By Project Wellness Now
Perhaps you’ve thought of rest and relaxation as a luxury or getting 8 hours of sleep for the lazy, but science says sleep deprivation is not only unpleasant, it can be deadly.
Negative Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Anyone who’s ever needed to catch up on sleep should know it is truly an elixir of life. You feel like a new person, don’t you? Nevertheless, in recent days we’ve undervalued this primal human function. It’s much more en vogue to get jacked up on energy drinks, pre-workout supplements, and Venti Americanos, not to mention the literal buzz caused by our glaring computer, phone, and smart TV screens. The result? According to many studies, sleeping less than 8 hours/night results in:
- lowered immunity
- depleted energy
- mood swings
- slower metabolism
- thicker waistlines
- higher chance of accidents
- damage to the brain
…and the beat goes on.
John Peever, director of the Systems Neurobiology Laboratory at the University of Toronto, and Brian J. Murray, director of the sleep laboratory at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center wrote in Scientific American:
“Sleep serves to reenergize the body’s cells, clear waste from the brain, and support learning and memory. It even plays vital roles in regulating mood, appetite and libido.”
Because of sleep’s role in energy production, it’s no surprise that sleep deprivation leads to cravings for sugar and simple carbohydrates as these provide the body with a quicker source of energy, albeit far less sufficient. In some sense, your body is trying to compensate for the loss of sleep by getting fuel from quick sources of glucose. Not only does this lead to rapid weight gain, but contributes to the risk of diabetes type 2. One study looked at the effects of “disturbed sleep patterns” on 10 young healthy adults:
After a mere four days, three of them had blood glucose levels that qualified as pre-diabetic.
And according to a report in the Journal of Occupation and Environmental Medicine, a study done on women showed that working the night shift could increase the risk of cancer by 400%.
6 Ways to Sleep Better at Night
Maybe you’d love to sleep longer and deeper, but you’ve had trouble, lately? Try these natural, non-toxic remedies, and let us know how it goes!
1. Lights Out
Humans are not designed to stare at glaring screens or enjoy bright lighting day and night. We are designed to receive sunlight through our eyes during the day, which in turn causes the brain to produce the hormone, melatonin, once the sun goes down. Melatonin release is triggered by darkness and induces sleep.
Sleep experts recommend, ideally, getting plenty of natural sunlight during the day, and shutting off all artificial lights and electronic equipment one hour before sleep. If that’s too extreme for you, you’re in good company. Start with lower lighting instead of none and, if you can’t get off the computer or phone, lower the brightness of your screen as bedtime approaches. You can also find anti-blue ray glasses that will eliminate the infamous blue ray which causes wakefulness.
2. Create The Right Environment
The best sleep occurs in a completely dark room that is 60-73F, and quiet. Sometimes, having a little white noise such as a fan running can help to mute outside noises and prevent sleep disruption. If you can’t completely eliminate light, consider a sleep mask. There are manly ones, too.
3. Limit Caffeine Intake
Perhaps giving up your beloved tea or coffee is next to impossible, but for most, it isn’t entirely necessary, either. Caffeine can remain active in a person’s system for up to 12 hours. Get to know your body. Give yourself a reasonable cut-off time. If you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep at night and you do have a regular caffeine habit, it may be the culprit. Cut back or stop earlier.
4. Diffuse Vetiver Essential Oil
Many essential oils can play a role in helping you sleep, and Vetiver is one of the most powerful. A 2001 study showed that Vetiver relieved hyperactivity among other symptoms of ADHD in children by 100%. Vetiver is powerfully relaxing and helps to stop racing thoughts. Be certain your essential oils are the highest quality and therapeutic grade, or they may be less effective at best, and toxic, at worst. Create a sleep blend for your diffuser using vetiver, lavender, geranium, and frankincense. Not only will the oils help you sleep, but they also contribute to overall brain and immune health.
Herbs can also help you fall and stay asleep. Valerian, passionflower, chamomile, and ashwagandha sometimes come together in sleep blends or can be effective separately.
6. Sleep Nutrition
Eating sugar and refined carbs especially at night can have a negative impact on your sleep. It is advised that you eat light dinner at least three hours before you go to bed. Supplementing Calcium-Magnesium one hour before bed can also help you to stay asleep. This is a great option for you if you tend to have night jerks that wake you up. Sleep-paralysis could be a sign of deficiency in these nutrients.
Last but not least, try earthing! The idea behind earthing is that staying connected to the earth’s natural energy is essential for our health. When we are connected directly to the earth, example walking barefoot on the beach, we receive a bolt of energy that revitalizes us. By the same token, sleeping while directly in touch with earth could contribute sleeping deeper and waking up feeling refreshed. That’s why some brilliant minds came up with the idea of bed sheets that are made with a connective silver thread. How cool is that?