Deep Sleep and Why It’s Important
Lack of sleep can lead to many health problems such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, and more. Chronically short sleep can shorten your lifespan, so if you “wait until you’re dead to sleep,” you could be dead sooner! Sleep is necessary for good health and is one of the most powerful performance enhancers we have at our disposal.
There doesn’t seem to be one major organ within the body or process within the brain that doesn’t benefit from sleep (and detrimentally impaired when we don’t get enough). The benefits of sound sleep include enhanced creativity, better concentration, lower blood pressure, improved mood regulation, higher immunity, and faster weight loss.
How Much Sleep Do I Need?
The amount of required sleep varies from person to person, but research shows that most people need 7–9 hours per night for optimal health. Seven hours is the clear minimum amount required for normal brain and immune function. A single night of five hours or less of sleep can impair natural killer immune cells (the ones that attack cancer) activity by 70%!
Stick to a sleep schedule.
Create a familiar routine for your brain by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
Keep your bedroom temperature cool.
65°F is optimal for keeping your body cool when sleeping. A nightly core body temperature decrease signals the pineal gland to release melatonin, which aids in sleep.
Control blue light exposure.
Dim the lights an hour before bedtime, activate night shift mode on your electronic devices and use blue blocker glasses. Light is the primary determinant of our circadian rhythm and sleep/wake cycle. Controlling exposure to blue light at night is a powerful way to regulate sleep.
Use blackout curtains and sleep masks.
To reduce light disturbances while sleeping.
Use earplugs and a white noise machine
To reduce noise disturbances while sleeping.
Avoid caffeine after 12 PM.
Consuming stimulants in the afternoon can disrupt your sleep at night.
Avoid using alcohol as a sedative.
Sedation blocks your REM cycle, keeping you in the lighter stages of sleep.
Take a hot bath or shower before bed.
A hot bath, taken 90 minutes before bed, stimulates the body’s thermoregulatory system. This helps blood circulate from the internal core to the hands and feet.
Perform diaphragmatic (belly) breathing.
To activate your parasympathetic nervous system before bed.
Avoid large meals and beverages late at night.
A light snack before bed is okay, but a heavy meal can cause digestive issues that interfere with sleep. Additionally, drinking too many fluids can cause frequent awakenings to urinate.
When possible, block off an hour before bed to relax and unwind mentally. Checking emails and responding to work demands before bed can sometimes trigger an undesired fight or flight response.
Sleep Aid Supplements
• Vitamin D3 – 4,000 IU per day taken first thing in the morning
• L-Theanine – 200 mg taken in the morning when drinking coffee and 200 mg before bed
• Magnesium – 400 mg per day of magnesium glycinate taken before bed
• Zinc – 20 mg per day taken before bed
• Melatonin – Microdose with 0.1–0.5 mg taken before bed.
Minimal amounts of melatonin are sufficient to increase circulating melatonin to levels within the normal nocturnal physiologic range. Lower doses are often more sedating than higher doses without side effects.
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