SLEEP, Why We Need it, What Goes on During it, and Natural Remedies to Promote it!
Sleep is such an important time for the body to restore itself but many people struggle with falling asleep or getting enough sleep . Without an adequate amount of sleep your body becomes stressed which can then result in weight gain, hair loss, premature aging, lower immune function and, hormone imbalance. I am going to explain in a bit more detail how your body is affected by lack of sleep as well as a short summary of your sleep cycles. This is an important part of understanding what it is you need and how your body is affected without it. I will also share my go to natural sleep remedies to assist you with a restful slumber.
LACK OF SLEEP, KINDA A BIG DEAL!
Sleep is important to pretty much all aspects for your health, so what happens when you don't get enough sleep?
HORMONES: Did you know how much your hormones are affected by your sleep? Sleep helps to maintain and balance your hormones. If you aren't getting enough sleep you may struggle with feeling hungry all the time, your level of ghrelin (hunger hormones) goes up and your level of leptin (full hormone) goes down. A growth hormone is also released while you sleep which is so important for children but this hormones is also responsible for repairing cells and tissue as well as it boosts muscle mass! Sleep impacts how your body handles insulin (the hormone that controls your blood glucose level). Sleep deficiency results in a higher than normal blood sugar level.
OBESITY: You may find yourself eating much more than you should when you aren't getting enough sleep from the hunger hormone. One study even found with each hour of sleep lost, the odds of becoming obese went up. Yikes!
BRAIN FUNCTION: One of the most important things the brain does while asleep is it clears out toxins much more rapidly while asleep than when awake. Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation.
BODY HEALTH: While sleeping the body repairs tissue, including heart and blood vessels. Long term poor sleep is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
- N1-This is the stage when you feel half asleep and still have some awareness of your surroundings and are easily awoken. This is also the stage where you involuntarily jerk or kick.
- N2-Slightly deeper stage of sleep, body temperature drops . You actually spend about half of your sleeping hours in stage two.
- N3– Stage 3 cycles you into the most “productive” of the sleep cycle, muscles relax, tissue grows and repair, energy is restored, melatonin hormone is going strong, and blood pressure drops.
- REM– Rapid Eye Movement sleep is when most dreaming occurs. In REM, muscles are paralyzed and the mind and body regenerate at an amazing rate. Only about a quarter of your daily sleep is in REM but it is vitally important.
Research shows that the best sleep happens on a consistent schedule. This is because your circadian rhythm remains constant and your hormone production is optimal. The most beneficial hours of sleep are between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., though most adults miss about half of this.
Now that you have a better understanding of sleep and its importance I'll share with you a few of my go to remedies for better sleep!
Natural Sleep Remedies
DIFFUSE OR ROLL-ON ESSENTIAL OILS : Not only do they smell goos essential oils can help promote sleep. I typically just use lavender in the diffuser at night but Vetiver, Roman Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, Bergamot, Sandalwood, Marjoram, and Cedarwood are all great options.
EPSOLM SALT BATH: Not only is a hot bath or shower a great way to get your entire body relaxed adding epsolm salt (naturally occurring compound of minerals made up of magnesium and sulfate) can help since it is a natural muscle relaxant.
CHAMOMILE TEA: Chamomile is a mild tranquilizer and sleep-inducer. Sedative effects may be due to the flavonoid, apigenin that binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain. Plus it tasted good :)
HAVE A NIGHTTIME ROUTINE: Having a consistent routine to unwind before bed is a great way to mentally prepare for sleep. Mine looks like this:
A cup of either chamomile tea or hot lemon water, hot shower or bath, brush teeth, fill up diffuser and humidifier, roll on essential oils, and lights out!
Some people enjoy reading before bed, this is a greta addition to a nightly routine. Whatever your routine try to keep it as consistent as possible.
MELATONIN: I use this as a last resort if I cannot fall asleep. As discussed earlier Melatonin is the hormone your body produces for sleep. I take this when I am battling jet lag or every once in a while to turn my brain off. However this is not a good long term solution since this is an artficial hormone with side affects!
I hope you learned a bit more about sleep and why your body needs it as well as some helpful tips to get your sleeping soundly.