My mom often told me, “If you want to grow up big and strong you need plenty of sleep.” It turns out she was pretty smart.
Sleep is essential! Along with food and water, it is probably one of the most important things we do. But why?
According to Healthline.com – “Deep sleep is restorative. Your body replenishes its energy and repairs cells, tissues, and muscles.”
Researchers at the University of Rochester in New York found “that when you sleep, your brain removes toxic proteins from its neurons that are by-products of neural activity when you’re awake. The catch here is that your brain can only adequately remove these toxic proteins when you have sufficient quality sleep.”
According to UCI Health (University of California, Irvine Medical Center), studies have linked chronic sleep problems to higher risks for serious health conditions such as:
Heart disease: Inadequate sleep can cause elevated blood pressure, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Immune function: Substances produced by the immune system to fight infection also contribute to fatigue, so those who sleep longer have been shown to recover more quickly.
Obesity: People who sleep fewer than six hours per night are much more likely to have a high body mass index (BMI). Why? Researchers believe that insufficient sleeps upsets the hormonal balance that helps to control appetite and metabolism.
Diabetes: Type 2 diabetes is more common in sleep-deprived individuals. This is thought to be due to a slower processing of glucose in people who don’t sleep well.
Depression: Chronic sleep issues have been associated with depression, anxiety and mental distress.
Studies have also shown that people who average between seven and eight hours of sleep per night have lower mortality rates than people who get considerably less hours of sleep per night.
And finally, this from the National Heart Lung & Blood Institute (NHLBI) in Bethesda, Maryland – “Sleep plays an important role in your physical health. For example, sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.”
So what do you do if you are having problems getting enough sleep?
The Sleep Foundation (https://www.sleepfoundation.org ) recommends the following ways to improve your sleep:
Decide on a Set Bedtime: As part of your natural sleep-wake cycle, your brain starts winding down for sleep a few hours before bedtime. You can use your bedtime routine to make that process more effective.
Leave the Electronics Alone: Electronic devices, including computers, televisions, smartphones, and tablets, all emit strong blue light. When you use these devices, that blue light floods your brain, tricking it into thinking it’s daytime. As a result, your brain suppresses melatonin production and works to stay awake. If you must use electronics, switch them to warm light or night mode if possible.
Take a Warm Bath: As part of your sleep-wake cycle, your body experiences various hormonal changes throughout the day. One of these is melatonin production, which begins in the evening to prepare you for sleep. At the same time, your core temperature drops.
When you take a warm bath or shower (around 104 and 109 degrees Fahrenheit) for as little as 10 minutes, the body brings a large amount of blood flow to the surface, especially hands and feet. This blood flow brings the heat from the core to the surface and causes a drop in body temperature triggering a similar sleepy reaction.
Listen to Music: Sixty-two percent of people listen to music to help them sleep. The genre isn’t important, so long as the music relaxes you. Close your eyes, listen to the music, and let it distract you from your worries and calm you down.
Stretch, Breathe, and Relax: Relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation can allow you to let go of physical and mental tension, by instead focusing on your body and mindfully relaxing. (Progressive Muscle Relaxation, or PMR, is a method that helps relieve tension. In progressive muscle relaxation, you tense a group of muscles as you breathe in, and you relax them as you breathe out. You work on your muscle groups in a certain order.)
Read a Good Book: Reading is a common bedtime routine that begins in childhood. Parents often read to their children as part of a bedtime routine. When incorporating reading into your bedtime routine as an adult, stay away from exciting genres like suspense and action. A book with a plot that’s drama-free, even boring, can be best.
Prep Your Bedroom: Dedicate part of your bedtime routine to transforming your bedroom into a sleep oasis. Make a ritual out of making things as cool, dark, and quiet as possible. Turn off any noisy electronics. Dim the lights and pull down your blackout curtains. Put things away and remove clutter.
Now, for the final piece of your bedtime routine: getting into bed. Make this the very last thing you do, and once your head hits the pillow, don’t do anything else other than try to fall asleep. You want your body to see your bed as a place of slumber, and that’s all.
Also, simply taking a walk before bedtime can be helpful. Walk around the block and look at things. This puts your attention out into the environment, pulling it away from all the problems of the day. So go out for a walk and walk until you feel relaxed.
We also highly recommend a natural sleep aid like our RHP Sleep Support Formula.
This health supplement is not your typical sleep aid. The RHP Sleep Support Formula combines and uses multiple different nutritional approaches that will help your body maintain a regular sleep cycle. It is a proprietary blend of vitamins, minerals and two vital botanical extracts which are shown to safely contribute to helping you relax, allowing for a more natural deep sleep. Without the harmful side effects of sleep medications.
You need your sleep. Whether you are having trouble with your health, want to lose weight, want to be more alert and active or whatever you want to do – sleep is a key component to getting it done.
If you’re having problems getting enough sleep we’re here to help.