Good sleep is one of the cornerstones of health. Six to eight hours per night seems to be the optimal amount of sleep for adults. Many recommend more for developing athletes (seven to nine hours). Too much or too little sleep can have adverse effects on your health. Sleep deprivation is such a chronic condition these days that you might not even realize you suffer from it. Interrupted or impaired sleep can:
Dramatically weaken your immune system
Accelerate tumor growth: tumors grow up to 2-3 times faster in laboratory animals with severe sleep dysfunctions.
Cause a pre-diabetic state: making you feel hungry even if you have already eaten, which can wreak havoc on the waist line
Seriously impair your memory: even a single night of poor sleep – meaning sleeping only 4-6 hours – can impact your ability to think clearly the next day
Impair your performance: on physical or mental tasks and decrease your problem solving ability
Lost sleep is forever lost and persistent lack of sleep has a cumulative effect when it comes disrupting your health.
The good news is there are many natural techniques you can learn to restore your sleep health. Whether you have difficulty falling asleep, waking up too often, feeling inadequately rested when you wake up in the morning, or better yet simply trying to improve the quality of your sleep we hope you find some relief from the following tips.
Tip 1: Sleep in complete darkness or as close to it as possible. Even the tiniest bit of light in the room can disrupt your internal clock and your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin. Yes, this means the night light that many of us have. All life evolved in response to predictable patterns of light and darkness, call circadian rhythms. Modern day electrical lighting has significantly betrayed your inner clock by disrupting your natural rhythms.
Tip 2: Keep the temperature in your bedroom no higher than 70°. Many people keep their homes and particularly their upstairs bedrooms too warm. Studies show that the optimal temperature for sleep is quite cool, between 60-68°. When you sleep, your body’s internal temperature drops to its lowest level, generally about four hours after you fall asleep. Scientists believe a cooler bedroom may therefore be most conducive to sleep, since it mimics your body’s natural temperature drop.
Tip 3: Reserve your bed for sleeping. If you are used to watching TV or doing work in bed, you may find it harder to relax and drift off to sleep. Avoid these activities in bed.
Tip 4: Don’t change your bedtime. You should go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends. This will help your body get into a sleep rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep and get up in the morning.
Tip 5: Eat a high protein snack or meal several hours before bed time. This goes along withour “no whites” at night suggestion. This can also provide the L-trytophan needed for your melatonin and serotonin production
Tip 6: Put your work away at least one hour (preferably two or more) before bed time. This will give your mind a chance to unwind so you can go to sleep feeling calm, not hyped up about tomorrow’s deadlines.
Tip 7: No TV right before bed. Even better get the TV out of the bedroom. It’s too stimulating to the brain, preventing you from falling asleep quickly. TV can disrupt your pineal gland function.. remember this is the gland that secretes melatonin and serotonin...chemicals important for a good night’s sleep.
Tip 8: Avoid before bed snacks especially grains and sugars. These will raise your blood sugar and delay sleep. Later when your blood sugar level drops to low (hypoglycemia), you may wake up and be unable to fall back asleep (this can explain those late night refrigerator raids)
Picking one or two of these tips to start with will get you on the road to an improved night’s sleep and performing your best each day.