Do you get 8 hours of sleep consistently?
Sleep is a super important part of a healthy lifestyle…. Here’s why:
Almost all of the body’s restoration happens at night – when you’re sleeping. When you allow your body enough rest, amazing things happen.
When you sleep, your body restores any damage it can in your tissues and cells (removing toxins and healing physical wounds). It neutralises neurotoxins and balances chemicals (including hormones). Your brain is largely repaired during REM sleep and your immune system is strengthened while you sleep.
When you don’t get enough (good) sleep consistently, your body will age faster simply because it’s not given the time to properly recover from the day – exercise, environmental toxins, stress, etc.
And if you are aiming to get to your optimal weight then listen up! Too little sleep causes a hormone (ghrelin) that makes you feel hungry to swell while suppressing the hormone (leptin) that signals you to feel full. Do you notice that when you don’t get as much sleep or deep sleep, you want to eat more the next day?
So, how can we begin to get into a better sleep routine? It takes practice and commitment. It has to be a priority – just like eating healthy and exercising regularly. But, when you get enough sleep, you’ll notice you’re better equipped to handle what the day throws at you.
1. Stop caffeine intake by 3 pm at least. That includes coffee, black and green tea. Particularly if you are someone who is sensitive to caffeine. Keep this in mind. Caffeine has a half-life of 5 to 7 hours. Half-life means the length of time it takes for the body to remove 50% of a drug’s concentration. So if you have a cup of coffee/tea at 4 pm in the afternoon, by 9 pm you are only halfway to completing the job of getting rid of the caffeine. Beware of chocolate too as this contains caffeine. This tip, and tip #2, were game-changers for me. If I touch anything with caffeine after 2 pm I will be wide awake until late into the night.
2. Eat a healthy, lighter dinner 3 hours before bed. You want your body to focus on restoring, rather than digesting a large meal. Check out this delicious soup – just perfect for a light meal.
3. Turn off all electronics 45 min – 1 hour before bed. You guessed it: watching TV until you fall asleep actually inhibits your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep due to the lack of melatonin production. The blue lights from TVs and phones/iPad are hindering your body’s ability to create adequate amounts of melatonin so you not only fall asleep but stay asleep. I tested this theory the other night. Claude and I stayed up an hour later than usual as we got hooked into a netflix movie*. Normally I fall asleep when my head hits the pillow but it took me a good 5 mins or more to nod off. I needed to do tip #5 to help me drift off.
4.Drink most of your water intake before 4 pm. Ensuring you’re properly hydrated and not chugging a huge glass of water before bed will help immensely with waking up at night to use the restroom.
5. Try the gratitude exercise before bed. If I am having trouble getting to sleep, I count 10 things I am grateful for. Usually I am fast asleep before all 10, but occasionally I need to count past 11, but never too far. Try it and see if it works for you. Be intentional about it as that can put you into a happy state. Using your fingers to count off helps – not sure why, but that is what I have found. Also helps when you wake in the middle of the night and have trouble getting back to sleep.
6. Take your Supplements with dinner. We all know our supplements are designed to be taken in the morning and at night. There’s actually a reason for this! Your PM supplements assist your body in restoration and detoxification.
If you would like to learn more about the significance of sleep and why it is now considered the number 1 factor in improving all parameters of health, then have a read of Matthew Walker’s book Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams. It is a fascinating read.
Check out my favourite supplements below to assist in getting the best night’s sleep, too!
Live Your Life Vibrantly
Life Live Supplements For Sleep
Magnesium Drink Mix
I am a huge fan of this product! I drink it all year round to help put me into a deeper sleep, but it is particularly lovely in the cooler months.
Dissolve this magnesium-rich powder in hot water for an effervescent, herbal, citrus drink to unwind from your day. Enjoy a warm, fizzy serving 30–60 minutes before bed to help center your thoughts and prepare for a good night’s rest. Research suggests strong ties between magnesium and sleep.
More on the Magnesium Drink Mix at my website: Magnesium Drink Mix
Pure Rest is USANA’s fast-acting, ultra-pure melatonin supplement that is both safe and effective. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles. Pure Rest is NOT a sleeping pill and is not habit forming.
Note, this product is not available in all markets and sadly not in Australia. When I am taking melatonin I get a prescription from the GP. She prescribes me 100 x 5 mg modified-release capsules from a compounding chemist.
*the Netflix movie was The Intern with Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway and Rene Russo. Feel good movie with some truly uproariously funny scenes.