This article has been researched and written by Arelang Naturals® in-house writers.
You know what time it is! It's early Jan, and if you remember, we promised you part two of our sleep well blog! The first two weeks of Jan and the last week of December are always hazy. It’s less sleep, lots of parties or late nights with Netflix, and binge eating. But all that needs to stop. Well, we know a balanced life is everything but less sleep can never be an option.
Our previous blog in the series touched upon the importance of sleeping well and the role your diet plays. Through this blog, we are going to cover how you can calm and train your body and mind to relax, fall asleep and get the 8 hours of rest and recuperation your body needs each day.
So what happens with lack of sleep? Sleep is more than just “resting” at night. Your body is very active when you are asleep and rebuilds muscles, regains strength, fights illness, removes toxins from your brain. No matter where we come from or what we are used to, good sleep cannot be neglected. Even still, when the going gets tough and life becomes busier, the first thing that gets on the backburner is how many hours you sleep. But this is a problem. A lack of good quality and “good” hours of sleep causes your body to malfunction.
For starters, it affects your cognitive functions. This includes your perception, memory, learning, attention, decision-making, and language abilities. Studies have shown that 3 consecutive nights of sleeping under 5 hours can have the same effect on the human mind as a blood alcohol content of 0.06. Can you imagine what happens when you are persistently sleep deprived?
Chronic insomnia changes the way your body and central nervous system transmit information in your body and exacerbates a lot of health issues. In fact, sleep plays a major role in the development and maintenance of mental health problems. A lack of sleep can negatively affect your emotional and mental state and can cause mood swings, stress, and in many cases severe psychological issues like:
✦ Depression ✦ Anxiety ✦ Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) ✦ Bipolar disorder ✦ Suicidal Thoughts ✦ Alzheimer’s
Like that isn’t already too much, lack of sleep also causes a lot of physiological disorders like:
✦ Excessive eating ✦ Weight Gain ✦ Lethargy ✦ Weak muscles ✦ High blood pressure ✦ Gut and Digestion Issues ✦ Bad skin and hair ✦ Cardiac Issues ✦ Lowered Sex Drive ✦ Poor Balance
If we said we don’t mean to scare you, we’d be lying. We do totally mean to scare you because these issues are not to be taken lightly. Prolonged insomnia and diminishing sleep can lead to early death.Think about it, in all that time that you are awake and not resting your mind and body, you are not allowing your body to grow, repair, absorb - all the things its supposed to do while you sleep. Now that we’ve told you all that can go wrong, let’s touch base on what we can do to make sure we sleep better.
Unless you have major sleep disorders that need medical intervention, how well you sleep can be in your control. Here are some things that you can weave into your routine to sleep better
- All gadgets off! Put that phone away at least 1 hour before bedtime, and keep it far from your bed at night. Did you know the blue light from our phones and other gadgets directly impacts the quality of sleep? It tricks your body into believing it is daylight and daytime and leads you into Revenge Bedtime Procrastination. (Yes, there is such a thing and we will discuss it in our next sleep series blog). Notice the changes in the way you sleep and how you feel the next morning when you don’t use your phone right before hitting the bed.
- Lay low on caffeine throughout the day. Opt for decaf versions of your favorite Starbucks lattes. If you do need to have that morning cuppa, go for it. But avoid coffee post 3 pm. (P.s. you can check out our Rekindle Chocolate bars in the espresso shot flavor. It helps with your coffee cravings and gives you monitored doses of caffeine and micronutrients.
- Try setting a body clock. Wake up and sleep around the same time every day. You may need an alarm the first few days but once you get used to waking up at a certain time, your body will fall into the circadian rhythm. There is nothing a good routine cannot fix. Especially sleep.
- Try Melatonin. Your body produces a lot of this and controls your sleep-wake cycle. But sometimes you need to supplement the lack. These are extremely popular as sleep aids and studies show that you will fall asleep faster with just 2mg of melatonin. You’ll not only sleep better but also wake up with more energy the next day. (P.S. We will do a whole different blog on melatonin and fill you in about why you need it in your lives.)
- Supplement. Supplement. Supplement. We’ve told you this before. But not eating good food is a leading cause of sleep disturbances and insomnia. So try plant-based natural supplements like Ginkgo Biloba, Valerian Root, Lavender, Magnesium, etc. Trust us, in the right quantities, supplements will totally fix you. Sleep-wise and otherwise.
- Relax and clear your mind. Practice mindfulness and meditation. We love some breathing exercises right before we hit the bed. It is the best way to fall asleep quicker, let go of the things that happened in the day and just breathe.
- Exercise during the day. Do not exercise right before you hit the bed. It releases adrenaline that might prohibit a good night's sleep.
- Hydrate throughout the day. A lack of water and dehydration can also cause sleep problems. However, do not excessively hydrate right before you hit the bed. You are sure to take trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night if you drink a gallon of water right before you sleep.
- Take the dose of your favourite Rekindle Chocolate Bars each night, a couple of hours before bed. The formulation has been made with ingredients that have high adaptogenic properties and will help your mind and body relax before bedtime.
This is a non-exhaustive list and there's so much more than you can do through the day to maintain great sleep routines. No major changes, just slight shifts in your behaviour patterns. So do it! Take out some time and make yourself a sleep plan. Stick to it and watch the magic happen. In your dreams of course ;)