Why is sleep important? Because its when the body regenerates itself by secreting growth hormone also know as the “anti-aging” hormone. Growth hormone stimulates tissue regeneration, cleanses the liver, builds muscle, breaks down fat stores and regulates blood sugar. It is also a time for the brain to find and remove free radicals which can slow down aging in the tissue.
Inadequate sleep leads to fatigue, decreased ability to concentrate, muscle tension, poor memory, reduced stress tolerance and irritability.
Here are a few ways to improve the quality of your sleep-
- Establish consistent sleep and wake times.
- Use your bed for sleep and sex only, no TV.
- Keep the room quiet, cool and comfortable.
- Exercise regularly, morning is ideal
- Morning and evening sunlight exposure helps reset the circadian rhythm. UV lights are great for simulating this during the winter months.
- If you wake up between 2-4 a.m. try having a small protein snack before bed to help regulate your blood sugar during the night.
Other Ideas for relaxing the body include-
- Warm bath with Epsom salt
- Meditating helps to fall asleep
- Breathing exercises, inhale for 4 seconds exhale for 6. This activates the Parasympathetic nervous system which is calming.
- Have a cup of calming tea. Chamomile, Valerian, Lavender, or Lemon Balm are great options to promote sleep and relaxation.
- Magnesium supplements help relax muscles and can help with sleep.
Things to avoid-
- Caffeine after 2 p.m.
- B-vitamins late in the day
- Going to bed with a full stomach
If you are still having trouble sleeping it is important to get evaluated. There can be a medical reason that is making it hard for you to sleep. Please call my office or seek a physician in your area to be evaluated. You must have a solid foundation of sleep to build the rest of your health on.
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