By Donna Gates, Hive Advisor
Insufficient sleep plagues 50 million to 70 million Americans today, especially women. Yet, sleeping deeply is fundamental for staying young, healthy, and vibrant. As the years pass, sleep often becomes more elusive. If you are not falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up on time feeling refreshed, you’ll want to change this as soon as possible.
Your brain is very much affected by the quality of your sleep. Research clearly confirms mood, cognition, and memory are negatively affected by sleep deprivation. So the solution is for an adult to sleep within an optimal range of seven to nine hours every night. Napping works for many, and you may feel the need to take rejuvenating catnaps during the day. What’s most important is that your sleep be restful and restorative, with three to five complete sleep cycles that take you from drowsiness, into light sleep, followed by deep and then deeper sleep, and ending in REM.
Most of us look for shortcuts when it comes to sleep. As with weekend-warrior exercise, we think we can “make up” weekday deficits by sleeping in on the weekend. But that’s not how it works. Many people also have caffeine, sugar, and alcohol in the late afternoon/early evening, further complicating their sleep issues.
Another mistake we often make is using the computer or watching television late at night. Light interferes with the production of melatonin, an important hormone related to sleep, so working late into the night, especially on the computer, or watching late-night TV might be cutting off years from your life.
If you’re having sleep trouble, it is crucial to reset your circadian rhythm or internal clock. Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time. Get up early and start to move. Exercising in the morning light will help you sleep better that night. In the spring, summer, and fall, sunbathe midday for 20 to 30 minutes.
Since growth hormone is produced during the initial onset of nightly sleep. Go to bed early, and you’ll not only become “healthy, wealthy, and wise,” you’ll also look and feel younger. Smaller pulses of growth hormone are also released later in your sleep cycle, so if you only sleep for five hours, you won’t obtain enough of this rejuvenating hormone.
Make sure your last meal of the day contains a calming grain-like seed. Examples are quinoa, millet, buckwheat, and amaranth. They help create serotonin, which then turns into melatonin.
As bedtime approaches, begin to celebrate the ritual of sleep. Take a hot bath and create a “sleep sanctuary,” with soft organic bedding, candles, soothing incense or aromatherapy, and relaxing music.
Ensure that your sleep is restorative. A really great night’s rest is an investment in your anti-aging bank account!
This article was reprinted with permission from the author.