Sleep Deprivation is the Cause of Many Diseases, Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Simple Tricks to Fall Asleep Faster
Sleep deprivation has the same effect on our immune system as physical stress or illness, which explains why lack of sleep is tied to an increased risk of numerous chronic diseases.
Sleep is also intricately tied to important hormone levels, including melatonin, a potent antioxidant with powerful anti-cancer activity, which is diminished by lack of sleep. Small adjustments to the daily routine and sleeping area can go a long way to ensure uninterrupted, restful sleep and, thereby, better health.
One of the worst things you can do to help you fall asleep is to reach for a sleeping pill.
Research shows these drugs really do not work and come with a laundry list of side effects, many of which can be quite serious, including amnesia, depression and an increased risk for accidents.
One analysis found that sleeping pills like Ambien, Lunesta and Sonata reduced the average time it takes to fall asleep by about 13 mins compared to placebo, while increasing total sleep time by 11 mins.
Such results are typical, on the pills people really gain just minutes’ worth of sleep when taking such pills.
Meanwhile, sleeping pills may subtract years off of one’s lifespan.
According to a 2012 study people who take sleeping pills have a 35% higher risk for certain cancers and are nearly 4X as likely to die from any cause as non-users.
There are effective and far safer strategies to address sleeplessness, such as simple breathing techniques or, as suggested by sleep specialist Michael Breus in the featured video seen above:
• Keeping a gratitude journal, noting everything you’re happy and grateful for each evening, just before bed
• Keeping a worry journal. Worries tend to keep us up at night, and writing them down is a simple way to empty your mind so you can fall asleep. In the evening, but not directly before bed, write down your worries and a possible solution or action you can take for each entry.
It would also be wise to put all your work away at least 1, and preferably 2 hours before bed. You need a chance to unwind before falling asleep without being anxious about the next day’s plans or deadlines.
• Counting backward from 300 by 3’s. The mental focus required will prevent you from thinking about anything else, and the sheer boredom of counting may be enough to put you to sleep
Common sense suggestions include avoiding coffee and caffeinated beverages such as soda, caffeinated teas and energy drinks several hours before bedtime. If you are sensitive, your sleep may suffer if you consume caffeine after Noon.
While 1 to 2 cups of black Organic Coffee can be healthy, drinking too much, especially in the afternoon or evening, can overstimulate you and, in the long term, alter your body’s internal clock, ditto for alcohol.
While it may make you nod off quicker, research shows drinking alcohol makes you more likely to wake during the night, leaving you feeling less rested in the morning.
Spicy foods and unhealthy fatty or sugary foods can also lead to fragmented sleep, especially when eaten late in the evening. This is thought to be due to the brain chemical hypocretin, a neurotransmitter that helps keep you awake and also plays a role in appetite.
Eating too close to bedtime, or very late at night when you would normally be sleeping, may also throw off your body’s internal clock.
Avoiding food for at least 3 hours before bed will lower your blood sugar during sleep and help minimize mitochondrial damage. It will also jumpstart the glycogen depletion process so you can shift to fat-burning mode.
A Y 2012 study offers powerful confirmation of this recommendation. It found the mere act of temporarily altering your typical eating habits, such as getting up in the middle of the night for a snack causes a certain protein to desynchronize your internal food clock, which can throw you off-kilter and set a vicious cycle in motion.
According to an analysis of available research by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, the weight of the evidence suggests adults need somewhere between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night for optimal health, with the Goldilocks’ Zone being right around 8 hours.
Get good sleep, it recharges us.
Have a terrific President’s Day weekend.
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