Wednesday, November 14, 2012

[GTS Health] 4 Ways to get better sleep via Livestrong.com



I've written about or referenced the power of sleep several times before, but its worth repeating over and over.


I recently came across another awesome article on Sleep via Live Strong.

Here are a couple highlights below...

One third of our lives are spent sleeping.

  • "But those hours are far from unproductive. During sleep, our bodies repair muscles, consolidate memories, and release hormones and chemicals that regulate everything from energy to appetite."



Falling asleep easier.

  • "No computer, TV, or tablets in your bedroom. Their lights can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime and squash your oh-so important levels of melatonin. Winter says. Keep your bedroom cool, between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, to help your core body temperature drop, which helps induce sleepiness (your body temp drops slightly as you snooze anyway). "


Catnaps.


  • "They can help energize you midday, but shoot for around 20-30 minutes. No more. Otherwise you risk slipping into the deeper stages of sleep, which will make you wake up even groggier, Winter says. Don’t worry if you feel like you need a nap come 3 p.m. Siestas exist for good reason: Our circadian rhythms naturally make us sleepy at night and mid afternoon. Some brief shut-eye can up your body’s stash of cortisol, making you feel more alert, and even help reset your immune system, which can get thrown out of whack by fatigue, he says."


Waking up during Deep Sleep.


  • "Your body will go into overdrive, pumping out the stress hormone cortisol to help you stay awake and alert despite your less-than-depleted levels of adenosine, Winter says. Thank that hormone for your ability to stay sharp at work even after an all-nighter. Some people can even function better on a few hours of quality sleep than eight hours of restless sleep, according to Winter. “It keeps us artificially amped up,” he says. Plus, caffeine directly blocks the mounting effects of adenosine in your body throughout the day. Between the cortisol and caffeine, expect some jitters. And while one night won’t do too much harm, over time, high levels of cortisol can result in weight gain, hypertension, and heart disease, Winter says."

Waking up during REM Sleep (Dreams).


  • "You can expect 15.5% lower levels of the hormone leptin, which promotes feelings of satiety, and 14.9% higher levels of the hormone ghrelin, which ups your hunger factor, according to research published in PLoS Medicine. Together, they result in one grumbly tummy. No wonder a 2012 study from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota found that people who sleep 6 hours and 40 minutes eat an average of 549 more calories a day than those who score the recommended 8 hours. "


Staying in bed.

  • "Even if your body is rested, staying in bed is always tempting. Light can help. Open your curtains and soak up at least 15 minutes of sunlight to help reset your internal biological clock and zap any leftover melatonin. But don’t hit snooze, Winter warns. It won’t score you enough uninterrupted sleep for you to get anything out of it, and you’ll probably feel even more tired when you do finally get up post-snooze"
  • "Sleeping more than nine hours a night has been linked to obesity, diabetes, headaches, and heart disease, Winter says."


How much sleep?

  • "The most important thing is to listen to your body, Winter says. The next time you’re on a long vacay, head to bed when you start to feel tired and wake up sans alarm. Do this for several days and then find the average number of hours you snoozed every night. That’s how much sleep you need on a daily basis to stay healthy, he says."
 
Catching up on sleep.


  • "And no matter how tired you are, don’t attempt to “catch up” on sleep. It will seriously screw with your sleep schedule. After even one day sleeping in, your body will have less time to accumulate adenosine and get you ready for bed."

Read the full article on Livestrong.com - 4 Ways to get Better Sleep

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