10 Healthy Reasons to Get Good Sleep and How to Do It

People are now sleeping less than they did in the past, and sleep quality has decreased as well.

Here are 10 reasons why good sleep is important.

1. Poor Sleep Can Make You Fat

Poor sleep is strongly linked to weight gain.

People with short sleep duration tend to weigh significantly more than those who get adequate sleep.

In fact, short sleep duration is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity.

In one massive review study, children and adults with short sleep duration were 89% and 55% more likely to become obese, respectively.

The effect of sleep on weight gain is believed to be mediated by numerous factors, including hormones and motivation to exercise.

If you are trying to lose weight, getting quality sleep is absolutely crucial.

Bottom Line: Short sleep duration is associated with a drastically increased risk of weight gain and obesity, in both children and adults.

2. Good Sleepers Tend to Eat Fewer Calories

 

Studies show that sleep deprived individuals have a bigger appetite and tend to eat more calories.

Sleep deprivation disrupts the daily fluctuations in appetite hormones and is believed to cause poor appetite regulation.

This includes higher levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates appetite, and reduced levels of leptin, the hormone that suppresses appetite.

Bottom Line: Poor sleep affects hormones that regulate appetite. Those who get adequate sleep tend to eat fewer calories than those who don’t.

3. Good Sleep Can Improve Concentration and Productivity

 

Sleep is important for various aspects of brain function.

This includes cognition, concentration, productivity and performance.

All of these are negatively affected by sleep deprivation.

A study on medical interns provides a good example.

Interns on a “traditional schedule” made 36% more serious medical errors than interns on a schedule that allowed more sleep.

Another study found short sleep can negatively impact some aspects of brain function to a similar degree as alcohol intoxication.

Good sleep, on the other hand, has been shown to improve problem solving skills and enhance memory performance of both children and adults.

Bottom Line: Good sleep can maximize problem solving skills and enhance memory. Poor sleep has been shown to impair brain function.

4. Good Sleep Can Maximize Athletic Performance

Sleep has been shown to enhance athletic performance.

 

In a study on basketball players, longer sleep was shown to significantly improve speed, accuracy, reaction times, and mental well-being.

Less sleep duration has also been associated with poor exercise performance and functional limitation in elderly women.

A study of over 2,800 women found that poor sleep was linked to slower walking, lower grip strength, and greater difficulty performing independent activities.

Bottom Line: Longer sleep has been shown to improve many aspects of athletic and physical performance.

5. Poor Sleepers Have a Greater Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke

 

We know that sleep quality and duration can have a major effect on many risk factors.

These are the factors believed to drive chronic diseases, including heart disease.

A review of 15 studies found that short sleepers are at far greater risk of heart disease or stroke than those who sleep 7 to 8 hours per night.

Bottom Line: Sleeping less than 7-8 hours per night is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

6. Sleep Affects Glucose Metabolism and Type 2 Diabetes Risk

 

Experimental sleep restriction affects blood sugar and reduces insulin sensitivity.

In a study of healthy young men, restricting sleep to 4 hours per night for 6 nights in a row caused symptoms of pre-diabetes.

This was then resolved after 1 week of increased sleep duration.

Poor sleep habits are also strongly linked to adverse effects on blood sugar in the general population.

Those sleeping less than 6 hours per night have repeatedly been shown to be at increased risk for type 2 diabetes.

Bottom Line: Sleep deprivation can cause pre-diabetes in healthy adults, in as little as 6 days. Many studies show a strong link between short sleep duration and type 2 diabetes risk.

7. Poor Sleep is Linked to Depression

Mental health issues, such as depression, are strongly linked to poor sleep quality and sleeping disorders.

 

It has been estimated that 90% of patients with depression complain about sleep quality.

Poor sleep is even associated with increased risk of death by suicide.

Those with sleeping disorders, such as insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea, also report significantly higher rates of depression than those without.

Bottom Line: Poor sleeping patterns are strongly linked to depression, particularly for those with a sleeping disorder.

8. Sleep Improves Your Immune Function

 

Even a small loss of sleep has been shown to impair immune function.

One large 2-week study monitored the development of the common cold after giving people nasal drops with the virus that causes colds.

They found that those who slept less than 7 hours were almost three times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept 8 hours or more.

If you often get colds, ensuring that you get at least 8 hours of sleep per night could be very helpful. Eating more garlic can help too.

Bottom Line: Getting at least 8 hours of sleep can improve immune function and help fight the common cold.

9. Poor Sleep is Linked to Increased Inflammation

 

Sleep can have a major effect on inflammation in the body.

In fact, sleep loss is known to activate undesirable markers of inflammation and cell damage.

Poor sleep has been strongly linked to long-term inflammation of the digestive tract, in disorders known as inflammatory bowel diseases.

One study observed that sleep deprived patients with Crohn’s disease (a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestines) were twice as likely to relapse as patients who slept well.

Researchers are even recommending sleep evaluation to help predict outcomes in sufferers of long-term inflammatory issues.

Bottom Line: Sleep affects the body’s inflammatory responses. Poor sleep is strongly linked to inflammatory bowel diseases and can increase the risk of disease recurrence.

10. Sleep Affects Emotions and Social Interactions

Sleep loss reduces our ability to interact socially.

Several studies confirmed this using emotional facial recognition tests.

One study found that people who had not slept had a reduced ability to recognize expressions of anger and happiness.

Researchers believe that poor sleep affects our ability to recognize important social cues and process emotional information.

Take Home Message

Along with nutrition and exercise, good sleep is one of the pillars of health.

You simply can not achieve optimal health without taking care of your sleep.

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Here are some top tips for getting good sleep from Nutrition Breakthroughs:

Tip # 1 – We live in an electronics-oriented world, from computers, to cell phones, to texting, to reading books on tablets. These tools help increase our efficiency and ability to work and learn and communicate, but when it comes to getting good sound sleep, they can interfere.

One study from a university in New York found that exposure to light from electronic displays can suppress melatonin by about twenty two percent. Melatonin is a hormone made in the brain that helps to regulate the sleep/wake cycle.

It is present in higher amounts at night. The researchers recommend shutting off all electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime and doing some relaxing things before bed.

Tip # 2 – Regarding sounder, deeper sleep resulting from taking walks, studies at the University of Arizona have found that walking more than six blocks a day at a normal pace significantly improves sleep at night for women.  Scientists suspect that walking helps to set our biological clock into a consistent sleep pattern.

Walking can help increase “endorphins”, which are protein-like chemicals made in the brain that can have a relaxing effect, a pain-relieving effect, and can also reduce stress and increase well-being.

Tip # 3 – Sometimes hunger can strike at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning and keep one awake. If this occurs, eat something with high protein such as turkey. Turkey contains tryptophan, which is an amino acid (a component of protein) that has a calming effect. According to Ray Sahelian, M.D., “Tryptophan ….can be converted at night into melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone.”

As a note, concentrated tryptophan capsules are not recommended as they can create grogginess in the morning and take some time to wear off. Other foods that are high in tryptophan include nuts, seeds, chicken, fish, oats, beans, lentils, and eggs.

Tip # 4 – When taking natural sleep aids, it’s good to remember that each person is a unique individual and doing some experimenting with the dosage can be instrumental in achieving success. At first, err on the side of taking too little rather than too much.

Another thing to keep in mind is that natural aids are not drugs and they may not work immediately with the first dose or even the first few doses. It can take up to a couple weeks to see results.

James F. Balch, M.D., author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, writes: “A lack of the nutrients calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep.”

In one study published in the European Neurology Journal, researchers found that calcium levels in the body are higher during some of the deepest levels of sleep, such as the rapid eye movement (REM) phase. In the study, taking calcium restored normal sleep patterns.

One example of a mineral-based sleep remedy is Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs. This sleep aid contains highly absorbable forms of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D. The ingredients are delivered in a softgel form with healthy carrier oils, making them more easily assimilated than capsules or tablets and providing a deeper, longer-lasting sleep.

Richard P. of Parkville, Maryland says: “The Sleep Minerals are making quite a difference. I was regularly waking up at around 3:00 a.m. and after a few days use my sleep improved quite a lot. I wake up once a night to go to the bathroom, but the great thing is, I then fall back asleep and sleep several more hours. This has been a great improvement.”

In summary, take the tips of recent research studies and take a walk each day, put the computers and cell phones away an hour before bedtime, and do something relaxing before bed. Keep a high-tryprophan snack next to your bed at night, and use an effective form of calcium and magnesium for a deeper, longer, less interrupted night’s sleep.

For more information on Sleep Minerals II, visit this page.

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Article source for the 10 Healthy Reasons to Get Good Sleep: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-reasons-why-good-sleep-is-important

New Insomnia Chart, Best Sleep Aids, Tips for Good Sleep

Sleep better with Sleep Minerals II*********************************
This article is provided by Nutrition Breakthroughs, maker of the effective calcium and magnesium based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II
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Greetings to you,

Included at the bottom of this article on natural sleep remedies is an informative new chart from the National Sleep Foundation.  It contains some interesting statistics on sleep and insomnia, as well as the common causes.  Insomnia is defined as the inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, return to sleep, or can include all of these.  When someone experiences insomnia for at least three nights per week for at least three months, it is considered “chronic insomnia”.

Forty million Americans experience insomnia each year and there is an increased prevalence of insomnia in women and older adults.  It can be caused by stress, anxiety, depression, or major life changes such as with jobs or relationships.  Other causes of sleeplessness include various medical conditions or poor sleep habits such as going to bed too late, consuming caffeine too late in the day, or using computers or cell phones too close to bed time.

Many natural sleep remedies are making the news headlines lately, with research and studies discovering ones that are drug-free and effective.  For example, one study called “The Nutritional Relationships of Magnesium”, found that the type of insomnia associated with a calcium deficiency causes difficulty with falling asleep.

On the other hand, the classical sign of magnesium deficiency is insomnia characterized by falling asleep easily, but awakening frequently throughout the night, with individuals finding themselves tired even after several hours of sleep.

Walking has been shown to help with insomnia. Studies at the University of Arizona found that walking more than six blocks a day at a normal pace significantly improves sleep at night for women.  Scientists suspect that this exercise helps set our biological clock into a consistent wake/sleep pattern, or that it may boost the brain’s production of melatonin, a chemical in the brain that’s produced at night time and encourages good sleep.

Tart cherry juice is another proven natural sleep remedy. In a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that drinking tart Montmorency cherry juice results in significant sleep improvements such as longer overall sleep time, less daytime napping, and increased overall sleep efficiency (the ratio of the time spent in bed to the time spent sleeping).  The researchers credited the benefits of cherry juice to its high natural melatonin content.

A handful of walnuts with dinner or in the evening can also improve sleep.  Russel Reiter, Ph.D., a professor of cellular biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center says, “Relatively few foods have been examined for their melatonin content. Our studies demonstrate that walnuts contain melatonin, that it is absorbed when it is eaten, and that it improves our ability to resist stress in the body and also keep the heart healthy.”

Natural remedies can be a strong force in the fight against insomnia.  Those with sleeping problems are encouraged to seek out and try ones that may assist them to get a regular good night’s sleep.

Here is the insomnia chart:

Insomnia chart national slep foundationThis natural health news is provided by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a publisher of nutrition articles and supplier of natural remedies since 2002. Nutrition Breakthroughs makes Sleep Minerals II, the effective natural sleep aid with calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamin D, and also Joints and More, the natural solution for joint relief, aches and pains, stronger hair and nails and more energy.

Melatonin Rich Fruits for Sleep: Studies from Nutrition Breakthroughs

fruit melatoninGetting a good night’s sleep is a satisfying, energizing, and vital part of a healthy life.  However, per the National Sleep Foundation, almost six out of ten Americans report having insomnia at least a few nights a week..

Melatonin is a natural hormone made in the brain by the pineal gland that helps regulate the sleep and wake cycles.  Researchers in recent studies have found that eating tropical fruits such as pineapples and bananas, and also certain vegetables, can naturally increase melatonin in the body and help to improve sleep.

Melatonin levels start rising in the evening and go up to a peak level in the early hours of the morning, perhaps around 2:00 or 3:00 a.m, and then it reduces.  Melatonin production also declines with increasing age. This may partially explain why some people can sleep fine for a few hours and then suddenly find themselves wide awake in the night and unable to go back to sleep.

The research study showing how tropical fruits increase melatonin was published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.  Thirty healthy volunteers ate one fruit at a time with a one-week wash-out period between fruits.  Significant increases in melatonin were observed after eating pineapple (a 266% increase), banana (180%) and orange (47%).  The researchers made important discoveries about fruit consumption for those people with age-related melatonin deficiency symptoms such as sleeplessness and insomnia.

Eating more vegetables can increase melatonin levels in the body as well.  Ninety-four Japanese women participated in a recent study.  Half of the women ate high amounts of selected vegetables for 65 days, while the other half were told to avoid the same vegetables.

At the end of the study, the average daily intake of melatonin from eating the vegetables was 1,288 nanograms, while the non-vegetable group had an increase of a mere 5.3 nanograms.  (For reference, a nanogram is a common measurement in research studies and equals one billionth of a gram, and there are 28 grams in an ounce).  Another Japanese study tracked consumption of vegetables such as tomato, pumpkin, spinach, Japanese radish, cabbage, carrot, etc., and discovered there was 16% more melatonin in the women with the highest vegetable intake.

Supplements of synthetic melatonin are made commercially in a lab.  Because they often offer several milligrams per supplement, which is far more than the body makes naturally, common side effects of these supplements can include daytime sleepiness, dizziness, headaches, nightmares, anxiety and irritability.  Melatonin supplements are only recommended for short-term use and are best used under the guidance of a doctor.

In addition to fruits and vegetables, the brain can be assisted in its melatonin production by taking calcium supplements. William Sears, M.D. writes: “Calcium helps the brain use the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. This explains why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods.”  It’s important to note that a balanced ratio of calcium and magnesium (in a 2 to 1 ratio) is important to overall health, and that these two minerals should be taken together for best results.

Digestibility and absorption are important factors in selecting the best forms of calcium and magnesium to use. For example, Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs is a natural insomnia remedy that contains highly absorbable forms of these minerals and it’s effective for sleeplessness and insomnia, as well as for heart health, restless leg syndrome, bone strength, menopause insomnia and teenage insomnia. Sleep Minerals also contains vitamin D and zinc and is delivered in a softgel form mixed with natural rice bran oil, making it better assimilated than tablets or capsules and providing a deeper, longer-lasting sleep.

Richard P. of Parkville, Maryland says: “The Sleep Minerals are making quite a difference.  I was regularly waking up at around 3:00 a.m. and after a few days of use my sleep improved quite a lot. I wake up once a night to go to the bathroom, but the great thing is, I then fall back asleep and sleep several more hours.  This has been a great improvement.”

Fruits, vegetables and absorbable forms of calcium and magnesium are good remedies to increase melatonin in the body and help with better sleep.  For more information, visit the Sleep Minerals II page.

Are Eating Habits Affecting Your Sleep? from Natural News

By Helen Thomas, an independent writer who writes about the natural health benefits of food, alternative medicine and natural home remedies | Courtesy of NaturalNews.com

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Shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs,
maker of the effective calcium and magnesium based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II *********************************************

The best and worst foods to promote sleep

Let me ask you a question, when was the last time you enjoyed a really good night’s rest? For many, they may need to really think about that answer. The reason is according to the National Sleep Foundation found that almost 40 million Americans suffer from some sort of sleep disorder. In addition, lack of sleep affects women more than men. However at this time it is unclear why females experience more sleepless nights than their male counterparts.

Nonetheless, lack of sleep is a very serious issue that can lead to depression, increased stress levels, irritability, mood swings, weight gain and slowness of response time. So let’s take a closer look at what can be done to prevent you from becoming one of the 40 million sleep-deprived individuals.

The first step is the make the decision that you will avoid taking medications to get more sleep. The reason is simple, you don’t want to rely on, either physically or mentally, a drug or OTC (over the counter) medicine. Instead let’s focus on making simple eating changes to help you restore your sleep.

Avoid Certain Foods

It’s true that certain types of food can keep you awake at night. These include:

  • Alcohol
  • Coffee, pop or soda
  • Spicy foods
  • Dark chocolate
  • Fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, etc.)

These types of foods place stress on your body and when your body is stressed it can’t function properly. In addition, if your body begins to function improperly, it not only increases the stress level but the imbalance will also increase.

The foods on the above list should be consumed at least five hours before you go to bed. This gives your body enough time to absorb and then eliminate any remaining components.  Also, the consumption of spicy foods should be done either at breakfast or lunch. This will allow enough time for complete digestion. In addition, fried foods also need time to be fully digested and eliminated, too.

Foods to Consume

Here are some of the top food choices to add to your diet to help improve your sleep patterns and avoid insomnia.

  • Plain ole drinking water
  • Protein-based foods (egg, meat, etc.)
  • Greens and vegetables
  • Tart Cherry Juice

In regards to the last one, tart cherry juice, this is one drink you should enjoy on a regular cherry juice sleep basis. Not only is it a good source of water, it is a natural source of melatonin. The best way to make tart cherry juice is to mix one ounce of tart cherry juice concentrate with seven ounces of water to make one eight ounce glass. One glass provides a good amount of water. However, in addition to the water the one ounce of the concentrate is packed with almost 150 nanograms (15% of a gram) of naturally occurring melatonin.

The presence of the melatonin will help you sleep better, but it is also a powerful antioxidant that will help to fight free radicals in the body.  (Definition from Nutrition Breakthroughs: an antioxidant can protect tissues from the damage caused by oxygen in the body.  The natural processes of digestion, as well as consuming unhealthy foods and drinks, can create excess oxygen.  A free radical is an unstable molecule that attacks other molecules and plays a major role in the aging process and degenerative diseases).

So, with the diluted tart cherry juice you’ll be getting a triple dose of benefits. You’ll be getting more water into your diet. You’ll be enjoying a better night’s sleep and will fight insomnia — while also giving your body the added antioxidants to free the disease causing free-radicals.

Regarding protein, a recently published study indicated that individuals who experienced less sleep ate less protein, were overweight, and didn’t take a daily dose of vitamins and minerals. This information was compared to people with normal sleeping patterns.

Also, another study revealed that people who usually got five to six hours of sleep per night drink less water and ate more fatty foods than a normal sleeper.

Finally, a normal sleeper with the longer sleep time, consumed more protein, drank more water and was not overweight. This simply means that taking care of yourself, drinking water and watching what you eat will have a positive impact on your overall length and quality of sleep. Also, adding a glass of tart cherry juice concentrate probably can’t hurt either.

magnesium benefitsComments from Nutrition Breakthroughs: Other minerals and foods proven to help with better sleep include magnesium, calcium, potassium, walnuts, almonds, bananas, fish oils and salmon.

Eating more vegetables can also increase melatonin levels in the body.  One Japanese study tracked consumption of vegetables such as tomato, pumpkin, spinach, Japanese radish, cabbage, carrot, etc., and discovered there was 16% more melatonin in the women with the highest vegetable intakes.

This health news is shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a publisher of nutrition articles and supplier of effective natural remedies since 2002. Nutrition Breakthroughs makes the original calcium and magnesium based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II.

Article source: http://blogs.naturalnews.com/eating-habits-affecting-sleep/