Tagged: Your Guide to Better Sleep

Answering 5 Common Sleep Questions, Including Tips on How to Fall Asleep Quicker 0

Answering 5 Common Sleep Questions, Including Tips on How to Fall Asleep Quicker

How’s everyone doing this week? Like millions of others, I’ve spent much of the last few weeks self-isolating at home with my family, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

If you’re doing the same, you’re probably feeling a bit restless, just like I am. But this downtime has also given me a great opportunity to reflect on some of the most frequently asked questions I receive on a day-to-day basis — and I wanted to share a few responses with you this week.

Whether it’s handling nightmares or how to approach your teenager about sleeping in, here are a few questions I hear on a routine basis. Alright, let’s jump right into it:

I have a hard time falling asleep at night. Do you have any tips for getting to sleep faster?

This might be the most frequently asked question about sleep that I get. And luckily, I have a few things you can try.

First off, always consider melatonin. Melatonin is the engine for sleep. I recommend taking 1 to 1.5 milligrams of melatonin about a half hour before bed, …

Cortisol and its Effects on Your Sleep 0

Cortisol and its Effects on Your Sleep

It’s a hot topic in sleep research: the relationship between cortisol and the quality and patterns of sleep. I’ve been talking about cortisol for a while, but I’ve never devoted a stand-alone article to this important topic. It’s time to correct that. Today, I’ll talk about the role that cortisol plays in the sleep-wake cycle, how disruptions to healthy cortisol levels interfere with sleep and contribute to sleep disorders—and how poor sleep, in turn, negatively affects cortisol. I’ll also discuss ways to encourage healthy cortisol levels, for the benefit of your sleep and broader health.

What does cortisol do?  

Cortisol is a stimulating, alerting hormone. It’s the body’s primary stress hormone—that’s the role that gets cortisol most of its attention. Urged on by a complex network that incorporates elements of the central nervous system and the adrenal system, cortisol drives the body’s fight-or-flight response, in the presence of a threat or stressor. But cortisol does more than spur fight-or-flight. This hormone has a number of other functions, including:

  • Regulating blood pressure
  • Balancing blood sugar
  • Influencing inflammation
  • Regulating energy levels
  • Contributing
Why a Regular Sleep Schedule Matters to Your Health 0

Why a Regular Sleep Schedule Matters to Your Health

It’s been a week that’s felt more like a month — or maybe even a year for some of us. The coronavirus outbreak has, at least temporarily, upended many of our day to day lives and wiped away many of the daily routines we’re so used to.

Working out at the gym, going to a great restaurant, and seeing your favorite band or basketball team in action… for many of us, it’s all on pause. Right now, while we continue to collectively grapple with the fallout from COVID-19, there are a number of things that are out of our control. Making sure we continue to get quality sleep, however, isn’t one of them.

In reality, getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best measures you can take to keep your body and immune system running on all cylinders.

This is something we touched on recently in our post on sleep’s influence on immunity. Research has shown, you might remember, that people who sleep 6 hours or less each night are 4.2 times more likely to catch the …

Sleep Awareness Week Spotlight: Americans Are Constantly Sleepy 0

Sleep Awareness Week Spotlight: Americans Are Constantly Sleepy

Early March is easily one of my favorite times of the year. Not only is spring right around the corner — I can already hear the beach calling my name! — but the clocks jump ahead, giving us that extra amount of sunlight we’ve been missing at night during winter.

This is important to me for another reason, too: Daylight Saving Time directly leads into Sleep Awareness Week, which we’re wrapping up today.

Sleep Awareness Week is a great opportunity to both draw attention to the challenges many people run into with getting a good night’s sleep, as well as promote tips for getting better rest.

On that front, something grabbed my attention this week: a new survey from the National Sleep Foundation shows millions of Americans are sleepy. I’m talking about consistently tired, where it’s something they’re dealing with multiple days per week.

If you rely on a good cup of coffee at noon, or find a way to sneak in a quick nap after lunch to get that pep back in your step, you already know what I’m …

Cannabis v. Alcohol for Sleep: What are the Differences? 0

Cannabis v. Alcohol for Sleep: What are the Differences?

They are the two most commonly used sleep aids in the world—alcohol and cannabis. Alcohol regularly tops the list of self-medicating sleep aids. And today, cannabis is among the most frequently used natural therapies, with people who use cannabis routinely identifying help with sleep as a prime reason for doing so.

Alcohol and cannabis have very different effects on sleep, however. Today, I’ll take a look at what the science says about how alcohol and cannabis perform, when it comes to making sleep better—or worse.

Cannabis and alcohol have distinctly different effects on sleep

For centuries, people have sought relief for sleep problems from the intoxicating, sedating effects of alcohol and the relaxing, sedating effects of cannabis. But there’s a profound gap between how alcohol and cannabis impact sleep, and how these substances are regarded as therapeutic tools for sleep. Alcohol, for all its popularity as a self-medicating sleep aid, is essentially universally discouraged by sleep experts and physicians as a tool to help sleep and other health conditions that affect sleep. Cannabis, on the other hand, is increasingly being

Half of All Kids Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep: Here’s Why That’s Concerning 0

Half of All Kids Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep: Here’s Why That’s Concerning

Poor sleep is rampant in the United States — and it’s not only impacting adults. 

Alarmingly, research indicates U.S. children are facing a sleep crisis as well. And this is a problem that’s even more concerning than the one facing older Americans, considering how important sleep is to childhood development. 

One study in particular from late 2019 has stuck with me over the last few months. Researchers from the American Academy of Pediatrics found nearly 50% of kids aged 6-17 weren’t getting enough sleep, which is 9 hours each night. (Harvard University has pegged 9-12 hours for grade school-aged children, and 8-10 hours for teens as the recommended amount of sleep each night.) 

This is a major problem, considering the percentage of kids getting insufficient sleep is much higher than the 34.8% of American adults who get less than 7 hours of sleep each night. And that’s already too high as it is. 

The A.A.P. study looked at more than 49,000 school age children and adjusted for several factors, including poverty level and time spent on devices; it also

5 Surprising Health Problems Tied to Poor Sleep 0

5 Surprising Health Problems Tied to Poor Sleep

A good night’s sleep goes beyond helping you stay fresh at the office the next day.

That’s important, of course, and in my personal life I’ve tried to focus even more on getting quality sleep in 2020; my schedule can be hectic, so good sleep is important, simply to fight back against fatigue. (And I’ve got to say, the Chilipad has made it especially easy to drift off to sleep lately by keeping my bed nice and cool.)

But there’s more to it than that. Poor sleep is linked to several disturbing health problems, and some of them may be surprising to find out about.

This week, I want to share a quick look at how poor sleep can lead to severe health issues — and a few tips to make sure you’re getting the rest you need.

Obesity

Let’s start with something we all care about: our waistlines. Poor sleep isn’t good for them.

Research shows sleep deprivation leads to weight gain because of multiple changes to your body.

When you don’t get enough sleep, your body reduces the …

These Simple Food Changes Can Lead to Better Sleep 0

These Simple Food Changes Can Lead to Better Sleep

Eating healthy isn’t just good for our waistlines. It turns out, our diet affects sleep in a major way.

While this is still a topic we’re learning more about, a growing amount of research in the last few years has highlighted the connection between what we eat and how we sleep.

I know how enjoyable reaching for that sugary box of cereal in the morning or indulging in a midnight snack can be. But before doing the same, hang on for just a moment. Here are a few key points to consider when it comes to your diet and your sleep.

Your Diet Affects Your Sleep

You can think of food’s relationship to sleep in the same way you think about fuel for your car; sure, you can put the cheapest gas in your tank, but in the long run, it can start to take its toll on your engine.

The same goes for your diet. Putting certain foods in your system might taste good momentarily, but they can end up costing us severely when we’re laying in bed later …

Quality Sleep, Your Immune System, and the Coronavirus Outbreak 0

Quality Sleep, Your Immune System, and the Coronavirus Outbreak

The coronavirus outbreak that has devastated China and left the world scrambling for answers has also reinforced the important role sleep plays in building our immune systems.

In a nutshell: Making sure we consistently get a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways we can improve our immunity and defend against viruses and disease. Sleep is a natural immune booster.

This is something we’ve known intrinsically for centuries, with a healthy dose of sleep often being paired with crackers and a warm bowl of soup when we are fighting back against the common cold. Modern research has only continued to highlight how interconnected sleep and the immune system are. We’ll dive into that relationship in just a moment.

But to be clear, I’m not suggesting sleep is a cure-all for coronavirus. That isn’t the case; currently, there is no vaccine for the infection. The coronavirus has, by Feb. 20, killed more than 2,100 people globally. Altogether, nearly 75,000 cases have been confirmed, mostly in China, where the country has ground to a halt as it looks to safeguard …

7 Things Your Nutritionist Probably Doesn’t Know About Sleep 0

7 Things Your Nutritionist Probably Doesn’t Know About Sleep

nutrition and sleep

Have you committed to a new healthy eating routine this year? Wondering how sleep can assist in making your healthful dietary choices easier to stick to and more effective? These are some of the most potent sleep and diet connections that even nutritionists often miss.

Sleep can stimulate fat-burning fat

Tip: Sleep naked and in a cool environment

Our bodies contain several different types of fat, and they perform different functions. Certain kinds of fat actually work to burn energy, rather than storing it. White fat stores energy, brown and beige fat actually burn calories, and keep insulin working properly, help regulate blood sugar, and guard against obesity. Studies in mice show that animals with higher amounts of brown fat are leaner, and have better metabolic health. Research involving humans has shown brown fat is linked to lower body mass. On the other hand, a lack of brown fat in mice is associated with higher insulin resistance, higher blood sugar, and diabetes. Scientists have discovered beige fat activates a protein that works to burn calories and generate heat