A Guide To Your Best Sleep

Sleep loss can have short and long term negative effects on your overall health. Studies to show insufficient quality and quantity of sleep can cause

  • An increase in the body’s response to stress and pain
  • Mood and emotional disturbances
  • A reduction in overall quality of life
  • Behavioral problems in adolescents
  • Worsening of symptoms in common gastrointestinal disorders
  • An increase in risk of metabolic issues, hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease
  • a reduction in overall cognitive function and memory

(1,2,3)

According to the updated research of the Nation Sleep Foundation  adults ages 18-64 need 7-9 hours of sleep each night and adults ages 64 and up need 7-8 hours asleep. To optimize your health and energy here are some evidence based tips to help you achieve a good night’s sleep.

  • Turn off your electronics- 2 hours before bed time- reducing your ‘blue light’ exposure at night will impact your circadian rhythm. Light exposure will reduce a hormone the overall amount of melatonin (aka the sleeping hormone) in your body.
  • Reduce caffeine consumption 6-8 hours before bed- While caffeine also has many health benefits (7, 7.1), it stays in your blood stream 6-8 hours after consumption. This stimulant will definitely have negative effects on your sleep latency (aka the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep).
  • Steer clear of nicotine– nicotine is a sleep theif! In studies the number of cigarettes smoked each day was associated with poorer quality of sleep (6).
  • Balance your fluid intake– Dehydration can reek havoc on your sleep by causing nocturnal leg cramps as well as dry nasal passages which can cause sleep-disruptive snoring (8). However this doesn’t mean you should slurp down a big glass of water before bed because on the other hand, this can cause you to take several trips to the bathroom throughout the night. Focus on your fluid intake during the day. Otherwise healthy women should focus on drinking approximately 91 fluid ounces or 2.7 Liters throughout the day, while men should focus on drinking 125 ounces or 3.7 Liters of fluids according to The National Academies of Science.
  • Set a schedule- Sleep and wake at consistent times- cut down on or eliminate day time naps. There is research that says a 30 minute nap per day in healthy adults can enhance memory and alertness (9), but anything longer than that can make you drowsy throughout the day.
  • Consider supplements- There are many supplements out there that can help you get a good night’s sleep:
    • Melatonin– Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced in our bodies, especially at night. Melatonin supplements come in pill and liquid forms over-the-counter and can be helpful in giving your brain that extra boost of this hormone at bed time.
    • Magnesium is necessary in over 300 cellular functions and deficiencies in magnesium are linked to over 80 diseases including restless leg syndrome and headaches. Magnesium found in many foods and in over-the-counter supplements.
    • CBD– Pure forms of CBD oil use daily over time have many benefits on mood, cognitive function, pain perception and inflammation and combatting insomnia (11,12,13). CBD will not make you sleepy, but it may help with anxiety that some people get before bed time. CBD is available in all 50 states and comes in a variety of forms including tinctures, lotions, and oils. Also see my buyer’s guide to CBD oil here.
    • Lavender– Lavender is available as an essential oil for the use of aromatherapy or a supplement. It is especially calming to use at night because of it’s soothing, anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Go for comfort- Do your own research and see if adding a few extra pillows enhances your comfort at night. Have you ever tried a body pillow? Body pillows aren’t just for pregnant women! Body pillows can enhance blood circulation and muscular relaxation
  • Exercise- It is important to your sleeping habits to exercise each day, but not before bed time (10). Be sure you don’t schedule your workout in the three hours leading up to bed time. This is sure to keep you tossing and turning at bed time.
  • Make sleep a priority– Sleep is critical to your health. Make it an actual item on your to-do list. Do not try to do other things while laying down at night. If you think of something you need to do, write it down by your bedside and take care of it first thing the next day. Your body will thank you!

 

 

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