Snooze it or lose it!
Sleep – Are you prioritizing the best quality and ideal amount for your lifestyle, stressors, goals, age, activity, and current health status?
Getting restorative, quality sleep is a critical part of health and longevity, and your body needs appropriate rest each night for a variety of reasons, including (but not limited to):
➡ Strengthening the immune system
➡ Maintaining cognitive health
➡ Repairing damaged tissues
➡ Rebounding from illness
➡ Recovering from injuries
➡ Balancing hormones
➡ Optimizing digestion
➡ Detoxing effectively
Aside from the above list of benefits and vital processes listed above, generally speaking, being awake is catabolic (breaking down) and sleep is anabolic (building up). Sleep heightens the growth and rejuvenation of your immune, skeletal, and muscular systems.
Basically, sleep rebuilds you and keeps you youthful.
Below are our top tips for ensuring you get restful, quality sleep each night, so you can live your days to the fullest!
Getting more sunlight during the day can help you sleep better at night. Your body’s sleep cycle, or “circadian rhythm,” is a built-in, 24-hour clock that is regulated by your brain, specifically your hypothalamus. It’s the master conductor that controls your body’s hunger, thirst, fatigue, body temperature, and sleep cycles. Natural light signals your hypothalamus and all corresponding organs and glands to be alert and “wake up.” That light exposure, specifically sunlight exposure, triggers your body to produce optimal levels of hormones. Too little light exposure during the day, and too much (fake) light exposure in the evening will negatively impact your ability to sleep well at night, by downregulating a powerful antioxidant hormone, melatonin (often referred to as the sleep hormone).
Pro Tip: Each morning, preferably within a couple of hours of waking, expose your eyes, ears, skin, or entire body to as much natural sunlight or blue light as possible (aim for 10-20 min). Each night, eliminate as much artificial light exposure as you can by wearing blue-light-blocking glasses, limiting screen time, and/or installing blue-light-blocking software on your electronic devices.
Thermoregulation (your body’s ability to maintain its core internal temp) dramatically influences your sleep cycles. When it’s time for your body to rest, there is a programmed drop in your core body temperature to help initiate sleep. If the temperature in your environment stays too high, then it can be more difficult for your body to get into the ideal state for restful sleep. Studies have found that the ideal room temperature for sleep is between 65-68°F (unique to each person).
Pro Tip: If you have trouble falling asleep, try taking a warm bath or shower an hour or two before hitting the hay. The increase in your core temperature from the bath will fall accordingly and level out a little cooler right around the time you crawl into bed. Additionally, because blood flow is the primary method of distributing heat throughout the body, poor circulation can make restful sleep more challenging in a cooler environment, and wearing a pair of warm socks to bed is often a solution.
Daily gratitude has been proven to make you healthier and happier. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and report feeling healthier than other people. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from anxiety and frustration to depression and regret. Writing in a gratitude journal has also been shown to both strengthen the immune system and help you sleep better and longer.
Pro Tip: Keep a gratitude journal by your bed and simply list three to five things that you are grateful for each day. It could be big things, it could be small things. Just the act of paying attention and writing them down to end your day will make you more receptive to all of the good things that we often take for granted.
Having light sources of any type in your bedroom can disrupt your sleep. While your eyes are closed to the light, your skin also has photoreceptors (similar to the ones in your eyes), so even using an eye mask isn’t fully effective. If there’s light in your bedroom, it’s likely interfering with your sleep quality. Sleep experts suggest that your room be so dark that you can’t see your hand in front of your face.
Pro Tip: Invest in black-out curtains, and remove or swap out any electronics that put out a constant beam of light (clocks, buttons, sensors, etc.). More and more companies are becoming aware of the public demand for this and creating electronics with the capability to fully dim lights or displays. When traveling, bring along a small roll of black electrical tape to cover unavoidable small lights on screens, night lights, clocks, etc.
Humans are creatures of habit and habitat. Having a wind-down routine can be a powerful way to get into rest mode. Try creating a checklist for your evening to help you create a familiar pattern, and prioritize preparing for a great night of sleep!
☑ A consistent sleep schedule (7-9 hours per night)
☑ Amber tinted blue-blocking eyewear (at least 60 min before bed)
☑ Gentle movement (stretching or restorative yoga)
☑ Thermostat between 65-68°F
☑ Gratitude journaling
Once your head hits the pillow, set your intention for a great night of restorative sleep!
Ready to take your sleep routine and regenerative rest to the next level? Seek advisement with our specialists, and let us guide you with the most effective practices for your unique needs! We offer a wellness-focused & supportive environment that can help you achieve your goals. Be sure to check our social media and blog updates for regular wellness inspiration, information, offers, and support.
The Back 2 Normal blog is an educational resource written by Back 2 Normal employees and professional associates. Back 2 Normal bloggers are professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.