5 Habits For A Better Night’s Sleep Tonight
As humans we are unique, because only we use sleep to restore body, mind, and spirit. Modern life can throw a monkey wrench into your natural sleep cycle.
30 percent of Americans get less than 7 hours of sleep per night, and among single mothers, this rises to 47 percent! Wow, almost half of single moms don’t get enough sleep.
What is Good sleep? Good sleep is uninterrupted; you sleep through the entire night. It is not restless, and there are extended periods of dream sleep.
Sharp mental functioning throughout the day
Feeling fresh not fuzzy
Being consistently alert
(I know some of you are thinking, Jeez I would love to feel like that every day.)
Good sleep is connected to hormonal rhythms and helps regulate appetite. This is an important point. Inadequate sleep can leAd to increased appetite resulting in weight gain and higher BMI.
Here is my sleep mantra- Down with the chickens and up with the roosters. I didn’t pull this mantra out of thin air, it is based in a lot of science. It’s called the Circadian Rhythm. I want to explain how it works so that you understand the reasoning behind these health tips.
Circadian Rhythm: This system is controlled by light and dark, causing you to be most awake during the day and sleepier as the sun sets and the day grows darker.
Here’s how the system works :
As dawn approaches, light triggers the brain to produce cortisol, and serotonin. These hormones help us wake up, feel energized, and regain consciousness.
As the morning progresses, cortisol production drops and serotonin production continues to rise along with body temperature, helping us stay active and full of energy.
In the early evening, metabolism, and hormone production start to drop helping us wind down in the evening. As light fades the circadian rhythm signals the brain to convert serotonin to melatonin. As melatonin levels rise we feel more lethargic and sleepy
Throughout the night, melatonin triggers an entire hormone cascade including growth hormones and oxytocin. These help your body to repair and restore cellular function. Around 4am your brain will sense the light associated with daybreak and the wake up hormones will be released.
Do’s and Don’t’s
**Do Try Some Relaxation Techniques
Do some breathing exercises, restorative yoga or meditation. These will calm the mind and reduce the fears and worries that trigger the stress. I’m a big fan of meditation.
**DO NOT Use Alcohol to Fall Asleep
Alcohol does have an initial sleep-inducing effect, but as it gets metabolized by your liver it usually interferes with sleep during the second half of the night. The Liver processes alcohol between 2-4 am – this can be a time when many experience hot flashes, night sweats or excessively dry mouth and periods of waking. This causes a reduction in overall sleep time.
Here are some alcohol alternatives that include nutrients to calm the body and mind:
Amino acids, L theanine, taurine, 5 HTP and GABA
Herbs like lemon balm, passion flower, chamomile
Minerals such as calcium and magnesium at night is also helpful. For some Melatonin can reset a circadian rhythm imbalance.
**Do Not Watch Television to Help You Fall Asleep.
Falling asleep in a bed watching TV or on the living room couch triggers a wake up and reinforces poor sleep.
Here Are 5 Healthy Habits You Can Do to Improve Your Sleep
These simple practices work together in a powerful way that tells your body to RELAX.
- Set your bedroom aside as a room for sex & sleeping. Now I’ll be the first one to tell you I love to read in bed, but I limit it something fun to help my mind relax and switch gears from the day into sleep mode.The bedroom is NOT for texting, reading off a screen, or watching TV.
- Go to sleep at the same time every night. Kids do great with routine and so do adults, this builds consistency.
- Make your bedroom as dark and silent as possible. Eliminate external stimulation of light and sound.
- Stop major mental activity, such as work you brought home with you, two hours before bedtime. Send the message to your brain that it’s time to shut down for today.
- No food two hours before bedtime. Folks suffering with Gastric Reflux should not have anything 2-3 hours before bed, but others do well with a light protein and fruit snack to help balance blood sugar about 1 hour before bed.
Well that’s all I have for you this week. I’m committed to sharing the health tips that I know and use on a regular basis. So that slowly over time you will begin to hear my voice in your ear. And you will start making small changes that ultimately lead you on a path to better health.
Here’s a quote from Dr. Mark Hyman:
“If your friends have healthy habits you are more likely to as well, so get healthy friends.”
I like to say, you become who you hang around, so let’s hang out some more and we’ll all be drinking green tea together. -Dr. Purcell
(This post was originally a Facebook Live video I did. You can watch that HERE)
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