Tips and Tricks for Good Sleep Hygiene and Supplements

February 12, 2021

Tips and Tricks for Good Sleep Hygiene and Supplements

Did you know that approximately 35% of adults sleep less than the recommended seven hours per night? This is according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When we talk about health, we usually check on food intake, exercise and stress management. But getting enough quality sleep is another important pillar of good health. Without it, it can actually sabotage your efforts in getting healthy and lose weight.

With a very busy, stress out and overloaded sugar and caffeine, modern world, we have undermined the effects of chronic sleep deprivation. Individuals who do not sleep well and do not sleep enough hours have an increased risk of developing health conditions such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Chronic Kidney disease
  • Depression
  • Diabetes

How much do I need to sleep?

American Academy of Sleep medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommends a number of hours according to your age group. Research shows that striving for consistency on the number of hours each night will benefit the individual.

Age group

Recommended hours of sleep per day

4-12 months

12-16 hours (including naps)

1-2 years

11-14 hours (including naps)

3-5 years

10-13 hours (including naps)

6-12 years

9-12 hours

13-18 years

8-10 hours

18+ years

7 hours or more

 

What sleep hygiene should I follow?

But first, what is sleep hygiene?

Sleep hygiene includes routines and simple practices that you can do that lead to quality nighttime sleep. It can help restart the body’s circadian rhythm, reduce stress, supports detox, balances the hormones and many more.

Here are 5 simple tips that you can do to improve your sleep hygiene:

  1. Stay consistent with your sleep schedule. As much as possible, go to bed and wake up the same time every day. If there are days when you missed, it’s alright. Try again.
  2. Upon waking up, take in more daylight and limit artificial light. Reinforce the waking phase of your body’s sleep cycle by allowing daylight to enter your eyes. Spend more time outside as much as possible. At nighttime, lessen your exposure to blue light from devices such as cell phones, computer monitors and tablets. This tricks your body into thinking that it is still daytime, making it harder for you to sleep.
  3. Move more. It has been shown that regular physical activity for over four weeks can show improvement on sleep in both healthy individuals and those with sleep disorders. However, make sure you don’t exercise too close to bedtime, as it may interfere with sleep.
  4. Take time to distress. Reduce stress and worries by practicing mindfulness, daily self-reflection and feeling grateful. You can go on nature walks, do some crafts or play with your pet.
  5. Avoid heavy meals, alcohol and caffeine before bed. Eating close to bedtime can affect your quality of sleep. While alcohol can help you fall asleep, it can also cause you to wake up more frequently during the night. For caffeine, it is best not to consume after around 2pm. Drinking coffee six hours before bedtime, may keep you awake through the night.

What are the supplements for quality sleep?

While there are a number of supplement ingredients that are researched to benefit sleep, always consult your healthcare practitioner to make sure that it is the right one for you.

  1. Lemon balm. A botanical herb that has long been used in European traditional medicine. Research suggests that it may reduce stress, improve mood and reduce anxiety.
  2. Magnesium. One of the essential mineral that has more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps in regulating sleep, hormonal balance and reduces leg movements and muscle twitches that may lead to nighttime arousals. Aside from supplementing, you can also increase magnesium intake by eating beans, avocado and spinach.
  3. Melatonin. A natural chemical produced by our brain in response to darkness to regulate the circadian rhythm. Research shows that melatonin can help improve sleep latency.
  4. Valerian. A herb that has been found to improve sleep disturbances by enhancing deep sleep and reduce effects of stress.
  5. Vitamin D. Research shows that low levels of vitamin D has been linked with individuals with poor sleep quality and duration and those with sleep disorders. Individuals can increase Vitamin D intake by eating fish, eggs, liver or by supplementation.
  6. Vitamin B6. This plays an important role in the conversion of 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) to serotonin which is used to produce melatonin. It is naturally found in animal proteins, potatoes and bananas.

It is important to know that each individual is different and it is possible that not all of these may work for you. Consistent sleep hygiene, correct nutrition and lifestyle need to go hand in hand. It is best to seek guidance from a healthcare practitioner to help you identify the best way to go.

 






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