Get a Good Night's Sleep

Get a Good Night's Sleep

A good night’s rest shouldn’t be a luxury, it should be a staple of good health. Of course, jam-packed schedules filled with work obligations, recreation, and family make that easier said than done. Getting quality sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health. Find out more about how sleep renews our bodies and practical tips on what you can do to get a good night’s sleep.

Lack of Sleep and Your Health

Have you noticed that when you don’t get enough sleep, you have a much harder time concentrating the next day or make mistakes that you wouldn’t in most cases? There’s a biological reason for that. Although sleep may seem like a very passive and uneventful activity, your body is busy at work. If you think of your body as a race car, sleep is kind of like a pitstop. It’s the time when we undergo repair at a cellular level, create proteins, produce growth hormones and many other processes needed to maintain our health. Lack of sleep can sharply increase the risk for developing serious health conditions, especially those related to the heart.

Your Sleep Cycle and Circadian Rhythm

The circadian rhythm is our mind’s own internal clock that determines when we feel awake and when we feel sleepy. Within the brain, light or lack of light influences whether our body produces melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel drowsy. Bright light signals the brain to shut off production of melatonin, which is why using devices that emit blue light can disrupt your internal clock. Our sleep cycle consists of REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM periods that alternate throughout the night. During REM the eyes move quickly back and forth and brain wave activity is intense. During non-REM sleep brain wave activity is very slow-paced. The sleep cycle helps our brain consolidate memories and replenish cellular fuel ATP (adenosine triphosphate) among many other complex processes.

Tips to Improve Your Sleep Hygiene

Now that you know why sleep is important, here are tips you can use to improve your quality of sleep and get more rest.

Be Active: Getting some physical activity, whether it’s a full workout or simply increasing your steps, is a simple way to fall asleep faster and get better quality sleep. Just make sure not to workout too close to bedtime or the endorphin release may keep you awake. 

Avoid Stimulants: Caffeine is a strong stimulant that can wreak havoc on your sleep cycle phases, making for a less restful night of sleep. Alcohol has a delayed effect on sleep quality. You may feel somewhat drowsy after a drink, but studies show that alcohol contributes to wakefulness during the night. So while it may seem like alcohol can help you fall asleep, it won’t help you stay asleep. Check out these tips to boost energy naturally.

Say No to Napping: A short nap during the day can help you feel refreshed. However, longer naps can throw off your internal circadian rhythm, making it much more difficult to fall asleep at night during bedtime.

De-Stress Yourself: AAnxiety and worry can keep your mind racing all night. They can increase cortisol levels keeping you from getting a deep sleep. One way to destress is to journal or write down your to-do list for the next day so problems aren’t weighing on your mind while you’re in bed.

Limit TV and Phone Use: The blue light from TV, mobile phones and other devices can suppress the hormone melatonin, making our brain think it’s time to wake up instead of fall asleep.

Elevate Body Temperature: Taking a hot shower or bath can relax the body and promote falling asleep easier. Numerous studies have demonstrated that taking a warm shower or bath within 2 hours of bedtime helps you fall asleep faster. Another study showed that warming the feet at bedtime not only helped individuals fall asleep faster, but they slept longer and had higher quality deep sleep. Donning a pair of socks will also help keep you at a comfortable temperature.

Get a Little Sun: Exposure to early morning sunlight can improve your brain’s sleep-wake cycle. Sunlight is full of vitamin D and is vital for regulating our circadian rhythm properly.

Best Supplements for Sleep

Sleep supplements are a natural, non-habit forming aid that can help improve your quality of sleep. While they cannot address sleep disorders, they may help with occasional restless nights. Dr. Andrew Huberman, a known expert in neuroscience, recommends the supplements magnesium bisglycinate, theanine and GABA for improving sleep. These ingredients have an impressive backing of clinical trials and studies, showing promise that they may improve various markers of quality sleep. The amino acid L-theanine promotes a feeling of calm. It is found in high amounts in white tea, green tea and black tea and may be responsible for the soothing feeling that sipping a cup of this hot beverage imparts. A double blind study showed that GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) supplementation improved sleep in comparison to placebo.

Magnesium Supplements for Sleep

Another double blind study on magnesium elicited positive results on participants, improving the length of time they slept and how long it took for them to fall asleep. You can find this relaxing ingredient in Nature’s Lab Magnesium Glycinate and Nature’s Lab Magnesium Soothe.

Melatonin Supplements for Sleep

Melatonin is the primary hormone related to our sleep cycles. As mentioned, a decrease in melatonin causes wakefulness, while an increase in the hormone is your brain’s signal that it’s time to go to bed. You can find melatonin in our sleep supplement, Nature's Lab Sleep Support. It is a relaxing blend composed of 3mg of melatonin, 5-HTP and L-Theanine. Nature’s Lab Fast Melt Melatonin includes 6 mg of melatonin combined with 25 mg of l-theanine to soothe the mind and support a more restful sleep. These melts have a great cherry taste and dissolve in the mouth for fast absorption. They are free of preservatives, artificial flavors and synthetic colors.