All through the month of May we talked about the topic of Sleep. I think it is so misunderstood and not respected as the essential nutrient that it really is. So I wanted to recap the month and give you guys some of the pointers and tips we talked about through the month to help your sleep experience.
Benefits of Sleep
1. Immunity Boost: One of the biggest benefits of the proper amount of sleep is that it helps your body heal efficiently and correctly. One hormone that is elevated with you are sleep deprived is Cortisol. When Cortisol gets out of control, it increases your stress response in your body and that will decrease your immune system and increase your chances at getting sick and your body shutting down. So if you are feeling like you just can’t get over the top of your sickness, then get some more sleep!
2. Weight Loss: Studies have shown that weight gain is directly related to lack of sleep. Your body does not produce enough of the hormones like Leptin that help keep your food cravings down when you do not get enough sleep. There’s a good article HERE on the benefits of sleep on workouts and weight loss, so check it out.
3. Improved Memory: Proper amounts of sleep help with both short term and long term memory. The more stressed your system gets, the lower your memory goes.
4. Less Chronic Pain: WebMD itself has studies that show that having enough sleep raises your pain threshold and helps you to have less pain in your body.
5. Increased Sex Drive: As a married couple, who doesn’t want more and better sex?! Right?? Well, the more sleep you lose, the more you increase hormones that for men will reduce libido and for women will decrease sexual satisfaction. So make sure and get enough!
Things That Can Affect Sleep
1. Stress: This is probably the number one thing that will get in the way of you getting good sleep. Stress levels directly increase Cortisol levels, the hormone we talked about earlier. Stress also fires your right brain, which is your sympathetic nervous system, also known as your “Fight or Flight” system. If you don’t handle your stress during the day, then your body doesn’t know the difference between you being attacked by a tiger or not. So at the end of the night with all of this rolling through your mind, you can’t “turn it off” and hence, problems going to and staying asleep.
2. Blood Sugar: Blood sugar balance has a huge affect on energy levels during the day, but at night, the balance can determine whether or not you STAY asleep. What happens is if your blood sugar is not staying stable at night, it will automatically spike on it’s own around 2-4 AM. This spike blood sugar will fire your adrenal glands (there they are again!) and BAM, you wake up and can’t go back to sleep.
3. Bad Bed or Pillow: Seeing as though sleep is something you do longer than pretty much anything else at a time, having a horrible mattress or pillow isn’t doing you any favors. For pregnant women or adults with postural issues, a properly supportive mattress is vital. Lack of support from your mattress can create pressure points, pain, lack of circulation and radiating pain in your extremities which will cause you to wake up in the middle of the night or at best toss and turn all night and only give you fitful sleep.
Things That HELP You Sleep Better
1. Essential Oils: Young Living Essential Oils are the top in the essential oil industry. With an unmatched quality control, they have some incredible helps for sleep issues (If you are not familiar with Essential Oils or are interested in ordering them, go HERE):
Sleep Essence: formulated for sleep, this product helps you build up your natural reserves of Melatonin, your body’s sleep hormone
EndoFlex Oil: this oils supports the Thyroid and Adrenal Glands to reduce the amount of cortisol in your system and hence, stress.
Valor Oil: On the feet at night, this oil is very emotionally and structurally stabilizing and can help with counting sheep.
Cedarwood Oil: One of the highest oils in Sesqueterpines, this oil is very calming, and helps to get rid of the stress of the day by wiping clean the receptors in your nervous system. It also adds tons of oxygen to your cells so that they have proper circulation. This is a favorite of ours in the diffuser for our kids at night.
Lavender Oil: An age old favorite for calming and relaxation, this oil helps to reduce stress and turn that record off in your brain to get you to go to sleep easier.
2. Exercise: The link between exercise and sleep goes both ways. Sleep can help you achieve greater results with your fitness, but being physically active reduces stress hormones in the body and can help you rest and relax better.
3. Journalling: One of my all-time favorite methods to shut off your over-active brain and get the thoughts out of your head….this really does help. I’ll write a post on how to do it later.
4. A Good Bed: We’ve looked high and low for the best bed and we really have found it in Intellibed. Go to their website HERE and check out all their research on sleep and beds and how their bed is so different.
I hope this helps! Remember, change what you can, adapt to the rest, and then DON’T STRESS ABOUT IT! It won’t do you any good and will mess up your sleep anyway!