Sleep. Those of you who follow my radio show and Facebook page will not be surprised to see me writing about the importance of sleep for health. Sleep can either make or break your health. Good quality sleep is the best friend your health can have. Conversely, poor quality sleep can be your health’s worst nightmare, pun intended!
Sleep is the time when your body repairs. Ok, simple enough. But what does that really mean?
It’s easy to take for granted the brilliance of the human body and it’s ability to repair itself. But hear me when I say, your body has the ability to prevent, protect, and repair itself from daily damage that can lead to disease. Add in a good diet and you have the best defense system available to you. But what happens when you aren’t getting the amount and quality of sleep needed for optimal health?
Chronic sleep depravation due to the lack of either enough or good quality sleep usually up-regulates the hormone cortisol, which over time can lead to insulin resistance, weight gain, thyroid disorder, hormonal imbalances, cellular damage, brain fog – all of which can lead to more serious disease, advanced aging, and bodily break down.
If you are not feeling rested when you wake up in the morning and if you find yourself needing morning and afternoon “pick-me-ups,” then you are probably getting neither the right amount nor the correct quality of sleep.
Unfortunately, those “pick-me-ups” create a vicious cycle that leads to more poor quality sleep. Caffeine, sugar, rich foods, alcohol, lack of exercise, over-stimulating exercise too late in the evening, or getting to bed past 10 p.m. are all lifestyle habits that contribute to poor quality sleep.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to make your sleep a main priority. Build your lifestyle habits around getting healthy sleep. Here are my healthy sleep lifestyle suggestions:
Exercise intensely earlier in the day
avoid caffeine and sugar after noon daily
avoid toxic chemicals and alcohol in your diet as much as possible
eat foods containing tryptophan, such as turkey, dairy, nuts, etc.
avoid excessive exercise later in the day
sleep by 10pm
engage in calming activities before bed such as a hot bath with lavender salts, meditation, sleepy tea, dim lights
make room completely dark for sleeping. Lights can block production of melatonin
supplement with magnesium, GABA, 5htp, and inositol, as guided by your health care professional.
make sure environment is not too stuffy, fresh air good for sleeping
What sleep habits have you learned to help you get better quality sleep? Stop on over to my Facebook page and let us know. Facebook.com/muffintopmakeover