It is exactly a week since daylight savings – lose an hour of sleep – and boy did I feel it this week! Interesting, I heard that the Monday after is the least productive day AND the most accidents caused. I do have to say that was actually true. But how can losing that one hour of sleep affect us so much?
Now don’t get me wrong, I much rather have the longer days than the dreary shorter ones, you know the ones where you get to work and it’s dark, you leave at 5pm it’s dark so no Vitamin D, which is can lead to other issues. I do love my 7-8 hours of sleep BUT the timing is not as important as the quality of sleep. I used to have a Fitbit that would track my sleep patterns and I love those things but I am now well aware if I have a good night’s sleep or not by being in REM sleep and how I know is that I remember my dreams. Some vivid and weird, others pretty normal. Dream interpretations are hot on my radar now so be on the look out for a future blog post on this topic. So why is having a good night’s sleep important?
The benefits of a good night’s sleep
Memory and focus
What happens when you don’t get enough sleep? You tend to get very groggy and have a bit of brain fog. And no amount of caffeine (or MCT oil) can help. Just like our body, our brains and our mind need time to rest, to re-charge and if that does not happen – just like our muscles in our body – our muscles in our mind do not grow and we are left with brain fog. With the right amount of good sleep, we are sharp, we are able to think faster and able to concentrate and focus more.
Want to lose weight? Then get a good night’s sleep! Why is this? Well when we don’t have ample amount of good sleep we don’t use the insulin we produce properly we become insulin resistant and that in turn results into storing fat in all the wrong places. In addition to being insulin resistant, we tend to reach for the sugary, salty, unhealthy foods since that is what we crave when we are sleep deprived and without the ability to focus and make rational decisions we give in to the cravings. At the same time, our cortisol levels are higher and all of this can cause the body to go completely out of whack and can quite possibly snowball into a continuous cycle if not taken care of right away.
Oh boy, when I wake up from a poor night’s sleep and see the bags underneath my eyes I just want to grab a pair of sunglasses and wear them all day hopefully trying to start a “cool” trend. But what’s not so cool, is the fact that without sufficient sleep your skin suffers as well. Cortisol not only makes you gain weight but it can also give you acne and combine that with higher stress (see below) it’s a recipe for disaster. What sleep does is increase the collagen in your body which is not only great for your hair and nails but also keeps your skin looking young and fresh. In addition, lack of sleep will halt the production of growth hormone which stimulates cell production and fights against anti-aging. One more thing, your skin becomes extremely thirsty with lack of sleep. And yes water does help but so does a good night’s sleep as sleep deprivation can cause inflammation.
Stress and irritability
Right next to being hangry, sleep deprivation can also trigger my mood swings and I become easily stressed and irritable. A very good reason is that it can cause a depletion of serotonin – a calming hormone that helps us keep our “cool” under stress.
How do we have a good night’s sleep?
There are a few supplements I recommend for a good night’s sleep. One of them is Magnesium – which is what I take every evening an hour before I go to sleep. I have mentioned Magnesium before and still swear by it. Magnesium calms the central nervous system and the muscles. It is very relaxing and is definitely a deficient in our foods which is why we need to take it in supplement form. The recommended dose is 500mg and I recommend this product. Another supplement is Melatonin – a sleep inducing hormone. It is recommended to start at low dose 3-5mg, however I bought 10 mg and felt completely out of it and disoriented. If you have a higher tolerance than Melatonin is good and I recommend this product.
Avoid the blue screen of death
You may not realize it but looking at your phone can be keeping you up. Your phone or computer screen has a blue light which effects melatonin more than any other wavelength. By turning off your phone or not looking at your phone/computer blue screen an hour before you go to sleep will help. I change my phone to a yellow screen starting at 7pm until 7am which helps as well.
Sleep music and meditation
When we are wound up and our minds are racing it is impossible to get some decent shut eye. Another good way to ensure a good night’s sleep is to either meditate and relax to the sound of your breathing or listen to very soothing sleep music. Both of these things will slow the breathing and clear the mind to make room for the natural feeling of calm and relaxation which will help to sleep.
Sleep deprivation and sleeplessness happens way too often which affects our whole being internally – our mind, our body, our skin and our mood which then affects our outside world by being unproductive, irritable towards others, and creates a negative vibe. It is imperative to have a good amount of REM sleep for positivity, energy, health and happiness!