We very much live in a society that celebrates exhaustion and we’re always encouraged to get ahead and improve – whatever the cost. And the currency we usually pay for such outcomes is sleep. Sleep has previously been looked at as a time of nothingness, something that can be foregone. However, as more research being done about the mystical time of sleep, we learn that sleep is more integral to our well-being than initially thought.
Within the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) there’s a system called the lymphatic system. When we sleep, our brain shrinks, and this enables the lymph to float through, cleaning up wastes and plaque, that when left – are linked with Alzheimer’s, dementia, impaired memory and cognitive decline. When we sleep, our body releases hormones, such as growth hormone enabling our body to repair and grow.
Optimal sleep enables our hormones to be balanced, increases energy, improved cognition and mental focus, improved mood, better efficiency and increased libido. Sleep deprivation is linked to progressing type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression and weight gain, just to name a few.
So how do we optimise our sleep?
Actions include decreasing phone and screen time before bed. Getting off our devices at least 30 minutes before we plan to go to bed sets us up for melatonin – our sleep hormone, to be released, enabling us to switch off. The blue light from our devices blocks melatonin’s production and is also neural simulator.
Go to bed within a consistent time frame. This will set up a cycle and pattern your bodies able to get into, improving the quality of your sleep and your ability to fall asleep.
Leave the bedroom as the bedroom. I think that’s pretty self-explanatory. TV’s, food, work, all these things diminish the role of the bedroom, and causes a dis-association with the bedroom as a place and time for rest and sleep.
Utilize magnesium, whether internally, topically or in a bath to help relax and get you ready for bed. Additional sleep helpers include the herbs passionflower, zizyphus, magnolia, L-Theanine and Homeopathic melatonin.
How we end the day sets up the next day. Create importance around sleep and treat it as a time of deserved rest and recuperation.
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Written by our nutritionist Eliza