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

4 Ways to Vastly Improve Sleep Quality – From Natural News

improve sleep quality, fall asleepBy Angela Doss

(NaturalNews) Too much stress and too little sleep is the fool-proof recipe for declining long-term health — including a weakened immune system, impaired cognitive/memory function, heart disease, mood disorders, and premature aging, among others. And it’s a true, albeit unfortunate, story for too many these days.

Most people require between eight and ten hours of sleep each night, but they are far from getting it. Even those who do achieve close to that amount of sleep still may not feel fully rested and alert. For a good night’s rest that leads to optimum functioning and alertness, the following best practices can help.

Create a sleep sanctuary

Today’s widespread use of electric lights so disrupt the body’s natural circadian life rhythms that, when it’s time for sleeping, you should do so in complete darkness. Even a small amount of light can penetrate the optic nerve and thereby trigger the pineal gland which regulates the production of melatonin, a hormone involved in the body’s waking and sleeping patterns. For this reason, wearing a sleeping mask or installing black-out drapes over windows may prove essential to achieving the best quality rest possible. No light should enter the room. Night-lights should be avoided when possible, and clocks or clock-radios should be covered to prevent glow.

Consider the room’s temperature too. Scientists favor cooler temperatures, observing that they appear more harmonious with a person’s natural temperature drop, which brings the body to its lowest temperature just a few hours after falling asleep. Somewhere between 60 and 68 degrees is ideal, but temperatures higher than 70 degrees are not recommended. Wearing socks to bed can also help increase the cozy factor, while encouraging uninterrupted rest. Remember, too, that your bedroom is a sanctuary, and mixing television, work or other non-sleep-related activities can make the environment less conducive to sleeping.

Manage food and fluid intake

Watching what you eat and drink before bedtime can make the difference in a restful night’s sleep. Balance your fluid intake before bedtime in a way that allows you to be hydrated without having to wake up during the night to visit the restroom. Depending on your particular tolerance, alcohol, caffeine and other drugs (prescription and over-the-counter alike) may cause sleep disturbances and should be limited, or even avoided altogether.

Caffeine is not metabolized efficiently and its effects can linger in the body; whereas alcohol’s drowsy effects wear off quickly, causing you to wake and have difficulty falling asleep again. It may also prevent you from entering the deeper stages of sleep, where most healing occurs.

Eat only a light meal for dinner, avoiding foods to which you might be sensitive, like sugar, grains and pasteurized dairy, as they can lead to gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, gas, and congestion. Late night snacks are not recommended, due to their tendency to elevate blood sugar, delay sleep and encourage a hypoglycemic effect during the night.

Stick to a routine

Set a bedtime routine, and start early. This may include a relaxing activity, like taking a hot bath, sitting in a sauna, getting a massage or reading a light book (nothing too stimulating). Whatever your pleasure, be sure you’re in bed early to best support your body and even maximize its natural detoxification processes. Staying up late can cause toxins to back up into the liver, whereas the hours before midnight are most beneficial for healing. Being in bed by 9 p.m. each night is recommended.

Wake up naturally

If you must use an alarm clock to wake, avoid those with harsh or loud alarms. The body does best when it is woken from slumber easily and naturally — meaning when it is rested — rather than startled out of deep dreaming by the sudden stress of an obnoxious alarm. When your sleep is truly restful, using an alarm to wake up may no longer be necessary. Establishing a consistent bedtime and waking time (meaning weekends too) can assist your body in achieving a healthy rhythm, making it easier to fall asleep at night and wake up naturally each morning.

 

Article Source: http://www.naturalnews.com/039819_sleep_quality_dreaming_waking_up.html