Sleep, Workout, Eat Well, Drink "FloWater", Meditate, Repeat!!
In today's data driven technology world with headbands, bracelets, rings and numerous other devices that can track our health, it can be quite overwhelming! We’ve know for years that we need to eat well, exercise, sleep, etc. for optimum health, but is there one change that we can make; is there one thing we can do to improve our quality of life? YES! Sleep is that one thing. Sleep allows our body to repair itself; it affects every aspect of our health, from our brain function, to our physical and mental well-being, if we’re not getting enough.
When you sleep your brain forms new pathways for learning and remembering. You will have better creativity and problem-solving skills. It has been shown that during good quality sleep, the brain clears away toxic proteins that are associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Sleep not only affects your brain, but your overall health. Chronic sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. It also increases the risk of obesity, depresses your immune system, and negatively affects hormone levels. The list is endless!
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends that teenagers get 8-10 hours, and adults over 18 get 7-8 hours each night. But how do we get enough quality sleep? Already using a CPAP machine and feeling like Darth Vader? 😉 Trying not to take Ambien or other sleeping pills? There are a few simple things that you can do: sauna or even a hot bath will not only relax you, but as your body works to cool itself down afterwards, it results in a more optimal core temperature for sleeping. Drinking warm water with honey and apple cider vinegar, or simply eating 1-2 teaspoons of raw honey, will help to keep insulin levels normalized and allow tryptophan to more readily enter the brain to help induce sleep. A sleep mask will help keep light out as well. [Read more on light-at-night here.]
Our latest obsession for promoting quality sleep is blue blocker glasses. Junk blue light from our phones, computer screens and artificial indoor lighting, suppresses melatonin and wreaks havoc on our bodies’ circadian rhythms. This negatively impacts our ability to fall asleep and sleep well. If you are on your phone and on the computer most of the day, as we all are, it can lead to eye strain and headaches. Blue light has also been linked to macular degeneration. In an age where adults and young kids are now exposed more than ever to screens of all kinds, it’s important that we’re protecting our kids and ourselves from potential vision problems in the future. If something as simple as wearing a pair of dorky (or not-so-dorky) glasses will help, we are all for it!
We’ve recently started wearing blue blockers for computer work, while checking our phones, and a few hours before bedtime. We are also having Val (our office manager) and Jodie (our receptionist), wear them since they spend hours in front of the computer being exposed to this form of junk light. As much as we try to minimize the use of technology, it’s almost impossible. Our kids are wearing the latest blue blocker glasses while they do homework and when they are gaming. They love the variety of styles they can choose from and the cool technology - and they actually wear them! To promote better quality sleep, wearing them two hours before bed helps filter out the blue light (which we also get from the sun) so our body knows it’s no longer daytime, and therefore melatonin is produced and we can fall asleep when our body is supposed to based on our circadian rhythm.
The jury is still out as to whether the glasses are working for us, but in our experience so far, our eyes do feel better and we’ve been sleeping pretty well. Placebo, perhaps, but we feel it’s worth the investment to try them. We love new science and technology and at the very least, we love to laugh at ourselves! Here are three of the brands that we are currently using if you’re interested in trying them out: gunnar.com, swanwicksleep.com and truedark.com.
If you’d like more information, here are some good articles on sleep deprivation as well as blue blockers: