Simple Strategies For Improving Sleep

 

Sleep, we all love it and yet most of us don’t get enough of it!

Why is it that many Americans can’t find enough zzz’s to satisfy their focus and energy, let alone their ideal body fat? That’s right body fat has more to do with your sleep than you might think. . .

In this blog, we’ll review the basic science of sleep, how it impacts your body, and what you can do to get better sleep. I once thought that if my eyes were closed and I drifted off to sleep than I was getting the essential rest my body needs to perform it’s best. I couldn’t have been more wrong. As the National Sleep Organization points out:

“Your brain is truly on overdrive during sleep, as it is working to clear itself of toxic byproducts that naturally accumulate throughout the day. Many neurological diseases are associated with a lack of sleep, perhaps because when you don’t get your zzz’s, your brain doesn’t have this chance to cleanse itself.”- National Sleep Foundation

 

Did you know? Your body passes through 4 stages of sleep before it enters REM, which stands for rapid eye movement. Through the night your body will in which it bounces between the various stages of sleep-promoting powerful functions like:

 

  • Body Temperature cooling (Your body can cool itself as much as 10% to conserve energy)
  • Muscle Repair (releases growth hormones to rebuild muscles and joints)
  • Reduces Heart Rate (your heart beats faster during the day and highest during exercise)
  • Tissues Regeneration (heals and mends broken tendons and ligaments)

 

Now that you know the primary function of sleep and several benefits, let’s review a few ways to get more quality sleep!

 

  1. Blackout shades- Artificial light has been proven to reduce melatonin levels which is essential for restorative sleep. http://www.amazon.com/Quick-Blackout-Pleated-Paper-Shade/dp/B000SDROMG
  2. Hydration- Too much water before bed can cause unwanted bathroom interruptions. Monitor your water intake throughout the day using a blender bottle. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MVMCUK8/ref=ice_ac_a_t_dpn?ie=UTF8&qid=1464048251&sr=8-1-ac&keywords=blender+bottle
  3. Animals out of the room- We love our furry friends, but they can increase body temperature when in contact with the skin, walk on you when you’re sleeping, and create noise that leads to disrupted sleep.
  4. Temperature controls- Controlling your air temperatures with a smart programmable thermometer can help you cool your body temperature to the right levels for ideal sleep throughout the night. http://www.amazon.com/Nest-Learning-Thermostat-Generation-Works/dp/B0131RG6VK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1464048366&sr=8-1&keywords=nest
  5. Set bedtime- Studies show regular sleep patterns increase athletic performance.
  6. Remove electronics- Electronics disrupt our natural sleep cycles through exposure to light that tricks our brains to think it’s time to be alert. Try using apple’s night shift option to help reduce blue light exposure- http://www.apple.com/ios/updates/
  7. Avoid eating two hours before bed- Studies show that eating a large amount of calories can alter hunger hormones and trigger the body for activity.

 

References

How Sleep Works. Sleep Science, National Sleep Foundation. Retrieved from https://sleep.org/articles/how-sleep-works/

Smith R, Sports, Sleep, and Circadian Rhythms Circadian Rhythms and enhanced Athletic performance in the National Football League, Sleep, 1997 American Sleep Disorders Association and Sleep Research Society.