Updated: Apr 26
By Inder Ghrial, CNP, NNCP
With busy lifestyles and the go go go, do you often put sleep on the bottom of our to-do list?
Better I ask, do you even put it on your to do list? Do you find yourself snoozing in the morning or feeling like you would give anything for just 5 more minutes? I have been there and know exactly how that feels! Sleep is so crucial for optimal health and well-being, yet we do not take it seriously enough.
As a Holistic Nutritionist, I work one on one with women who are eager to improve their current health conditions. The first aspect of healing that I work on with my clients is establishing a solid and peaceful sleep routine. I have found that with this practice alone my clients feel significantly better, not to say they don’t have other work to do but prioritizing sleep gives them the drive to implement additional ways of healing and amp up the process in some cases.
I am going to share with you a few of the reasons why I would recommend scheduling sleep at the TOP of your to-do list. Sleep deprivation interferes with the body’s ability to repair muscle tissue. Muscle tissue is not only fatigued for people who work out but also from everyday use. During sleep the body starts releasing human growth hormone (HGH) to build and repair muscle tissue. Sleep plays an important role in hormonal balance, for instance the hormone leptin which decreases appetite and ghrelin which increases appetite are regulated during sleep. When there is a deprivation of sleep, ghrelin spikes leading to an increase in hunger Sleep is an important time where you process memories from the day, making them long-term, this also reinforces learning. Sleep can leave you clear-minded, you may have better logic, a longer attention span and improved decision making. There is also a safety component, where you may be able to avoid personal accidents because you are focused. I hope that some of these reasons can bring you to an awareness of the importance of sleep and encourage you to make it a priority.
The Circadian Rhythm is our body’s 24-hour internal clock. It is regulated by the sleep hormone melatonin in response to dark. When the eyes detect darkness, melatonin is produced which allows the body to prepare for sleep. Melatonin will not secrete around any light source.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that helps bring calm to the body and induce sleep. It is a precursor for melatonin. Consuming foods high in tryptophan can help bring on natural calming effects and induce sleep. Here is a list of some foods that are a good source of tryptophan: turkey breast, chicken breast, some nuts such as almonds, walnuts and cashews, bananas, pumpkin seeds, cherries, pineapple, some fish like haddock and salmon, lentils, chia seeds and hemp seeds. You can enjoy a bowl of organic cherries, or a sliced banana with almond butter, or a warm cup of lavender, chamomile, or lemon balm tea, these have been shown to help you relax and unwind and have been used around the world as natural sleep remedies Consuming beverages too close to bedtime may disrupt sleep if you need to use the washroom so start unwinding with a cup of tea 2 hours before you go to bed.
Here are 6 Natural Ways to Improve Your Sleep Quality!
This one is my favorite! Sleep at the same time each day and wake up at the same time each morning, even on the weekends! Yes, I said that. This habit can ensure your body is getting adequate sleep and keeps your circadian rhythms in sync.
The National Sleep Foundations recommends sleeping for 8-10 hours a night for teenagers and 7-9 hours for adults. These ranges are different for newborns, infants, and toddlers. If you want more information, check out their website. Get your hours in!
Sleep in a bedroom temperature of 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the optimal temperature for the human body at rest.
Sleep in a dark room, I would suggest blackout blinds or a sleep mask. Remember that melatonin is not produced in the presence of any light. Your room should be dark enough that you cannot see your hand in front of you if you hold it up.
Stay off of your devices. Blue light from laptops and cell phones suppresses melatonin production and can alter the circadian rhythms. This light tells the body it is time to wake up when it is actually time to sleep.
Avoid excessive alcohol intake and other stimulants like coffee and cigarettes. As well as avoiding bedtime snacks high in sugar such as bread, cereal, cookies, and other baked goods which can cause blood sugar spikes.
I hope you begin to prioritize sleep in your schedule. Think twice before binge watching Netflix or scrolling through social media. Your health is more important! Take 5-miniutes before bed to say 10 things you are grateful for in life. I wish you a good sleep and a lot of success in your day!
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