How To Sleep Soundly

Do you have trouble falling asleep, interrupted sleep, and/or wake in the morning feeling tired instead of refueled?  

These issues can go hand-in-hand with the menopausal years and beyond.  Lack of enough REM sleep, which restores and rejuvenates us, can reduce testosterone and other hormone levels.

New research published in The European Heart Journal in 2013 also links insomnia with increased risk of heart disease.  The study of 54,279 Norwegian adults found subjects with one symptom of insomnia had a 17% increased risk of heart disease.  Two symptoms correlated with a 92% increase.  Subjects with three symptoms of insomnia had a 353% increased risk of heart disease.  The results are particularly significant for women because sleep problems put us at higher risk for cardiovascular issues than men.

How much you sleep and when you sleep affects the adrenals and the rest and repair action of your body.    Melatonin, “the sleep hormone,” is just one non-prescription option, and works best when sleeping in a pitch-black room.

Quality sleep is essential for overall health and well-being. Here are five essential secrets backed by medical research to help you optimize your sleep:

  1. Limit Screen Time: 📵 Research shows that exposure to the blue light emitted by screens, such as those of smartphones, tablets, and computers, can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Limiting screen time before bed can help promote natural melatonin production, making it easier to fall asleep and achieve restorative sleep.

  2. Establish Sleep Hygiene: 🧖‍♀️ Sleep hygiene refers to practices and habits that promote quality sleep. Creating a relaxing bedtime routine, such as taking a warm bath, reading a book, or practicing relaxation techniques like meditation or gentle yoga, can signal to your body that it's time to unwind and prepare for sleep. Consistent bedtime routines can help regulate your internal clock and improve sleep quality.

  3. Avoid Alcohol Before Bed: 🍷 While alcohol may initially make you feel relaxed and drowsy, it can disrupt the normal sleep cycle and lead to fragmented and restless sleep. Research indicates that alcohol consumption before bed can suppress REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is crucial for cognitive function, memory consolidation, and emotional processing. Limiting alcohol consumption, especially before bedtime, can help improve sleep quality and overall health.

  4. Check for Sleep Apnea: 😴 Sleep apnea is a common yet serious sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep. It can lead to daytime fatigue, morning headaches, and an increased risk of cardiovascular problems if left untreated. If you experience symptoms such as loud snoring, gasping for air during sleep, or excessive daytime sleepiness, consider undergoing a sleep study to diagnose and treat sleep apnea effectively. Treatment options may include lifestyle modifications, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, or oral appliances.

  5. Practice Deep Breathing: 🌬️ Deep breathing exercises, such as diaphragmatic breathing or progressive muscle relaxation, can help relax your body and mind before bedtime. Research suggests that deep breathing techniques stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation and reducing stress and anxiety levels. Incorporating deep breathing exercises into your bedtime routine can help calm your mind, release tension, and prepare your body for restorative sleep.

By implementing these five essential secrets into your daily routine, you can unlock the rejuvenating power of quality sleep and enjoy improved overall health and well-being.

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