Over the past few weeks we have delved into the topic of sleep, firstly why you need your beauty sleep, how chronic poor sleep quality is associated with increased signs of intrinsic ageing, diminished skin barrier function and a lower self satisfaction with appearance - Sleeping Beauty. Next up we looked at the external factors which can effect our ability to sleep for example the gadgets we use along with how our Hormones can make an impact on sleep quality What is Effecting your ability to sleep...? lastly we discovered how our food (and drink) choices can effect our sleep Eating for Better Sleep. In this weeks blog post we can pull all this information together and design a sleep routine to give ourselves the opportunity to get 7-9 hours sleep, the holy grail our bodies crave.
Where to start...?
MINDSET: You need to change it, sleep and getting enough is absolutely essential for your mental health, physical health and your ability to be a productive member of society. Lack of sleep increases your risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, obesity, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. For me lack of sleep lead to complete burnout, I could not function anymore. Developing Adrenal Fatigue, Glandual Feaver and an eventual diagnosis of 'Chronic Fatigue Syndrome'. CFS is like a Credit Card in arrears, this sleep debt will continue to accumulate. You cannot hide from it. The debt will roll over into the next re-payment cycle, and the next, and the next, each cycle racking up more and more interest onto if the original debt, producing a condition of prolonged, chronic sleep deprivation from one day to another. This outstanding sleep obligation results in a feeling of chronic fatigue, manifesting in many forms of mental and physical ailments that are now rife throughout industrialized nations.
Mental Health - While we sleep ‘brain maintenance’ takes place, our body gets rid or toxins (that are by-products ) including proteins which are associated with Alzheimers Disease. Plaques form when protein pieces called beta-amyloid clump together. Beta-amyloid comes from a larger protein found in the fatty membrane surrounding nerve cells.
An experiment in the UK tested the effects of sleep deprivation and a group of 30 women. Their skin was analysed and photographed after they slept six hours for five nights in a row. Fine lines and wrinkles increased by 45%, blemishes went up by 13% and redness increased by 8%.
Building your routine
Only you have the power to change your life so why don't you? If I can, so can YOU! Incorporate these small changes into your routine and over time you will notice an improvement - guareeted!
Keep to a regular sleep schedule - Try to go to bed and get up in the morning at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps to regulate your body's internal clock and could improve your chances of getting a sound sleep.
Stop your use of caffeine and other stimulants that can affect your sleep -Caffeine, which is found not just in coffee but in tea, chocolate, cola and even some pain relievers, is a stimulant. But stop drinking or eating caffeine about four to six hours before bedtime.
Eating for sleep - Last weeks blog covered this topic read here, a good rule of thumb is no food after 7pm— this allows your digestive system to take a much-deserved rest. Your stomach takes several hours to empty. A dinner or snack after 7pm likely doesn't have time to make it through the system before you fall asleep. An excellent evening meal I find is a already pre-digested one. What? -t hat sounds terrible!! this simply means a stew or soup that has been cooked slowly. A soup with a home made bone broth as a base is perfect.
Sipping a cup of Broth - Bone broth is the perfect night-time sleep elixir, there are several ways in which bone broth can benefit our sleep. Magnesium, which is found in bone broth, is known as the relaxation mineral. Magnesium is required for over 300 enzymatic processes in the body. Some of its major functions include synthesizing proteins, transmitting nerve signals, and relaxing the muscles. All of these functions can help improve our ability to drift off to sleep and quality. Glycine an amino acid which is prevalent in bone broth, is a neurotransmitter possessing unique properties. Glycine operates through two different receptors, engaging in several functions in the central nervous system. Glycine has long been known as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brainstem and spinal cord. It’s the primary neurotransmitter that inhibits sleep cycle motor neurons during active sleep. Glycine elevates cutaneous blood flow, resulting in heat loss and deeper sleep. Click here for a broth recipe.
Exercise - but do it early - Harvard's sleep experts say that getting a good workout will help you sleep more soundly, but not if you do it right before bedtime. That's because exercise stimulates the body to release the stress hormone cortisol, which makes you more alert. To avoid that effect, excursive in the morning or in your lunch break but plan to leave at least a three-hours between exercising and bedtime.
Turn off the gadgets - Your iPad, laptop, mobile phone or TV set may be helping to keep you up at night. Too much exposure to light stimulates a nerve pathway from the eye to parts of the brain that control hormones, body temperature and other functions that can make you feel wide awake.
Keep the temperature cool - Sleep experts agree that a cool room, approximately 18 degrees Celsius (65 degrees Fahrenheit) is best for sleep and make sure the room is well-ventilated, but with curtains that are heavy enough to block outside light.
Tune out the noise - Whether it's rain on your colour bond (tin roof) or your neighbor's barking dog, little noises can disturb your attempts to doze off. Try using ear plugs, or else use a fan, air conditioner, or a special white-noise generator (there are Apps!) to drown out the sleep disturbing noises.
Try a pillow between your legs - Back pain sometimes can disrupt a person's sleep. A pillow tucked between your legs will give you a better alignment of the hips and reduced stress on your lower back while you're asleep.
Relax before bedtime - Develop the habit of taking a warm bath, reading a book, or doing some other relaxing activity before bedtime. Avoid stimulating activities such as catching up on email or discussing emotional issues with your partner, family members or friends. Harvard's experts suggest: "If you tend to take your problems to bed, try writing them down- and then putting them aside."
- Drink a calming tea - Chamomile, lavender and Valerian Root teas are each particularly good for their relaxation and sedative effects
- Drink a cup of Broth - The large amounts of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus in broth helps bones grow, strengthen and repair. Research has shown that consuming gelatin before bed helps induce sleep because of the amino acid glycine.
- Take a bath - Add Epsom salt for the calming effects of magnesium know as the relaxation mineral
- Journaling - Try writing in a journal, focusing specifically on positive events. According to research this may help you sleep longer and better. Stressing or worrying at bedtime can stop your body from winding down. Positive journaling can redirect your mind. Journaling regularly can become a soothing part of your bedtime routine and could help you fall asleep more easily.
- Turn off WiFi - Studies have shown that exposure to EMF radiation from WiFi networks can significantly affect sleep patterns, and long-term exposure could lead to further problems associated with lack of sleep, including hypertension and depression
- Use a Diffuser // Vaporiser these are an excellent way to diffuse essential oils into the atmosphere to scent a room helping your drift off to sleep - naturally. Try frankincense, lavender, bergamot, sandalwood, and or mandarin, these can be combined to create a synergistic sleep-inducing blend or used alone depending on your personal aroma preference
- Relaxation App - Yes there's an App for that! To help you unwind and relax or listen to a guided meditation, but remember to turn off your wifi and switch your mobile on to Aeroplane mode after!
- Aeroplane Mode - Switch your Mobile Phone onto Aeroplane Mode to stop it from emitting and receiving any radio emissions—which are technically (very, very) low levels of radiation.
- Flower Essences and or Sleeping supplements - Now is the time to take your Magnesium supplement and a few drops of flower essences.
- Use a sleeping eye mask - Can be especially useful in summer or when travelling
Wake up naturally if at all possible - Try to get up when the sun rises, or else use bright lights in the morning. This can help reset your body's internal body clock, so that you'll feel tired at the right time for sleep later that night.
Until next time..
be human | be kind | be you
- BOOK: The Sleep Revolution - Transforming your life one night at a time, Arianna Huffington (2016)
- BOOK: Walker, Matthew. Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams. Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.
Dangers of Wi-Fi