How to Get the Best Night's Sleep for Your Body
In an ideal world, we would all get eight hours of sleep each night, and wake up with enough energy to go to the gym, make breakfast and enjoy a peaceful morning routine. But for many of us, our morning routine looks more like a comedy skit: Where are the keys? I’m going to be late! Who’s in the bathroom? I need to finish getting ready!
In today’s hectic, fast-paced world, many of us consider sleep a luxury rather than a necessity. Yes, we’ve become accustomed to operating a million miles per hour, but at what cost?
When you don’t get enough sleep, everything is affected. Your energy is low, you’re less productive, less motivated and the list goes on.
According to the American Sleep Association, 50 to 70 million US adults have a sleep disorder with nearly 40 percent unintentionally falling asleep during the day at least once in the previous month.
The Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep
It’s no secret that sleep is vital to our mental and physical well-being – and here are some of the main reasons why:
- Alleviates stress
The sleep-stress cycle is one many of us have experienced: The more stressed you are, the less you sleep, and the less you sleep the more stressed you become.
“On average, adults with lower reported stress levels report sleeping more hours a night than do adults with higher reported stress levels (7.1 vs. 6.2 hours),” the American Psychological Association reports. “They are also more likely to say they have excellent or very good-quality sleep (33 percent vs. 8 percent) and get enough sleep (79 percent vs. 33 percent).”
If you’re looking to de-stress, BoomBoom’s Relax + Unwind Essential Oil Roll-On, can help soothe your mind and body.
- Improves learning and memory
Research indicates that dreaming may help the brain absorb and process newly learned information; hence enhancing cognitive function and boosting memory.
In the study, participants learned to navigate a maze. One group was allowed to nap for 90 minutes and the other was not. When the participants attempted the maze again, the group who napped performed better.
- Reduces inflammation
Inflammation is linked to a long list of health issues ranging from stroke and heart disease to arthritis and diabetes. Scientists have also found that “maintaining adequate sleep duration and quality through good sleep habits and treatment of sleep disorders may reduce inflammatory processes.” In other words, sleep and inflammation go hand-in-hand.
Dr. Mark R. Zielinski says, “Inflammation is often increased or unbalanced in individuals with sleep-related disorders including insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless legs syndrome. Individuals who have diseases that tend to increase inflammation such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and autoimmune disorders have an increased tendency for disturbed sleep.”
Getting enough sleep gives your body the time it needs to restore energy and repair itself. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults need at least 7 hours of sleep per night for optimal health.
- Can help you lose weight
Science confirms it: Your sleepy brain makes bad choices - and this includes what you eat.
When you’re tired, “your brain’s reward centers rev up, looking for something that feels good. So, while you might be able to squash comfort food cravings when you’re well-rested, your sleep-deprived brain may have trouble saying no to a second slice of cake,” WebMD reports.
To put it simply, less sleep means less impulse control.
- Reduces anxiety and depression
Studies indicate disruptions in sleep are linked with an inability to shift away from negative thoughts – over time, it can escalate to psychological disorders like anxiety and depression. Researchers found “inadequate sleep is part of what makes negative intrusive thoughts stick around and interfere with people’s lives.”
The bottom line: If you don’t sleep, you don’t give your brain a break. Getting at least seven hours of sleep will allow your mind and body to rest and recharge.
5 Tips to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
- Turn off your devices
Electronics overstimulate your brain, so it’s best to unplug at least 30 minutes before bed. Did you know the blue light from your phone, computer, and TV sends a signal to your brain that says it’s time to be awake? It suppresses the production of melatonin, which affects your sleep cycle.
- Keep the temperature cool and your room dark
Research shows cool temperatures are the best for optimal sleep. According to sleep.org, the temperature should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
Also, get rid of any light sources in your room. Yes, even digital alarm clocks can affect your ability to fall asleep. And in case you were curious, repeatedly hitting the button snooze isn’t helping.
- Relax your mind with meditation
Mindfulness meditation is scientifically-proven to promote restful sleep and help fight insomnia.
This involves focusing on your breathing and connecting to the present moment. When your mind enters a calm, peaceful state, this evokes a relaxation response in your body.
Here are two steps to elicit the relaxation response, according to researchers at Harvard Health:
Choose a calming place to focus your attention. Whether it’s your breath, a sound, or positive phrase, repeat it as you inhale and exhale. Bring your thoughts to the here and now.
Let go. Be patient with yourself if your mind starts to wander. Simply take a deep breath and return your attention to your calm focal point. With practice, you will get to a relaxed state faster each time.
- Incorporate essential oils into your nighttime routine
When it comes to helping your mind and body relax, aromatherapy works wonders. For sleep specifically, Roman chamomile oil and lavender essential oils are proven to improve your sleep quality.
Research from Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine and Pharmacognosy Review shows inhaling chamomile can help reduce anxiety and depression – both of which are contributing factors of poor sleep.
Lavender oil acts as a natural sedative and remedy for stress. In one study of the effect of lavender fragrance on postpartum women, results indicated “aromatherapy was effective in the improvement of mothers’ sleep quality.”
To experience the healing effects of essential oils, our Defend + Restore Roll-On is perfect to use before bed.
- Try a sleep supplement
The top supplements for sleep recommended by experts are melatonin, valerian and kava.
Helping to regulate circadian cycles, this natural hormone not only helps with falling asleep, but also promotes more restful sleep.
"Melatonin comes in two forms -- extended release and immediate release," says Sharon Plank, MD, with the University of Pittsburgh Medical School Center for Integrative Medicine. "If you tend to wake up in the middle of the night, you may want to take extended release before you go to bed. If you have trouble falling asleep, try immediate release."
Dating back centuries, valerian has been traditionally used as a sedative. Studies show valerian root helps people fall asleep faster and also improves sleep quality. Its important to note its effects are not immediate – this supplement is more effective as time passes, so remain consistent with taking it (over a four to six-week period) and you will see results.
The Kava plant is known for its sleep-inducing and anxiety-relieving effects.
In a study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, participants received daily doses of kava or a placebo for four weeks. At the end of treatment, the group that took kava demonstrated greater improvements in both sleep quality and overall well-being.
- Reset your body clock
One of the main reasons why so many people struggle to get a good night’s sleep is due to the fact that their circadian system is out of sync. How does this happen? By spending all day indoors without exposure to the sun, or spending the evenings exposed to artificial light that is too bright.
When this happens, your body clock is out of sync with nature’s clock of daylight and darkness.
So how can you reset your master clock? By getting 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight in the morning.
“This will send a strong message to your internal clock that day has arrived, making it less likely to be confused by weaker light signals later on,” says Dr. Joseph Mercola, alternative medicine proponent and osteopathic physician. “Also aim for 30 to 60 minutes of outdoor light exposure in the middle of the day, in order to ‘anchor’ your master clock rhythm. The ideal time to go outdoors is right around solar noon but any time during daylight hours is useful.”
A Good Day Starts the Night Before
Don’t worry, you’re not doomed to toss and turn every night. A few simple lifestyle changes may be all it takes to get some shut-eye. Along with exercising and eating healthy, you should be making sleep a top priority.
For a more peaceful slumber, follow the tips above. Your mind and body will thank you!