Sleep Essentials From A-Zzz (Part II)

Creating sleep habits and routines to help achieve a quality night’s sleep is vital to your well-being. With these simple tips and facts, you can be on your way to feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the world!

K- Keep a bedtime routine; that way, your body can naturally adjust and create a stable internal routine.

L- Lighting can prevent the release of natural melatonin levels, which in turn can make it difficult to fall or stay asleep.

M- Melatonin is a hormone that is part of the human wake-sleep cycles. The body produces it in the Pineal Gland located in the brain. If sleep-depreviation sets in, melatonin can be purchased as a dietary supplement to increase levels to invite sleep.

N- Napping can improve productivity and recharge your brain. Just a few minutes of rest can significantly provide your body with the energy and brain-power so many of us turn to energy drinks for.

O- Over-sleeping can do more harm than good to the body. Studies have found that getting too much shut-eye can leave your body in a groggy state, and can have similar effects to not getting enough rest.

P- Pillows were designed to keep your spine straight and your head in an elevated, neutral position.

Q- Quality sleep can be achieved through changing behavioral habits and creating a healthier lifestyle through fitness and nutrition.

R- Replacing your mattress is crucial to your immune system. As years pass, your mattress doubles in weight from dead skin cells, dust mites and much more.

S- Sleep walking can pose great risks to you and others in your household, and can be linked to REM Sleep Behavior Disorder.

T- The temperature of your room can have a lot more to do with your quality of sleep than you think. During sleep, your brain sets a target-temperature, and if conditions fall too far below it can lead to restlessness.

U- Unforgiving nightmares are caused by an over-arrousal of the central nervous system. In adults, night terrors have been linked to increased stress levels.

V- Valerian is a natural, herbal sleep aide that has been used for centuries.

W- Wake up feeling rested and ready to face another productive day by making time for a quick AM workout. Your body will adjust to the early-morning routine and will naturally begin to prepare for activity before you even awake.

X- Cut out Xylitols and any other type of sugary, caffeinated substance before bed, as it stimulates and interrupts natural sleep patterns.

Y- Yawning stretches the jaw and increases blood flow in the neck, face and head. Cool air is breathed into the mouth and cools fluids, acting like a radiator, removing hot blood from the brain and introduces cool air.

Z- Zits and stubborn acne can take over your face due to lack of sleep. It causes your body to releases hormones that create proteins that cause inflammation of the skin. Sleep is the body’s repair time or lack-there-of.

So now that we have reached the end of our “A-Zzz”, hopefully these tips and facts have given you enough guidance to create better sleep habits, and you are able put your best foot forward daily.

 

Sleeping Under the Stars

As summer comes to an end, and the temperatures become bearable again, now is the perfect time for a little weekend get-a-way for some peace and quiet. You might find that straying from the city lights, and venturing off to a serene place under the starlit sky may be your destination.

Heading out to an environment without clocks, deadlines, chores, and electronics is good for one’s peace of mind, and also gives you a chance to re-calibrate your sleeping patterns that have been tossed around in the midst of the work-week sea.

Being chained to your desk and excessive urgency for electronic gadgets throughout the week are guilty as charged for your lack of sleep. The byproducts of sleep deprivation and daily stresses can result in serious health problems, decrease in production levels, and destruction of  your internal clock.

Research suggests our circadian rhythms have been a mess ever since electric lighting was introduced in the 1930’s. The comforts of modern living and technology disrupt the brains circadian rhythms (your internal clock) and abbreviate the release of natural melatonin, which explains why so many of us have a hard time falling asleep and feeling like going right back to bed as soon as we wake.

The key to resetting your body’s clock is spending some time outdoors with natural lighting. Think about it, the sun goes down, the campfire comes out, a few hours later, your body takes a shift and a new sleeping pattern has been invited. The sun comes out, and you are up preparing for the day, enjoying as much sunlight as possible until sunset. After we have been exposed to these natural cues, melatonin levels are able to rise and fall, suggesting that our brain starts to promote wakefulness or sleepiness. A quiet, countryside mini-cation may be long overdue, it’s time to disconnect from you gadgets so you can experience tranquility and restoration. Just try your best not to “tweet” about it.

 

 

 

The Chemistry Behind Sleep

We all have had those tossing, turning, exhausting nights that last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. If you struggle with any type of sleep disorder you are fully aware of the negative affects it may have on your productivity and performanc in life as well as your health.

When sleep is interrupted it could be a number of things, but before you turn to a “magic” pill that promises you a rejuvenating nights rest, make sure your “biological clock” is being maintained.

A key factor in how human sleep is regulated is based on circadian rhythms which should be viewed as the master clock that controls the sleep-wake cycle. It is set by visual commands of light and darkness. Exposure to light stimulates a nerve pathway to the circadian clock (Suprachiasmatic Nucleus) that tells other parts of the brain that controls hormones, body temperature and other functions that make us feel sleepy or awake.
A major hormone that is under rule by this clock is Melatonin which is a natural hormone your body produces in the Pineal Gland located in the brain.

Melatonin levels rise in the mid to late evening, making sleep more inviting. This hormone is called the “Dracula of Hormones” only coming out at night, or in dark where natural light and some artificial light can be bright enough to prevent the release of melatonin making it difficult to fall or stay asleep.

Because Melatonin is a hormone that is part of the human wake-sleep cycles, some individuals with sleep deprivation find that taking a small dose in a pill form has helped them fall asleep or stay asleep longer. Some studies also show a decrease in the time it takes to fall asleep and reduce the amount of awakenings throughout the night.

Melatonin may be helpful to shift workers on an irregular shift who need to adjust their sleeping patterns, as well as jet lag. When traveling across time zones, your body has a hard time adjusting to “home time” and the new time. Jet lag is a physical condition that can make you feel hungry, sleepy and alert all at the wrong times and is caused by a disturbance of our “master clock” (circadian rhythms) associated with sleep deprivation. For this dietary supplement to be helpful, the correct dosage, method and time of day it is taken must be appropriate. Taking it the “wrong” way may reset your biological clock in an undesirable direction.

If you suffer from any of these exhausting symptoms, there’s hope without having to turn to a prescription. You can find this natural dietary supplement in your local health food store and you can finally be on your way to the restorative nights sleep you have been dreaming of.