleep:

Improved memory.  Memory consolidation takes place during sleep through the strengthening of the neural connections that form memories.

Increased longevity.  7 to 9 hours of sleep a night are associated with a longer life span.

Decreased risk of disease.  Healthy sleep lowers the levels of inflammatory proteins in the blood, decreasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, obesity and premature aging.

Maintaining healthy weight. Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same areas of the brain. Lack of sleep triggers the hunger hormones, and makes it harder to lose fat. Insufficient sleep, fewer than six hours a night, is linked with weight gain.

Lower stress and improved cardiovascular health. During REM sleep one of the stress-related brain chemicals, noradrenalin, is switched off. This allows us to remain calm while our brains reprocess all the experiences of the day.

Reduced anxiety and less risk of depression. Normal sleep is a restorative state that reboots the body and brain and processes out daily stress. When sleep is disrupted or inadequate, it can lead to increased tension and irritability. Inability to sleep or oversleeping can be signs of depression and lack of sleep for any reason can make depression worse.

Improved immune function. Sleep decreases the levels of inflammatory triggers in the body, increasing resistance to infection.

 

Make sleep a priority to keep you living younger longer!