You’ve heard it before, but sleep is so important! Here's why getting adequate, high-quality sleep is crucial:
Research has found that there is no magic number when it comes to how much sleep to get. The amount of sleep each individual needs depends on age, genetics, activity level, and other factors. However, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has found that 7-9 hours of sleep is a good range for most adults.
Sleep is critical for many body functions. This is a brief list of what your body is up to while you are asleep:
Production of immune cells
Muscle and tissue repair
Mitochondrial biogenesis (new mitochondria!)
Liver & brain detoxification
Sleep is amazing in all the ways it helps to support the body. Even with this knowledge, achieving optimum sleep can be easier said than done.
How can you make good sleep happen? The following strategies can be utilized to help improve your sleep.
Sleep Support Tips:
Make Your Bed Sacred: Reserve your bed for sleep and intimate activities only. Avoid using it as a workspace or a dining area. Creating a sleep-conducive environment signals to your brain that it's time to wind down.
Keep It Dark: Make your bedroom as dark as possible to promote melatonin production, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep. Consider investing in blackout curtains and remember to unplug devices emitting light.
Limit Screen Time: Reduce exposure to stimulating screens, especially those emitting blue light, at least two hours before bedtime. Consider wearing blue light blocking glasses or adjusting the settings on your devices to reduce blue light emission.
Morning Sunlight: Expose yourself to bright morning sunlight to synchronize your circadian rhythm. This not only boosts your energy levels during the day but also helps regulate sleep patterns at night.
Stay Active: Incorporate regular physical activity into your daily routine. Exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality but try to complete vigorous workouts earlier in the day to avoid disrupting sleep.
Mindful Eating: Finish eating at least two hours before bedtime to allow your body to digest food properly. Opt for a balanced dinner that includes protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates to support stable blood sugar levels. If you need a bedtime snack, choose a combination of protein and complex carbs.
Consistency: Creating a nightly bedtime routine can help your mind know it is time to switch off before bed. Going to bed at the same time every night is also beneficial to help your body have a healthy circadian rhythm.
(Your circadian rhythm is your internal clock influenced by external cues, especially light and darkness. Imagine it as your body's own daily schedule, helping it know when it's time to be active and alert or when it's time to wind down and rest.)
These tips support sleep hygiene. Sometimes sleep hygiene is accounted for and sleep is still a struggle. In these instances, herbs and various supplements may be supportive.
This list is a sampling of the various sleep support supplements available. Please reach out if you would like help determining which supplement is best for you!
Chaput JP, Dutil C, Sampasa-Kanyinga H. Sleeping hours: what is the ideal number and how does age impact this?. Nat Sci Sleep. 2018;10:421-430. Published 2018 Nov 27. doi:10.2147/NSS.S163071
Falup-Pecurariu C, Diaconu Ș, Țînț D, Falup-Pecurariu O. Neurobiology of sleep (Review). Exp Ther Med. 2021;21(3):272. doi:10.3892/etm.2021.9703