How does sleep affect aging? Different people thrive on different amounts of sleep. Research shows that we get the best quality of sleep between the hours of 10pm and 2am. Why is it important to sleep early? Between the hours of 11pm and 1am, your body’s adrenals undergo recovery and recharging. Lack of good quality sleep will affect how we age.
The consequences of insufficient sleep are:
1. Viral infections
2. Weight gain
3. Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
4. High blood pressure
5. Heart disease
6. Mental Illness
What can you do if you cannot sleep?
First of all, look at your lifestyle –
* Do you get daily exercise?
* Get your Vitamin D levels checked. Restless sleep may be caused by Vitamin D3 deficiency.
* Are you taking prescription medicine that may be interfering with your sleep?
* Hormonal issues? – going through menopause can cause sleep disturbance – find a doctor who will check your hormone levels and who prescribes ONLY Bioidentical Hormones. Buy the book ‘Breakthrough’ by Suzanne Somers (link below) and read chapter 22.
* Do you abstain from drinking excessive alcohol? (best to avoid alcohol if insomnia is a problem)
* Avoid caffeine (it’s a bladder irritant)
* Do you meditate to empty your brain of thoughts?
* Do you have your last meal/snack at least 4 hours before retiring?
* Is your bedroom darkened?
* Cover your bedroom mirrors if their reflections make you feel unsafe
* Is your bedroom quiet?
* Is your bed comfortable?
* Develop and adhere to a ‘going to sleep’ ritual
* Consider purchasing a magnetic bed system
* Don’t watch, read or listen to anything that might be disturbing before bedtime which might activate your sympathetic nervous system
*Avoid emotionally stressful discussions or potentially difficult phone calls near bedtime
* Don’t stew over worries, things not said, things not done or what you have to do tomorrow
* Put your worries to bed by writing them down so you don’t have to think about them
Secondly, you may find it helpful to get out of bed and find a warm, comfortable place to read quietly for half an hour, have a small glass of water and then return to bed.
Thirdly, you may wish to consider taking supplements such as melatonin and/or a high quality calcium/magnesium supplement.
Calcium and magnesium helps with the expansion and contraction of muscles, with magnesium supporting the relaxation of muscles throughout our bodies. Women need extra calcium (daily intake 1200mg pre-menopause and 1500mg post-menopause), as we age. Calcium has a calming effect on the nervous system, helps promote restful and high quality sleep, and is good to take right at bedtime. Take calcium with magnesium and Vitamin D for best absorption. Magnesium has a calming effect on the brain and nervous system, and is important for good sleep. It’s a natural sedative and helps the body absorb calcium. A suggested daily magnesium intake is 300mg-500mg. Take your calcium/magnesium supplement along with good quality multivitamin/multimineral to promote the reduction of the effects of stress. Nutrition for good sleep is not instantaneous but may be helpful over time.
We need to sleep in a darkened room so that our bodies can produce melatonin. Melatonin is useful in many important relationships in promoting sleep, mood, and sex drive, reducing depression and the rate of aging, and helping maintain freedom from cancer, diabetes, heart disease and chronic disease in general.
Other natural sleep aids are Natural Progesterone, Kava Kava, Valerian and 5-HTP. These can lose their effectiveness over time so it’s best to use them sparingly, and only after you have tried other routes to a good night’s sleep.
With thanks to Doctor Christiane Northrup “The Wisdom of Menopause” for additional points.
Here is what Dr Mercola has to say about sleep:
“Too little sleep impacts your levels of thyroid and stress hormones, which in turn can affect your memory and immune system, your heart and metabolism, and much more. Over time, lack of sleep can lead to:
High blood sugar levels and an increased risk of diabetes
The consequences of sleep deprivation are so intense because your circadian rhythm has evolved over hundreds of generations to align your physiology with your environment, and your body clock assumes that, like your ancestors, you sleep at night and stay awake during daylight hours.
If you confuse the situation by depriving yourself of enough hours of sleep, you send conflicting signals to your body. For instance, in addition to the above, too little sleep can:
Increase your risk of cancer by altering the balance of hormones in your body
Increase your risk of heart disease and stroke
Raise your blood pressure
Speed up tumor growth. Tumors grow two to three times faster in laboratory animals with severe sleep dysfunctions
Sleep researchers from across the United States have also discovered that:
A single night of sleeping only four to six hours can impact your ability to think clearly the next day.
Sleep deprivation can cause changes in your brain activity similar to those experienced by people with psychiatric disorders.
Additionally, your body does most of its repairs during sleep, so not getting enough of it can impair your immune system, leaving you less able to fight off diseases of ALL kinds.”
Find out which advanced quality nutritional products I use and recommend.
Purchase The Harvard Medical School Guide to ‘A Good Night’s Sleep’
Breakthrough by Suzanne Somers is a remarkable book with enlightening information from doctors who are at the forefront of antiaging medicine (for a healthy long life). This book may be a bit technical in places but you will become empowered with knowledge.
For women 40+ who want to live life to the full and stay younger longer
If you would like to find out which nutritional supplements are recommended for healthy aging, please request my free eBook, by completing the form on your top right.
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