For a Good Night’s Sleep Here Are 20 Facts

Want a Good Night’s Sleep Here are 20 Facts

Sleep is one of the great mysteries of life.  A good night’s sleep is one of the cornerstones of health.  Six to Eight hours per night seems to be the optimal amount of sleep for most adults.  Too much or too little can have adverse effects on your health.  If you want a good night’s sleep here are 20 facts.

Optimizing Your Sleep

  • Sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible. Even the glow from your clock radio could be interfering with your sleep.
  • Snoring is the primary cause of sleep disruption for approximately 90 million American adults; 37 million on a regular basis.
  • More than eight in ten people think that people often or sometimes misuse prescription sleep aids.
  • Some studies show the use of melatonin shortens the time it takes to fall asleep and reduce the number of awakenings.
  • One of the primary causes of excessive sleepiness among Americans is self-imposed sleep deprivation.
  • People who don’t sleep enough are more likely to have bigger appetites due to the fact that their leptin levels (the appetite-regulating hormone) fall, promoting appetite increase.
  • A seasonal disorder is believed to be influenced by the changing patterns of light and darkness that occur with the approach of winter.
  • Wind down and relax before going to bed. Try to go over the day’s activities and work out a plan of action for the next day.  Do not exercise too late in the evening.

    Good NIght's Sleep
    Good Night’s Sleep

Lifestyle Suggestions for Good Night’s Sleep

  • The body NEVER adjusts to shift work!
  • In general, exercising regularly makes it easier to fall asleep and have a more sound sleep.
  • Sleep is just as important as diet and exercise.
  • In general, most healthy adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Although, some individuals are able to function with sleepiness or drowsiness after as little as six hours of sleep.  Others can not perform at their peak unless they’ve slept ten hours.
  • It is best to have a regular sleep pattern. Try to go to bed at the same time every evening and get up at around the same time every morning.  Improved sleep will not happen immediately but if good sleep habits are maintained, sleep will certainly get better.  Preferably between 9:30 and 10:00 pm.
  • Make sure your bedroom is comfortable. You should have a quiet, dark room with comfortable bedding and good temperature control.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes. Caffeine (tea, coffee, cola drinks) and the nicotine in cigarettes are stimulants that can keep you awake.
  • Avoid daytime naps. Sleeping during the day will make it much more difficult to have a good night’s sleep.  If a nap is necessary, for example because of a late night, then limit this to about thirty minutes.  Make sure that you are awake for at least four hours before going back to bed.  Don’t allow yourself to fall asleep in front of the TV-not even for a minute.

     

    Sleep Habits

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Can Adaptogen Herbs Help Stress?

Choosing the right Adaptogen Herbs for Stress

Natural medicine has long appreciated herbs as natural sources for treating stress.  One such example of this is adaptogen herbs.  This is especially true when your body is  supported emotionally and nourished physically by wholesome food and select herbs.

For numerous people contending with daily anxiety and frazzled nerves, long-term stress has become a widely common occurrence. Adaptogens work through hormonal regulation of the stress response, by fortifying the body’s immune system as they decrease cellular sensitivity to stress.  Adaptogen herbs include panax  ginseng, holy basil (ocimum sanctum), astragalas root, ashwagandha (withania somnifera), rhodiola (rhodiola rosea), Licorice Root  and reishi (ganoderma lucidum), mushroom.   Today I will discuss the seven I believe to be the most beneficial as part of a stress relieving lifestyle.  I have used most of these herbs and found them to be very helpful.

Top 7 Adaptogen Herbs for Stress

Adaptogen Herbs
Adaptogen Herbs

Panax Ginseng

Panax ginseng is one well known adaptogen and considered by many to be the most potent.  In humans, Panax ginseng has been shown to improve calmness and some aspects of working memory in healthy young adults.

Panax has also been observed to reduce ulcer index, assist the adrenal glands, lower blood glucose levels, triglycerides, and reduce damage of the circulatory system and other parts of the body.

This red ginseng also has antioxidant effects and has been found to improve mood and mental performance in small studies, may reduce fasting blood sugar levels.

What does all this mean?  It means that there are some promising results about the way this adaptogenic herbs may affect stress responses in humans.

Holy Basil

Also call tulsi, holy basil is known in India as the powerful anti-aging supplement.  It has also been a Avurvedic medicine to treat a large number of conditions, such as “infections, skin diseases, hepatic disorders, common cold and cough, malarial fever and as an antidote for snake bite and scorpion sting”.

Holy basil has also been studied as a use for anti-stress benefits.  One reason is the presence of three phytochemical compounds that lower stress parameters in lab studies.

In addition to these stress-related benefits, holy basil may potentially help to lower blood pressure, reduce seizure activity, fight bacteria, kill certain fungi, combat viral infections, protect the liver, promote immune system function and reduce pain response.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is often referred to as Indian ginseng.  It’ s effects on cortisol, stress tolerance and internal stress responses have been studied for decades.

In addition to stress relief, reviews have shown potential benefits on various types of tumors, cognition and memory, neurodegenerative diseases and brain health, inflammation and arthritis.

Astragalus Root

Used in Chinese medicine, astragalus has been known to boost immunity and potentially buffer the effects of stress.

Astragalus root may actually temporarily increase cortisol levels to allow the body to positively respond to certain types of stress.  This quick boost in temporary cortisol then lets the hormone level out as soon as the stressor has been removed.

There are studies that astragalus improved physical performance, helps the body get rid of disease-promoting free radicals, improve the use of glucose in the bloodstream and protect the liver.

Rhodiola

Rhodiola, or golden root, is a potent adaptogen that has been the focus of much research.  Like the other adaptogens, rhodiola provides a biological defense against stress.  In a human trial conducted in 2009 by scientists in Sweden they test the impact on people “suffering with stress-related fatigue”.  They found the rhodiola “exerts an anti-fatigue effect that increases mental performance, particularly the ability to concentrate, and decreases cortisol response to awakening stress in burnout patients with fatigue syndrome”.

Reishi Mushroom

Cordyceps, reishi, shiitake and maitake mushrooms are fungi with antioxidant properties.  That means nutrition-rich mushrooms have all the benefits of antioxidant foods.  They may not be adaptogens in the classic sense, but each has adaptogenic, anti-tumor and immune-enhancing properties.

It seems that the adaptogenic effect of reishi involves a temporary higher boost in the cortisol when exposed to stress, followed by a large drop during non-stress periods when compared with no treatment.

Licorice Root

Licorice root can increase energy and endurance, boost the immune system, and protect the thymus from being damaged by cortisol.  If may affect blood pressure and potassium levels, so traditional licorice root is typically recommended in cycles of 12 weeks, although this isn’t the case when taking DGL licorice, which is considered safe for long-term use.

Precautions

As always you should discuss any new supplements or medications with your doctor before beginning a regimen.  This is especially true with apoptogenic herbs, as several of them interact with prescription medications and are not recommended for people with certain conditions.

Be sure to do your research on any supplements you are considering finding out if they may conflict with any medications or conditions you may have, and use only high quality, organic varieties from trustworthy sources.

For further research on plants, herbs and natures remedies here is a resource that I found to be helpful.  The Healing Plants Bible, The Definitive Guide to Herbs, Trees and Flowers by Helen Farmer-Knowles.

I’m Shirley Noah, I teach the 9 pillars for health.  A step-by-step approach to good health.  Let’s connect to see how I may best serve you in the near future.

 

 

Want A Good Nights Sleep? Try These Healthy Sleep Habits

Sleep Habits

Want A Good Nights Sleep? Try These Healthy Sleep Habits

We all know the perils of financial debt, but did you know that you can build up debt of sleep also?  Getting shortchanged occasionally on your sleep is no a serious problem, but when it happens night after night, you  build up a backlog of needed sleep.  This sleep debt can affect your mood, health and safety.  If you want a good nights sleep, try these healthy sleep habits.

The average person needs around eight and one-half hours of sleep every night.  You might need a little less or a little more, but you need this sleep every day,  just like you need water and oxygen. Losing just one hour of sleep per day builds up a “sleep debt”.

It’s not just the quantity of sleep that you need, it’s also the quality of sleep.  You need a certain amount of deep sleep.  During the deepest stages of sleep, your body releases growth hormone to stimulate tissue repair and regeneration. This means that if you don’t get enough good quality sleep, it will adversely affect your physical health.

For example, interrupted or impaired sleep can:

  •   Dramatically weaken your immune system.
  • Accelerate tumor growth-tumors grow two to three times faster in laboratory animals with severe sleep dysfunctions.
  • Cause a pre-diabetic state, making you feel hungry even if you’ve already eaten, which can affect your weight gain.
  • Seriously impair our memory; even a single night of poor sleep can impact your ability to think clearly the next day.
  • Impair your performance on physical or mental tasks, and decrease your problem solving ability.

For a good night’s sleep try these healthy sleep habits, by optimizing your sleep sanctuary. To improve your sleep, you may need to modify some of your lifestyle choices, including diet and exercise.  When your circadian rhythms are disrupted your body produces less melatonin (a hormone and an anti-oxidant) and has less ability to fight disease, since melatonin helps suppress free radicals.

Impaired sleep an also increase stress-related disorder, including:  Heart Disease, Stomach Ulcers, Constipation, Mood Disorders

One study has even shown that people with chronic insomnia have a three times greater risk of dying from any cause. Lost sleep is lost forever, and persistent lack of sleep has a cumulative effect when it comes to disrupting your health. Whether you have trouble falling asleep, waking up too often, or feeling inadequately rested when you wake up in the morning-or maybe you simply want to improve the quality of your sleep-Try these healthy sleep habits:

1.  Sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible.  Even the tiniest bit of light in the room can disrupt your internal clock and your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin.

2.  Keep the temperature in your bedroom no higher than 70 degrees.

3.  Check the electro-magnetic fields (EMF’s)

4.  Take a hot bath, shower before bed.  When your body temperature is raised in the late evening, it will help facilitate slumber.

5.  Avoid before -bed snacks.  Grains and sugars will raise your blood sugar and delay sleep.  Later, when the blood sugar drops too low, you may wake up and not be able to fall back asleep.

6.  Put your work away at least one hour before bedtime.  This will give your mind a chance to unwind so you can go to sleep feeling more calm, not hyped up about deadlines etc.

7.  Avoid caffeine.   In some people, caffeine is not metabolized efficiently, leaving you feeling its effects long after consumption.  So, an afternoon cup of coffee or tea will keep some people from falling asleep at night.

8.  Avoid alcohol.  Although alcohol will make you drowsy, the effect is short lived and you will often wake-up several hours later, unable to fall back asleep.  Alcohol will also keep you from entering the deeper stages of sleep, where your body does most of its healing.

9.  Exercise regularly.  Exercising for at least 30 minutes per day can improve sleep.  However, don’t exercise too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake. Studies show that exercising in the morning is the best if you can manage it.

10. Avoid foods you may be sensitive to.  This is particularly true for sugar, grains, and pasteurized dairy.  Sensitivity reactions can cause excess congestion, gastrointestinal upset, bloating and gas.

I’m Shirley Noah, I teach the 9 pillars for health.  A step-by-step approach to good health.  Let’s connect to see how I may best serve you in the near future.