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Stress Relief and Sleep
Too many people live their lives as though sleeping were a complete waste of time. They may feel that getting 8 hours of sleep cuts into time that could be spent on more productive activity. They reason that it’s far healthier to be awake burning calories, even viewing “excessive” sleep as an indication of laziness. An about-face change in this personal philosophy may be the simplest and single best thing you do for yourself, having an enormous impact on your health. Read the three statements below every day until you know them by heart, believe them, and live by them.
1. Eight or more hours of sleep per night is essential to my health and well-being. The body does its repair work and makes many of the important chemicals that comprise the immune system while you sleep.
2. I could be slimmer and more healthy if I get 8 or more hours of sleep than if I habitually stay up late exercising. In fact, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine recently found that regular sleep loss is linked to elevated amounts of ghrelin, a hormone that triggers appetite, and reduced leptin, a hormone that tells your body when it’s full.
3. Getting 8 or more hours of sleep better enables me to learn during waking hours.Far from being lazy, some parts of the brain are actually more active during sleep than they are during waking hours. Your sleeping brain processes and organizes bits of information that you accumulated during the day, shifting them into long-term storage so they won’t be lost. If you get adequate sleep, you will find it easier to learn repetitive skills.
Supplements Can Improve Sleep and Relaxation
• Sleep depends on relaxed muscles. Make sure that you provide the nutrients that your muscles need to reach a state of relaxation including the B-Complex, Vitamin C, magnesium, and essential fatty acids (EFAs).
• Gradually you become tired and fall asleep as the body produces a hormone called melatonin in response to darkness. Certain factors interfere with production of melatonin, however, including age, general health, working the “graveyard” shift while sleeping during daylight hours, traveling across multiple time zones, etc. In these situations a melatonin supplement for the short term may be beneficial.
• Herbal teas or supplements that include valerian, skullcap, passionflower, hops and chamomile have long been used to effectively promote sleep.
• Studies show that Panax (Korean) Ginseng and American Ginseng help to lower levels of stress hormones, both immediately after stressful incidents and during periods of prolonged stress. Ginseng is more effective when taken for several months to a year rather than in short term doses like many other herbs.
7 Ways to Better Sleep
• Invest in a supportive and comfortable mattress and pillow.
• Don’t use the TV to help you fall asleep, as the flickering light actually works against restful slumber.
• Keep the bedroom quiet, uncluttered, cool and dark.
• Write your concerns in a journal, as this helps unclutter your mind.
• Establish a relaxing bedtime routine by unwinding to soothing music or light reading.
• Take a warm bath with the calming scent of lavender or neroli to induce longer periods of deep sleep.
• If you can’t sleep, breathe deeply and mentally relax every part of your body, starting at your toes and working your way up.