Bedtime Habits to keep your health at 100%
When we were teenagers, we were still too young to think that sleeping was anything other than wasted time. As the years go by, though, we learn to value the healthy pleasure of good sleep as it becomes one of the fundamental tools to keep us in shape, regulate hormones, control weight, and help the brain use all its resources and mechanisms to keep our faculties working properly. That is why we are going to remind you of some fundamental steps to organize better sleep for yourself:
An adequate amount
During the day, the brain collects various toxins like adenosine, a chemical that inhibits neuronal activity and accumulates while we are awake. The more hours we spend in a state of alertness, the more adenosine we accumulate. At night while we sleep, the mechanism that gets rid of this and other toxins is activated. This balance helps us remain alert, active, and focused throughout the day while still resting at night. (1)
During sleep, the brain will also organize information received during wakefulness. During the various stages of sleep, memories are stored, and neuronal connections are strengthened. This data is separated for storage while the brain ‘resets’ to continue functioning. Hence the recommendation to sleep 7-8 hours every night. Some experts from the National Sleep Foundation even recommend between up to 9 hours for adults between 18 and 64 years old, so that the brain can reset, and the rest of the body fulfill its regenerative processes. (2)
Create and stick to a daily sleep schedule
All habits, especially good ones, are not created from one day to the next. Instead, they are the result of consistency and repetition of a routine that works. To create a schedule that leads to a pleasant night’s rest requires several steps that should be followed daily. Modern adults do not sleep well naturally so they must create the conditions, starting by unwinding from the day, turning off the lights and electronic devices, taking a warm bath, wearing comfortable clothes, and listening to something pleasant can all help create the right conditions to achieve total relaxation – of both the body and the mind. An hour before going to bed, start your sleep ritual by drinking an infusion that can kick start the process, such as passionflower. You can also add supplements containing melatonin to help adjust your biological clock, and ashwagandha and magnesium to help manage stress and muscle relaxation.
Temperature is key
Whether you're a cold person or going through hormonal changes that raise your internal thermostat, try setting the temperature of your room to nice and cool. Sleep experts say thermoregulation is critical for good sleep. Research has shown that two hours before falling asleep, our body temperature begins to drop and the likelihood of achieving deeper sleep during the first stage of the night increases the cooler we are physically. While there are some guidelines that indicate we should have a certain temperature in our room to achieve this, the best gauge of how cool it should be is indicated by the level of comfort you feel at a particular temperature. Try lowering the thermostat in your room a few degrees until you feel comfortable. (3)
Keep a sleep diary
Organize and track your sleep. It sounds complicated but is especially effective for people with a certain amount of clutter or a poor sleep routine. Use a notebook or your phone to write down how you slept the night before. Record if you woke up during the night, if you went to the bathroom, how long it takes to fall asleep, the amount of caffeine consumed during the day and at what time, the room temperature set each night, the supplements used to help you fall asleep and, above all, what time you went to bed and the time you woke up. This will help you analyze which strategic combination provides you better results, so you can improve your sleep and repeat a successful routine.
Respect your schedule
As important as it is to get the right amount of sleep, it is equally important to go to bed and wake up at the same time. There is evidence showing that variability in bedtime and waking up is associated with poorer health. Specifically, an Australian study on 1,317 adults with an average age of 57 years showed that varying bedtime and wake-up time by as little as 30 minutes reflects lower diet quality, higher alcohol consumption, more sedentary lifestyle, frequent insufficient sleep, and an overall poor behavior pattern that affects quality of life. Therefore, the greater the consistency in your sleep schedule, the more likely you are to be healthy. (4)
Just a few tweaks here and there to your bedtime routine can make immense changes for a complete turnaround in favor of your overall health.
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Your Santo Remedio Team
2. Jean-Philippe Chaput, Caroline Dutil, Hugues Sampasa-Kanyinga, Sleeping hours: what is the ideal number and how does age impact this?, Nat Sci Sleep. 2018; 10: 421–430. Published online 2018 Nov 27. doi: 10.2147/NSS.S163071, PMCID: PMC6267703, PMID: 30568521
PMCID: PMC7323637. PMID: 32617439
4. Mitch J Duncan, Christopher E Kline, Amanda L Rebar, Corneel Vandelanotte, Camille E Short, Greater bed- and wake-time variability is associated with less healthy lifestyle behaviors: a cross-sectional study. Z Gesundh Wiss. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2017 Feb 1.
Published in final edited form as: Z Gesundh Wiss. 2016 Feb; 24(1): 31–40.
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