Sleep is one of the main pillars of our health. We have to make sure we eat right, exercise enough, but at the end of the day, it is crucial, that we get enough rest to let our bodies recover.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine states at least 30% of adults suffer from insomnia. Sleep deprivation has been linked to serious consequences from mental health disorders to cardiovascular disease.
Deep sleep is important for transferring memories into long-term storage, is also the time of peak growth hormone release in the body, which is important for cell reproduction and repair. The reasons for waking up and staying up during the night vary from person to person, for young and middle-aged adults, it’s usually anxiety. For older adults, it can also include physical body pain.
Here are 8 tips to help you get enough sleep:
1. Be consistent: Keep a steady bed and wake-up time - honour your bodily mechanisms that regulate sleep–the Circadian Rhythm and Sleep-Wake Homeostasis
2. Start a ritual: Take a warm shower or bath. When you get out from under the cold water, the air around you will cool your core, which sends a chemical reflex to the brain that induces sleep.
3. Tech-Free: avoid any blue light (i.e. TVs and phones). The blue light given off by screens affects levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin more than any other wavelength. Try to turn all devices off a couple of hours before bedtime to give your brain a rest from the blue light.
4. Keep the room cool: Your body temperature needs to drop to induce sleep. Find a comfortable sleep temperature setting and keep the room well ventilated. Studies have found cracking a window open can aid in getting better sleep.
5. Reserve your bed for sleep and sex, avoiding its use for work or general recreation. It might be easy to answer emails from bed, but leave work out of the bedroom.
6. Eat right: Consider a smaller, whole foods-based dinner. Typically, fattier meals are harder to digest. Avoid heavy, spicy or sugary foods in the hours before bedtime. Sleep experts agree you should avoid excessive alcohol ingestion and tobacco use at least four hours before bedtime.
7. Create a caffeine cut-off time: Depending on your bedtime, it’s best to know the exact time to stop caffeine use. World Sleep Society recommends avoiding caffeine six hours or more before bedtime. Keep in mind caffeine isn’t just in coffee.
8. Magnesium works miracles: It’s estimated that somewhere around 45 percent of us (and maybe as much as 80%) don’t get enough magnesium in our diets. Magnesium deficiency can lead to fatigue, excess stress, low energy, muscle and fascia tension, spasms and cramps, anxiousness and nervousness and…the inability to sleep. Getting enough magnesium is key, especially if you’re stressed and having trouble sleeping and restoring your system.