Healthy sleep is considered one of the three most important foundations of health. However, sleep disturbance is a common phenomenon that significantly affects the quality of life.
Sleep physiology is actively studied by science and thanks to research, we can know what psychological techniques and supplements can be used to maintain a healthy sleep.
Why is sleep so important for health?
The relationship between sleep and the health of our body cells, including the proper functioning of brain cells, has been scientifically proven. When we do not get enough sleep, our bodies recover more slowly, our mood decreases, our condition becomes unstable, and our concentration and attention stability deteriorate.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society “recommend that adults sleep at least seven hours each night to maintain optimal health and well-being. Sleeping less than seven hours a day is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental disorders.”
The main causes of poor sleep
Bad sleep can manifest itself in various forms. These can be problems falling asleep or waking up frequently at night. This may be due to various reasons:
- High levels of daytime stress
- Excessive use of caffeine, nicotine and / or alcohol
- The influence of electronics and the destructive effects of blue light
- Anxiety, depression and hormonal imbalance
- Violation of the circadian rhythm due to irregular daily routine (due to travel, work, social life)
- Late meals right before bedtime
How to improve your sleep
Try to introduce rituals into your life that will help improve sleep.
1. Activate your parasympathetic nervous system (it is responsible for the state of rest and digestion of food).
Digestion of food promotes the outflow of blood from the brain to the abdomen, which means that the central nervous system slows down, and you feel sleepy. Slow breathing, stretching exercise helps to relax the body.
2. Eat natural foods at least two hours before bedtime.
Eating processed foods that cause blood sugar spikes can cause stress hormones such as adrenaline to circulate in the body at night. Natural products are much easier to digest and help to reach a state of rest faster. Choose healthy fats, a variety of organic plant products and protein.
3. The room should be dark and cool.
Studies show that our body rests deeper at cooler temperatures in the range of 16.6 to 21 degrees Celsius. The darkness in the room has the same effect. Avoid the light, it stops the production of melatonin, the hormone that tells your body it’s time to sleep.
4. Reduce the impact of electronics.
If possible, turn off your devices at least two hours before bedtime. If you’re often under fluorescent lights or at the screen, buy a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses to wear during the day and evening. There are also supplements for the health of the visual system that you can include in your diet.
5. Avoid exercise before going to bed.
Of course, we need daily physical activity, but exercise for three hours before going to bed can have a stimulating effect and provide a release of cortisol (the so-called second wind).
6. Sleep for eight hours.
Try to put your head on the pillow every evening at a certain time until 23: 00. Cortisol spikes can occur around 23:00, and if you stay awake after that time, you may not fall asleep for much longer than you would like.
7. Take sleeping supplement.
Many minerals and vitamins such as magnesium, melatonin, melissa, vitamin B6, amino acids and plant compounds are scientifically proven to improve sleep.
Natural remedies that improve sleep
It is believed that this useful mineral promotes muscle relaxation, hydration, energy production and deactivation of adrenaline. The Journal of Research in Medical Science reports that supplements containing about 500 mg of magnesium in a daily dose help to relieve insomnia and improve sleep efficiency.
Melatonin is a natural sleep hormone that is produced at night by the pineal gland of the brain and provides a daily rhythm of sleep and wakefulness, called the circadian rhythm.
Some foods contain melatonin or tryptophan, an amino acid that helps boost melatonin levels. Here are some of them:
A more common way to get more melatonin is by taking supplements.
3. Lemon mint leaf
Lemon mint, or melissa officinalis is effective for finding peace of mind and improving the quality of sleep. One double-blind study found that a dose of 600 mg of standardized extract not only helped maintain a balanced emotional state, but also contributed to overall calm.
Melissa can be taken in the form of tea, tinctures and capsules, as well as in the composition of chewable sweets to improve sleep.