Sleep - how to get more

Sleep - how to get more!

The Benefits of a Great Night of Sleep

There's nothing better than waking up after a great night of sleep, feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day. There are so many

benefits of a good night's sleep in addition to feeling rejuvenated the next morning: it can keep your heart healthy, help reduce stress and ward off health issues and depression.

You may have noticed that getting a good night's sleep is becoming tougher to achieve as you grow older. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, older adults who don’t sleep well at night are more likely to have problems with memory and attention, and are at a greater risk of nighttime falls.

Sleep duration - that is, how much you sleep each night - has also been linked to longevity. The most beneficial night’s sleep is probably 7 to 8 hours in length. In large epidemiological studies, those get significantly less hours of sleep (fewer than 6) or substantially more (over 9 hours) have been shown to be at a greater risk of dying during the study period.

Here are a few tips that are sure to help, please try to do as many of these as possible.

1. Don't use electronic devices at least 1 hour before bed! Electronic devices including computers, phones, and televisions, use blue light light which is scientifically proven to disrupt sleep patterns. If you are addicted to your phone there are a few excellent apps that block the blue light. Newer Iphones come with "nightshift" already installed and for Androids check out "twighlight". There are also BlueBlock glasses you can buy!


2. Avoid alcohol for 3-4 hours before bed. A new review of 27 studies shows that alcohol does not improve sleep quality. According to the findings, alcohol does allow healthy people to fall asleep quicker and sleep more deeply for a while, but it reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. And the more you drink before bed, the more pronounced these effects. REM sleep happens about 90 minutes after we fall asleep. It's the stage of sleep when people dream, and it's thought to be restorative. Disruptions in REM sleep may cause daytime drowsiness, poor concentration, and rob you of needed ZZZs.


3. Avoid caffeine in the afternoons, evenings and before bed. Caffeine enters the bloodstream through the stomach and small intestine and can have a stimulating effect as soon as 15 minutes after it is consumed. Once in the body, caffeine will persist for several hours: it takes about 6 hours for one half of the caffeine to be eliminated.


4. Make your sleeping area as dark as possible. Use Light blocking window coverings and cover up any lights (tv, alarm clock lights etc). You can always turn your clock away from you rather than getting rid of it. Exposure to artificial light after dusk and before bedtime may reduce sleep quality by suppressing production of the hormone melatonin and may also have other negative health effects, according to a new study. As you age your Melatonin levels decrease. Melatonin, produced by the brain’s pineal gland at night, regulates the sleep-wake cycle. It also has been shown to lower blood pressure and body temperature, says study researcher Joshua Gooley, PhD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.


5. Use white noise if you have trouble falling asleep or are easily awakened during the night. Many sleep specialists recommend trying a sound machine or white noise machine. The sound is soothing and helps block out other sounds. Some people like using a fan. Make sure to point it away from you because the air hitting you may also disrupt your sleep.

6. Keep your sleeping area clean and clutter free. A messy bedroom can muddle your mind, create anxiety, and lead to an unrestful sleep.

7. Avoid sleeping with pets, they move around a lot and are sure to disturb you.

8. Do yoga or meditate before bed (check out PM yoga). Not only is it relaxing but one study on yoga and sleep, participants practiced a 45-minute Kundalini Yoga sequence before bedtime that included long, slow breathing and meditation. The results showed statistically significant improvements in sleep efficiency, total sleep time, and how long it took to fall asleep. Another study showed that young adults who practiced Bikram Yoga regularly woke up fewer times in the night, a sign of better sleep quality. Here's a great 8 minute yoga routine for better sleep: http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/yoga/poses/yoga-routine-before-sleep/

9. Get outside!! Many factors can affect our biological clock, but natural light exposure appears to be the most important. The timing of exposure is crucial; the body clock is most responsive to sunlight in the early morning, between 6 and 8:30 a.m. Exposure to sunlight later does not provide the same benefit. The type of light also matters, as does the length of exposure. Direct sunlight outdoors for at least one-half hour produces the most benefit. The indoor lighting in a typical home or office has little effect.

10. Keep the temperature in your bedroom at or below 70 degrees F (21 degrees Celsius). Many people keep their homes and particularly their upstairs bedrooms too warm. Studies show that the optimal room temperature for sleep is quite cool, between 60 to 68 degrees F (15.5 to 20 C). Keeping your room cooler or hotter can lead to restless sleep.

11. Make sure you are getting enough Magnesium and Vitamin d3

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