Let’s talk about sleep

The month of May is officially Better Sleep Month so I thought today I would talk a little bit about what happens when you sleep, the importance of sleep, and how I get a good night’s sleep (while also saying the word sleep a lot).

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Graphic courtesy of Leesa

The above graphic shows what exactly is going on in your body when you sleep (everything from a little cat nap to deep intense sleep). Personally I’m not one for cat naps as I’m one of those people who lays down saying to myself “okay ten minute power nap time,” and end up waking up unsure what year it is and what planet I’m on. What I found most interesting about this graphic though is that in sleep of 50-60 minutes your brain becomes more active and your sleep actually starts to play an important role in your learning and memory function (makes sense why everyone always recommends a good night’s sleep before a big exam).

large.jpgBesides knowing what goes on in your sleep, I also want to touch on the benefits (and importance) of sleep. Sleep plays a crucial and central role in your overall health. It helps your body to regain energy and is involved in the healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. It also helps to control blood sugar and regulate and balance your hormones which can help you stay fit (and while that’s definitely no excuse to skip your workout for a few extra zzz’s, I won’t tell if you won’t). Sleep can also help you ease stress and balance your emotions, as the REM (dreaming period) cycle of sleep is where your brain is used in learning and developing new skills, and processing emotions, memories, and stress. Overall, basically your body is doing a lot of great stuff to keep you healthy while you’re sleeping.

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Since we’ve established that sleeping is very good for you (in fact vital to your overall health), I thought I’d share some tips on how I get a good night’s sleep.

  1. Don’t use screens at least an hour before bed (if you absolutely have to make sure they are set on night shift so you don’t have the blaring blue light in your eyes)
  2. Your sleep should never be compromised because of a bad mattress so a comfortable one is always key. If you’re in the market, check out Leesa, for a comfy foam mattress. 
  3. Try to use some lavender pillow mist, breathing in the essential oil, or using some lotion. Lavender is shown to be great for inducing sleep
  4. Do something relaxing right before bed such as taking a warm bath, meditating, or doing some calming yoga
  5. Don’t do homework or other work in bed
  6. Avoid caffeine after 5PM
  7. Don’t eat a big meal right before bed or late at night
  8. Dim your lights a couple hours before bed, lower light levels help signal to your brain to bring on sleep

If you have any tips on how you get a good night’s sleep let me know in the comments below

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