Every day, we build up and carry a toxic load and sleep is key to allow our nervous system to rest and detoxify.
Sleep supports your immune system, preventing illness, disease and premature ageing. Poor quality or limited sleep on a regular basis is linked to poor immune function.
An interesting study by Prather et.al in NCBI in 2015, revealed that adults who regularly slept less than six hours per night were almost five times more likely to get a cold compared to those who slept well for more than seven hours a night.
There are five stages of sleep that rotate between Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) and Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and include:
- light sleep
- moderate to deep sleep
- deepest sleep
The study suggests to sleep well for 7-9 hours is optimum to support a healthy immune system & help you get adequate levels at all five stages of sleep, thus supporting this key wellness pillar.
To rest well doesn’t come easily to everybody – if that’s the case for you here are our “sleep-well-hacks”
- Blacken the bedroom: make sure you have blackout curtains or an eye mask for this will encourage your body to get a great balance of serotonin & melatonin. This makes you sleep deeply to feel refreshed and happy from adequate serotonin production.
- Cool Room: set your bedroom so it’s not too hot (around 20 degrees Celsius) to support deep sleep.
- Avoid artificial light which overstimulates you and disrupts your circadian rhythms
- Try to get good sunlight exposure each day or use a SAD lamp to support healthy serotonin & vitamin D levels.
- Avoid the news, stressful emails or situations before bed if possible to circumvent overthinking situations you have no control over and toss and turn all night reducing your quality of sleep.
- Skip caffeine after 2 pm: Caffeine hits a peak level in your bloodstream within 30 to 60 minutes. It has a half-life of 3 to 5 hours (the time it takes for your body to eliminate half of the drug from your system). The remaining caffeine can stay in your body for 6+ hours so I always tell my patients to avoid caffeine after 2 pm if you have trouble sleeping.
We all have work deadlines, especially with new current work-life demands with homeschooling and your regular workload, taking you much longer to get through all of your tasks for the day. Caffeine is a tried and tested successful tool if you need to stay alert so we at Rejuv are not saying now is the time to give up caffeine if it’s supporting you.
Balance is key, so try to live with healthy boundaries re caffeine and be mindful. Ask yourself if you need or really need this, or are you reaching for a cup of Joe out of habit and potentially reducing the quality of your sleep?
- Reduce your sugar intake, which will reduce your blood sugar spikes and reduce your overall stress/adrenal/cortisol load and therefore positively affect your sleep. Have treat meals on weekends, when you don’t need to wake up early, so you’re fresh for your usual life demands.
- Journal before bed: write down 5 things you are grateful for and take a moment to feel this in your body & nervous system. Do a brain dump re all the things you need to get done as well as a list of things that are out of your control so you can actively release those fears and avoid tossing and turning all night
- Avoid blue light on screens 1 hour or more before your bedtime to reduce overstimulating your ideal gland and reducing deep sleep.
- Implement wind-down rituals like sleep-inducing teas to calm the nervous system (such as the WelleCo Sleep Welle Calming Tea with hops, valerian and passionflower – I notice a huge difference by not taking this before bed each night (or reach for chamomile tea which is in most of our cupboards).
- Take an Epsom salts bath and create a relaxing environment with candles, lavender, frankincense and a good book before you go to bed to encourage deep and restorative sleep.