We tend to undervalue the power of sleeping. We are too busy; we believe the more we do, the better we are; we don’t rest enough; we don’t believe in the power of relaxation. On top of this, we don’t always eat the right foods to help us relax and trigger the natural way to fall asleep. Considering all this… it is harder to fall asleep and to stay asleep through the night.
If you are feeling run-down, are struggling to focus, or are feeling irritable for no clear reason, you may want to look into your sleep patterns. Maintaining adequate amounts of quality sleep is essential to your optimal health and well-being.
Many imbalances happen when we don’t sleep enough:
Epidemiological and lab studies suggest short sleep is associated with increased risks for metabolic disruption, including:
• Impaired glucose tolerance
• Impaired insulin resistance
• Increased ghrelin (ie. we keep being hungry)
• Decreased leptin ( ie. we are never full after eating)
• Increased body mass index (BMI)
These changes likely mediate the increased mortality associated with short sleep duration. Based on: Grandner, M. et al. Relationships among dietary nutrients and subjective sleep, objective sleep ,and napping in women. Sleep Medicine 11 (2010) 180–184 .
Other effects of sleep deprivation are:
• Higher risk for illness
• Higher risk of injuries
• Brain doesn’t function optimally
• Likely to struggle with emotions
The connection between sleep and health inevitably helps to improve your quality of life:
• Increases energy to make beneficial lifestyle choices (cooking, exercise, self-care etc.)
• Heightens alertness, focus and creativity
• Strengthens immune system
• Improves mood-reduces anxiety, irritability and mental exhaustion
• Increases libido (sex drive)
What can we do to sleep better?
1. Maintain a consistent daily schedule
2. Reduce your daily intake of caffeine
3. Turn off the computer or television
4. Don’t go to bed on a full stomach
5. Don’t got to bed on an empty stomach
6. Engage in regular exercise
7. Limit beverage consumption before going to bed
8. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet
9. Invest in comfortable bedding
10. Got to sleep and wake up using your internal clock
11. Light exposure doing the day helps
12. Meditation or relaxation techniques
14. Aromatherapy- lavender oil
15. Food & diet: limit intake of caffeine, alcohol and nicotine; cut back on sugar; eat foods to help you sleep-whole grains, foods rich in B6 like sunflower seeds, bananas
16. Valerian, lemon balm, chamomile teas
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