Sleep. It's such a wonderful thing. It's also something that many of us don't get enough of.
Remember back to when you were a child and absolutely hated taking naps or going to bed early?
Some days, I'd give anything to be told to take a nap - I would welcome it with open arms!
Did you know that approximately 40% of Americans reported getting only 6 hours of sleep or LESS per night?
We all know that sleep is important, but just how important is it for our overall health?
Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental and physical health, quality of life and safety.
The way you feel while you're awake depends in part on what happens while you're sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development.
HEART HEALTH - Sleep is involved in healing and repairing your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.
OBESITY - Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). When you don't get enough sleep, your level of ghrelin goes up and your level of leptin goes down. This makes you feel hungrier than when you're well-rested. When you are tired, you are more likely to reach for fast food instead of taking the time to cook a healthy meal and are even more likely to indulge in bigger portions leading to weight gain over time.
DIABETES - Sleep also affects how your body reacts to insulin, the hormone that controls your blood glucose (sugar) level. Sleep deficiency results in a higher than normal blood sugar level, which may increase your risk for diabetes.
IMMUNE FUNCTION - Your immune system relies heavily on sleep to stay healthy. This system defends your body against foreign or harmful substances. Ongoing sleep deficiency can change the way in which your immune system responds. For example, if you're sleep deficient, your body has a tougher time fighting off viruses making you more susceptible to illness. (Find out more about boosting your immune system, here.)
Not only does sleep deprivation have serious consequences on your OWN body, but it can pose a risk for others as well. How, you say? Have you ever heard a news story where a driver fell asleep at the wheel causing a (sometimes) fatal car crash?
A poor night's sleep causes less productivity at work or school and sleep deprived individuals take longer to finish tasks, have a slower reaction time and make more mistakes.
We've all had days when we've had a horrible nights sleep...that pain in your leg kept you up, your kids were up sick, your mind was racing through your to-do list, your neighbors decided to have a midnight party, etc. Whatever the reason, we've all been there at some point, but hopefully it's not an everyday occurance.
So, how can we ensure a good night's sleep? Here are some tips to get you started:
Keep a regular sleep/wake schedule
Don’t drink or eat caffeine four to six hours before bed and minimize daytime use
Don’t smoke, especially near bedtime or if you awake at night
Avoid alcohol and heavy meals before sleep
Get REGULAR exercise
Minimize noise, light and excessive hot and cold temperatures where you sleep
Develop a regular bed time and go to bed at the same time each night
Try and wake up without an alarm clock
- Write down your to-do list BEFORE bed and leave it for tomorrow
- Avoid taking a sleeping pill as this will interfere with your regular sleep cycle
- Unplug from electronic devices and TV at least an hour before you plan to be asleep
Nowadays, the use of our phones and TV in the bedroom have become second nature. What we don't realize is that the blue light emitted from the television or our smartphone is sending a signal to our brain to stay awake - just when we are trying to wind down. I know it's a hard habit to break, but try getting rid of any extra light in your room (this includes TV, phone, tablet, alarm clock, night lights, etc.) for a week and see if you begin sleeping better.
Now that Daylight Savings time is in full swing and our days are getting longer, it's important to maintain your usual bedtime. I know, I know...it's hard to go to sleep when it's still light out. Solution? Invest in some room darkening curtains/shades and continue with your routine. Your health depends on it!
Establishing a nighttime routine is not just for kids. Adults can benefit from the same nighttime routine each night to help unwind and get the mind ready for sleep. You're probably wondering what kind of routine works best. This will vary from person to person, but things like reading a book, brushing your teeth, listening to soft music, meditating/saying prayers, deep breathing, etc. Coming up with what works for you is key.
When you are desperate for sleep, anything is worth trying! Once you are able to log a good night's sleep, you will begin to feel better, your mind will be clear, you will have more energy, you will make healthier food choices and your immune system will be able to do its job and protect you from illness.
Another thing that will help you throughout the day is a cup (or two) of our Oolong tea! Along with a good night's rest, it will aid in boosting your energy, building up your immune system and keeping away the brain fog that clutters your mind. Making this a daily part of your routine will leave you feeling fantastic - better than ever!
And here’s a REALLY cool thing. You’ll get BETTER sleep if you flush toxins from your body! That’s right – a detoxified body helps you get more natural, restful sleep! The EASIEST way I know to flush toxins from your body is to drink our Wu-Long & SlimTea. It helps flush toxins from your insides… and even helps cleanse your skin to fight acne!
Have you been having a difficult time sleeping and logging your 8 hours each night? If so, what are the solutions you've found that help you?
Sleep well and sweet dreams! :-)
Yours in Health & Happiness,