HOW TO RELEASE STRESS AND SLEEP LIKE A BABY
2 MIN READ
How many hours of sleep do you aim for each night? How many are you actually getting? Maybe you’re aiming for six to eight hours; you get into bed around 11pm, turn the lights out around 11:30pm, and set the alarm for 6am. If you’re one of the lucky people who are able to fall asleep fast and stay asleep, then you may just be hitting the six hour mark. If you’re like the vast majority of people, chances are this isn’t the case.
In fact, studies have shown that the average person gets less than six hours of sleep per night. The problem is, six hours of sleep isn’t enough to start with. So, if you’re getting less than that you may be causing severe long term damage.
Matt Walker, scientist and professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, described in his Ted Talk “Sleep is Your Superpower”, how sleep affects your genes. He outlines a study that measured the gene activity in a group of healthy adults who were limited to six hours of sleep a night, and compared it to when these same individuals were getting eight hours of sleep a night. The study found two significant findings.
The first; a sizeable 711 genes were distorted in their activity caused by a lack of sleep. The second; the study discovered that half of the genes were shut off and half were up-regulated by a lack of sleep. The study showed that the genes that were shut off were the genes associated with immune function, which we understand plays a role in both your physical health and your skin health. On the flip side, the genes that were increased by lack of sleep were the genes responsible for long term chronic inflammation and genes associated with stress and cardiovascular disease.
“There is simply no aspect of your wellness that can retreat at the sign of sleep deprivation and get away unscathed”, says Walker in his Ted Talk.
Sleep is critical for every aspect of your wellbeing, from your ability to learn and retain new information, to your body’s ability to heal and to fight off disease, to strengthening your organs and balancing hormones, to reducing inflammation and stress. Sleep is not only your time to restore and nourish your mind, but it is also the time to lay anxiety and stress to rest.
A cure for stress and anxiety is sleep, but that same stress and anxiety may be preventing you from sleeping. So, what do you do when you get caught in this vicious cycle?
Here are three powerful tips to release anxiety and get the best sleep of your life:
1. Commit to a consistent bedtime and wake-time
Setting a consistent bedtime is one of the most effective ways to subconsciously train your brain, align your circadian rhythm, and radically improve your sleep-wake cycles. If you know what time you need to wake up in the morning, work backwards and aim to have the lights out eight and a half to nine hours before your alarm goes off.
2. Implement a calming nighttime routine
Having a consistent nightly routine is absolutely key in lowering your cortisol levels and releasing the mental and physical tension that can prevent you from falling and staying asleep. Commence your nighttime routine one to two hours before you’re planning to get into bed. Start by avoiding screens (this includes phones, computers, and yes, TV’s) then move through various rituals and routines that help you release tension and instill a sense of calm and tranquility. Activities such as meditation, heat therapy, journaling, and yoga are all fantastic tools to add into your nighttime routine.
3. Keep your room dark and cool
There are a plethora of benefits of sleeping in a cool room, from preventing diseaseto, preserving your skin, to restoring your mental wellness. Your body temperature naturally drops at night as part of your body’s natural preparation for sleep. By reducing the temperature in your room, you’re supporting this preparation which will help you fall asleep faster. The darkness will aid in triggering your body to produce natural melatonin, and will help you stay asleep.
Following these three steps will transform your sleep quality, and make a massive impact on everything from your skin health to your mental health to your physical health. If you’re looking for an added boost, you can bolster the benefits of following these steps by adding sustainable supplements like ULTIMATE PM into your nighttime routine.
Great sleep won’t happen overnight, but making it a priority and putting in the conscious effort to improve your sleep-wake cycles will transform your life overtime. So stay committed and feel free to utilize our resources. You’ve got this, and we’re always here to champion you and support you on your journey!