Up to 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep deprivation, one of the most common reasons is insomnia. Poor sleeping patterns wreaks havoc on your immune system, overall health and quality of life.
One study found that sleeping less than five hours per night increased the risk of developing a viral infection and the common cold by 350% compared to people who slept seven hours per night!
Chronic insomnia also increases the risk for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and death. Even just a few days of poor sleep has consequences.
Sleep deprivation makes people tired, irritable and depressed. It also makes it difficult to concentrate, complete even simple tasks, decreases memory and word recall and is a risk for car and work accidents. Approximately 20% of all serious car crash injuries are associated with driver sleepiness.
Natural and integrative approaches can improve sleep and reduce the risk for diseases caused by insomnia.
Tips to help you sleep better:
Reduce or omit the screen time.
Reading on a phone or laptop before bed decreases melatonin, which is important for helping you fall asleep. Clinical trials showed that people who were on screens before bed had a harder time falling asleep and took longer to feel awake in the morning.
Regulate your blood sugar.
If blood sugar drops during the night, it can cause an increase of cortisol and epinephrine. These hormones release stored sugars, but they also have the effect of waking you up. If you are waking up in the middle of the night, and you are not complaining of stress and anxiety, it might be because your blood sugar is dropping. Try eating about 10 grams of protein for your bedtime snack if you are hungry or get it in with your last meal. Remember to try to be done eating two hours before bed for optimal digestion. Protein is one of the best ways to even out blood sugar dips and gives your immune system what it needs to repair itself while you are sleeping.
Relax tense muscles and ease your overactive mind.
Tight muscles and overactive mind can make it difficult to fall asleep and can wake you up during the night. Magnesium acts as a gentle muscle relaxer. Taking magnesium at bedtime can help. Glycine, GABA and L-theanine have calming effects on the nervous system, and can calm an overactive mind and help you drift off to sleep. Check your magnesium supplements for extra sugars added if you are consuming powders. A magnesium flake foot soak or bath may be better absorption method for you.