Unlocking the Power of Sleep



This month we are focusing in on sleep as it is one of the most discussed topics in store and is crucial for our overall health and wellbeing.

Are you troubled by difficulties in achieving a restful night's sleep?
If so, you are not alone as it is thought to regularly affect as many as 1 in every 3 people.  So, grab your favorite cozy blanket, settle in, and let's explore the wonderful world of sleep together.


Why is sleep so important?
Here are some key reasons why we need sleep:

  • Restoration and Repair: During sleep, the body undergoes essential processes of repair, restoration, and rejuvenation. This includes repairing tissues, muscles, and cells, as well as consolidating memories and processing information.
  • Physical Health: Sleep plays a vital role in supporting immune function, metabolism, and cardiovascular health. Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased risk of various health problems, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and weakened immune function.

  • Cognitive Function: Sleep is essential for optimal brain function. It helps with memory consolidation, learning, problem-solving, and decision-making. Adequate sleep is crucial for maintaining cognitive abilities, concentration, and productivity.

  • Emotional Well-being: Sleep is closely tied to emotional regulation and mental health. Getting enough sleep can help stabilize mood, reduce stress, anxiety, and irritability, and promote overall emotional resilience. Chronic sleep deprivation is associated with an increased risk of mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.

  • Hormone Regulation: Sleep plays a critical role in regulating hormones that control appetite, metabolism, and stress response. Lack of sleep can disrupt hormone levels, leading to increased hunger and cravings, imbalances in blood sugar levels, and heightened stress.

  • Physical Performance: Adequate sleep is essential for optimal physical performance and recovery. It helps to enhance athletic performance, coordination, reaction time, and muscle repair. Athletes and active individuals often prioritize sleep as part of their training regimen.

What is good sleep?

Two phases of sleep have been identified by experts and scientists. With normal or good sleep, we move from one phase to the other and back again in cycles lasting between 90 and 120 minutes. These phases are known as:

  • a. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. During this phase, the brain is very active and our eyes move quickly from side to side (hence the name). Dreams occur during REM sleep and when sleeping well, we wake in the morning coming out of REM sleep which is why we remember our last dream of the night
  • b. Non-REM sleep. During this phase of sleep, our brain is quieter, but our bodies move around the bed more. This is when we experience ‘deep sleep’. Interestingly, sleep-walking takes place during non-REM sleep.

With good sleep we will have short periods lasting for a minute or so during which we are awake. These episodes are normal and take place several times a night – they are part of the way our sleep moves through the REM and non-REM phases.


Maximize Your Zzz's: How to get a good nights sleep:

Good nights start with a good morning - Our Circadian rhythm kick starts with bright light in the morning.  Our retina’s cue the brain to produce Serotonin which plays a role in mood, emotions, appetite and digestion.  As the day grows dark our brain now converts the serotonin to melatonin which the brain uses to sleep.  Try to start your day with 15 - 30 minutes of sunlight.
 
Movement  - Exercise is good for sleep, just not to late in the day.   Exercising at the right time prepares your body for the need to ‘rest and regenerate’ at night. Any movement is good for you, even if it is just a walk round the block
 
Nutrition - Avoid caffeine, alcohol and late-night snacking. There will still be 1/2 of the amount of caffeine in your system from a cup of coffee 6 hours later.  Try soothing herbal drinks like chamomile or hemp tea as part of your night time routine.
 
Create a restful environment - Make the bedroom all about sleep, dark, cool and quiet. Make it a den of loveliness. Take out things that you don’t like, only have things in there that makes you feel good.  Don't use your bed at night to work or watch the television.  Our brains create associations – make the bedroom be about sleep.
 
Lighting - Getting the right amount of light is so important for sleep. Too much will wake you up.  Dimmer lights in the evening will trigger the serotonin conversion so avoiding bright lights is best.  Lighting in bathroom can be brightest in house so think about how and when you brush your teeth.
 
Keep regular sleep hours / sleep schedule - Reset your body clock by going to bed and then getting up at round about the same time every day inc. weekend.  The amount of sleep needed changes between person to person however between 7-9 hours is optimum.
 
Sleep Routine - Create a sleep routine, like we do with children.  Start getting ready an hour before and then wind down with a book and a bath.  Reading and listening to soothing music can help you relax and get ready to sleep.
 
Write down your worries - Try keeping a notebook by the bed and jotting down any worries you have. 
 
Confront Sleeplessness - Do not look at the clock, it doesnt matter if it is 11pm or 1am looking at your clock just leads to sleep anxiety.  If you have not fallen asleep after 15 minutes, get up and do something restful, reading a book or magazine or try writing a list of things to do the next day.  Stay away from social media and late night news and then after half an hour get back to bed and try to sleep.  

Meditation - Try sleep apps like Calm or Spotify.  Some people like to listen to the shipping forecast and use this to drift off.

Still not sleeping?
Some nights, despite your best efforts, you still can't fall asleep.  A herbal sleep remedy maybe the answer.
Check out our range of sleep products, and don't forget, this month members receive a 25% discount on selected items: 

https://elixirhealth.co.uk/collections/february-24-promotions


Overall, prioritizing sufficient and high-quality sleep is essential for maintaining physical health, cognitive function, emotional well-being, and overall quality of life.

Here's to waking up refreshed and rejuvenated every morning!