Sleep! Another crucial component to our overall health. Unfortunately, many of us struggle to get enough.
Whether we fail to plan enough time for sleep, or have trouble falling or staying asleep, the lack of zzz's will negatively impact the rest our health, and if severe enough, can sabotage efforts made in other areas (like exercise & nutrition).
What do I mean by this?
While we sleep, our body goes into "rest & repair mode". Examples of 'repairs' that the body goes through include detoxification (which helps with everything from anti-aging to weight loss), digestion, and consolidating knowledge and memories.
Multiple studies have concluded that lack of sleep plays a major role in weight gain, and difficulty losing weight. This is tied to the fact that lack of sleep is seen by body as a stressor. Stress = weight gain.
Half a century ago, it was typical for the average North American to get about 11 hours of sleep per night. Now the average is 6.5 hours. This is due to a variety of reasons, but much of it stems from the increase of technology that allows for work and play 24/7 and the artificial light that comes along with it(cell phones, tv, computers). Artificial light emits blue light which confuses our brain and interferes with our melatonin release.
Therefore it's very important to avoid using devices that emit this blue light 2 hours or more before you go to bed. When this is not possible, blue-light blocking glasses are a great investment for your health. Additionally, you can set your devices to 'night-shift' mode, which blocks out some of the blue light.
If you find that you wake during the night this may be a sign that you need to support your detoxification pathways. If these pathways become overwhelmed it can be disruptive and cause your body to wake.
Besides avoiding blue light in the evening and supporting your detoxification pathways, another great way you can support your sleep is to create a sleep routine.
This could include,