5 Ways to Optimize Your Sleep...Naturally
When was the last time you woke up refreshed and not in need a big bucket of coffee to get going in the morning?
There’s no question that we all want better sleep! But, with all of the distractions, and stresses of daily life - it’s a wonder how any of us sleep at all.
I blame it on today’s culture of “we’ve got to rise and grind!” in order to succeed - where we’re in a constant state of digital stimulation, hustle, and bustle.
Truth is, not getting enough sleep impacts our brain health and memory long term, and even our body’s ability to detoxify and renew itself through cellular turnover and repair.
So, it’s really no wonder that we’re seeing an exponential increase in diseases like obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and autoimmune disorders. In fact, lack of sleep messes with many of our hormones - and you know what happens when our hormones aren’t happy!
Speaking of hormones - did you know that we have 400 times more melatonin (the body’s natural “sleep hormone”) in our gut than in our brains? That’s reason enough to focus on digestive health as part of a healthy sleep routine!
What Happens to Hormones When You Don’t Get Enough ZZZs
Ghrelin, your hunger hormone, increases by 15% after just one night of poor sleep. And, it can also dramatically affect your leptin, the hormone of satiety. It’s no wonder we want to eat a pile of sugar and carbs when we’re tired - we’re looking for a big, fat energy fix!
Chronic sleep deprivation correlates with elevated nighttime cortisol, your stress hormone. When cortisol is elevated, you’re not only hungrier, but you tend to store more visceral fat in the abdominal area, in other words, the dreaded belly fat.
The production of human growth hormone (HGH - dubbed the fountain of youth hormone) is at its peak during the first half of our sleep. This is what’s known as the Delta sleep stage, when we get into our deepest sleep and restoration takes place. It protects muscle from breaking down, aids in building new lean muscle tissue, and gives you energy. This means you’re able to lose weight more efficiently and maintain lean body mass...but only when you sleep well!
5 Ways to Better Your Sleep
KEY NUTRIENTS: Eat a diet rich in both prebiotic and probiotic foods, as the bacteria in your digestive system can interfere with melatonin. Also, eating foods that are high in “sleep nutrients” is essential. For example, potassium helps us stay asleep and can be found in bananas, coconut water, and avocados. Magnesium is a relaxant, and helps us to fall asleep, but 80% of us are believed to be deficient in this multi-tasking mineral.
BALANCED DINNER: Pay special attention to the last meal of the day - a balanced dinner should include an ample amount of protein, vegetables, good fats, and a small amount of “slow, low” complex carbs like sweet potatoes, wild rice, or quinoa.
LIMIT ALCOHOL: Alcohol inhibits deep REM sleep. This is when we dream as well as when our memories get solidified from short- to long-term. Even just one glass of wine can affect REM sleep.
PRACTICE GOOD SLEEP HYGIENE: The environment you create, and the rituals and routines you follow around sleep are what I mean by sleep hygiene. So, an earlier bedtime (by 10pm) + practicing good sleep hygiene = better sleep!
DITCH THE DEVICES! This cannot be overstated and falls into practicing good sleep hygiene. Set a screen curfew for at least an hour before bed. The blue light emitted from our devices lowers melatonin production by up to 50%.
There’s absolutely no question that getting enough quality sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health! It does take some practice, and perhaps a few biological “hacks” to balance your body’s natural circadian rhythm, but a better night’s sleep can be achieved!
Endless Energy Guide
Do you have a list of things you want and need to do, but you can barely muster the energy to care?
These days, are you spending more weekends on the couch than out having fun?
In this guide, I’ll show you what I’ve done to have far more energy than I did in my younger years.
We’ll go over managing your natural energy cycle and some habits you can cultivate to make the most of your energy cycle.
I’ll bet you have Things. To. Do. So, download my guide, and let’s get you a dose of energy so you can go out and do everything you want to do!