Sleep is one of our Longevity hearts on our Longevity tree, but why is it so important?
There’s many, but here are my top three to start with……
- Your body repairs itself at night. If you are not sleeping you will gain weight, be moody and increase your risk for all sorts of chronic diseases. Researchers looked at how sleep patterns affected the mortality of more than 10,000 British civil servants over two decades. The results, published in 2007, showed that those who had cut their sleep from 7 to 5 hours or fewer a night nearly doubled their risk of death from all causes. In particular, lack of sleep doubled the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. And cardiovascular disease is the number 1 killer of post-menopausal women.
- Sleep plays a critical role in thinking and learning. Lack of sleep interrupts these processes. First, it impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving. This makes it more difficult to learn efficiently. Various sleep cycles play a role in “consolidating” memories in the mind. If you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t be able to remember what you learned and experienced during the day.
- Lack of sleep makes you fat. Grehlin and leptin are the hormones that tell your brain if you’re hungry or full. Sleep deprivation has been shown to completely disrupt the way these work. Also, cortisol levels go down when we are asleep (it’s part of the repair process). If they are high at night, your body thinks it’s under stress and hangs onto fat. All of this leads to insulin resistance.
My 5 tips to improve your sleep:
- Digital detox – make sure you get a good 90 minutes down time before you got to bed, this means switching off all your devices and lowering the lights and just pottering about before you get into bed
- Relaxation techniques – I use deep breathing to start off my relaxation the minute I hit the sheets. It’s so good to relax you body and mind before sleep, it does take a bit of practice, but when you do it will just take a few breaths to send you off. Here are 3 lovely mindful movement videos, the last one is specially designed to relax your body ready for sleep. GET THEM HERE
- Create a sleep sanctuary – make you bedroom a place to sleep only. So no technology switched on at the side of your bed, this can be a big distraction, and also make sure if you have a TV in your room that the standby light is covered of off, as this alone can alter your pituitary gland and make your body think it should be awake.
- Try to reframe your perception of your own sleep quality. It is impossible to have 8 hours straight sleep with no wake times, that’s not how your circadian rhythm’s work, so just notice your energy levels as you awake and tell yourself you feel good. If you keep telling yourself you are tired, then you will be! Obviously there is a fine line to this tip, so if you are constantly wanting to go back to sleep in the morning, or you are up for hours in the night then something is not right.
- Magnesium – this is a super mineral which can drastically improve your sleep quality. I use a magnesium spray, my body gets 5 squirts just before bed and it sends me off nicely. You can also take magnesium in tablet form, not as effective. Foods which contain magnesium include green leafy vegetables, nuts and beans.
I have loads of other handy tips for improving the quality of your sleep in a check list. Message or email me to get you copy now.