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While you wait to see if you’re one of our lucky winners, we’ll be sharing daily tips on how to Be Your Best Self through small changes. It only makes sense to start with where most Americans are seriously lacking: sleep.
One sleepless night won’t hurt, but chronic sleep deprivation takes a toll on the body. It causes fatigue, stress, irritability, cognitive impairment, imbalanced mood, memory loss and lowered immunity. It can increase the future risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Lack of sleep can even cause overeating; people who don’t get enough sleep have too much of the hormone that triggers hunger and too little of the one that tells the body it’s full (and to stop eating).
How Much Sleep?
It’s generally recommended to get around 6.5-8 hours of sleep per night, on average. The exact number varies from person to person, so experimenting with different amounts of sleep is key. There is, however, such thing as too much sleep. People who sleep over nine hours a day are more likely to be overweight, diabetic, depressed, and have heart disease.
Maximizing Your Sleep
It’s not all about the numbers. People who get the “optimal” amount of sleep can still feel terrible and groggy throughout the day. Here are ways to get the most out of your night of rest.
Low blood sugar after a night of fasting contributes to fatigue and headaches. Consume 150-250 calories of low-glycemic index foods in small quantities prior to bed. Tim Ferriss recommends the following as options: a few sticks of celery with almond butter, a mandarin orange and 5-8 almonds, or plain low-fat (not fat-free) yogurt and an apple.
Fitness expert Ben Greenfield takes the following before bed to optimize his sleep: MAP amino acid capsules, potassium citrate, Natural Calm magnesium, MCT Oil, MillenniumSports Somnidren GH, and Hammer REM caps.
Rapid eye movement, or REM, is the most important part of sleep. Even if you get your eight hours in, bad deep sleep can leave you feeling groggy and unrested. Establishing strict sleeping patterns can help ensure your body is ready to wake up when you want it to. Technology can also help with that. Check out some of these apps for ideas.
Dealing With Sleep Deprivation
Sometimes losing sleep is unavoidable. The following can help you feel at the top of your game after a bad night:
Coffee might have a bad rap, but it is actually the top source of antioxidants for Americans. Good quality brew decreases risk for certain types of liver cancer, type II diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease. When traveling, carry your own coffee; avoid the overly processed brands served at airports and hotels. We suggested Dave Asprey’s Upgraded Coffee.
Liposomal glutathione is one of the most important antioxidants in the body. It offsets the decreased efficiency of the liver as a result of sleep deprivation.
The area under the eyes contains exceptionally thin tissue. After going a long time without sleep, the body’s circulation suffers and blood pools here, causing circles. Spreading a little arnica gel opens the vessels.
“Ideally get to bed as close as possible to 10 to 11pm and sleep until 7. Our bodies are rebuilding and repairing at night so sleep is vital to reducing inflammation.”
–Dr. Scott Jurica, MS, DC, PAK, ACN
The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.