Getting Your ZZZ’s
Next to water and food, sleep is essential for survival. Ageing, stress and some prescription drugs can all affect sleep. Good sleep is a requirement if we want to support our health and have the energy we need to thrive. Chronic lack of sleep is thought to be linked to diabetes, hypertension, weight gain, memory loss, and the risk of heart disease.
Studies have shown a link between a properly functioning metabolism and getting adequate sleep and rest — lack of sleep can mean lack of weight loss. Night after night of sleeplessness can seriously slow down your metabolism since the body works to conserve energy when it’s fatigued. Make it a priority to get a full night rest every night in order to keep hormone levels in check, including cortisol. High levels of cortisol associated with a lack of sleep are tied to poor mental functioning, weight gain and becoming more resistant to insulin that controls blood sugar.
Although each of us need different amounts to feel our best, the general consensus seems to be about 8 hours per night. This, for many people, is easier said than done and can often be a source of frustration.
The below strategies may help you get your zzz’s.
- Establishing a nightly routine can signal to the body that you are preparing for sleep. A warm bath before bedtime, reading, or a soothing cup of herbal tea can help you unwind.
- Drinking a cup of herbal tea with holy basil, passionflower, chamomile, valerian or skullcap can help relax the nervous system. (We have a tea to help you at the Clinic, get some ZZZ’s in fact).
- Magnesium is considered the anti-stress nutrient, magnesium calms and supports the nervous system. Seeds, nuts, and leafy greens are all great sources of magnesium. Try an epsom salt bath or using some Magnesium Citrate we have available @ the Clinic.
- Body temperature and the brain’s sleep-wake cycle are closely linked. Keep your bedroom cool.
- Make sure your bedroom is quiet and dark. Try using earplugs and/or an eye mask.
- Tend to your emotional health before bedtime. Try writing in a journal or practice some deep breathing or meditation for 10 minutes.
- Turn off all electronics at least 2 hours before bed (TV, phone, computer – anything with a glowing screen)
- Find a regular time to go to bed. Being consistent reinforces your body’s wake/sleep cycle.
- Cut down on alcohol consumption. Alcohol can induce sleep disorders by disrupting the sequence and duration of sleep states. It can also alter total sleep time as well as the time required to fall asleep.
- Eliminate or reduce your caffeine intake. Caffeine can affect our ability to fall asleep and reduce our quality of sleep. It stimulates our production of stress hormones and inhibits our absorption of a hormone that gives us a sense of calmness.