You Can’t Cheat the Sleep Gods

Even in the most developed countries, we remain deprived of one of the most important things – sleep. We think we can run on less sleep, but I beg to differ. It’s restorative for many processes such as wound healing, immune system functioning and important for memory and mental processing.

Sleep is critical for hormonal balance especially hormones like serotonin and dopamine which are both important in maintaining good mental health, reducing the risk of anxiety and depression.

Your quality of sleep is important to create REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.  During this phase of sleep you are actively dreaming but also you consolidating and processing the information you’ve learned during the day. This important time of your day will help you form new neural connections that strengthen memory and recall.

It’s important to aim for at least seven hours of sleep every night. Make sure you don’t fall further into sleep debt by blocking off enough time for sleep each night. Consistency is the key. Settle short-term sleep debt with an extra hour or two a night. If you lost 10 hours of sleep in a week, pay the debt back nightly over one or two hour installments.

My Wind-Down Rules for a Good Sleep

10 hours prior: Quit the caffeine. It’s a drug it and keeps you stimulated. It has a half-life of 6-8 hours, so in 8 hours, half your coffee is still in your system.

5 hours prior: No more food (and alcohol too!). Eating causes the brain to work on the digestion of sugars, proteins and fats, rather than winding down. (We all know alcohol disturbs REM sleep cycles.)

2 hours prior: Stop working. It’s time to wind down. Read a delightful calming book. Get into a routine of slowing down before bed time.

1 hour prior: Turn off all electronics (including the TV!). The background bright lights of our screens keep our brains awake and stop melatonin production, a sleep hormone which helps us to hibernate each night.(Bears do it longer in winter!) If you chose to use your device to read – download an App that naturally turns down the light quality and quantity over time. Check it out – it’s available on all Apple Devices (Night Shift Function).

The bottom line is that sleep is important, and no matter how healthy your lifestyle is, without sleep your body cannot function and maintain good brain health.

Dr. Elizabeth Stavros N.D. Recommends Sleep Support Product

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep and wake cycles.

Dr. Elizabeth Stavros N.D. Recommends Sleep Support Product

It supports sleep quality by encouraging an easy transition to sleep and a restful night’s sleep.

Dr. Elizabeth Stavros N.D. Recommends Growth Hormone Test

It is used to measure the amount of GH in your blood. GH is affected by sleep, exercise and diet.

 

Author: Elaine Chin

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