Is sleep more important than nutrition or exercise for an optimal health?
The first thing we use to sacrifice when we are super busy, rushing and don’t have enough time to do all the stuff we suppose to do is, sleep. Nowadays, we nearly can consider sleeping a luxury, while actually it should be one of the most important thing in our agenda.
We are all different and have different needs, but studies have shown us that people need, on average 8 hours of sleep to function optimally. Yet, most of us are getting fewer hours each night.
What happens while you sleep
Your internal organs rest and recover. Tissue repais and muscle grows.
While we sleep, hormones are released and help to regulate appetite control, stress, growth, metabolism and other body functions.
Also our memory consolidation occurs, allowing for the formation and storage of new memories, essential for keeping learning.
And if you don’t get a proper sleep?
Depriving our body of the sleep it needs, is just as harmful as a diet full of sugars and processed food, or a life without exercise.
Lack of sleep can make you grumpy, fat, irritable, sick, inflamed and our immune system suffers. Your ability for concentration decrease and it may compromise your healthy mental state.
It affects every cell and organ in our body. Not getting enough sleep is associated with diabetes and even Alzheimer’s.
What is causing the lack of sleep
There are many factors affecting our sleep routine. It can be work related, medication, stress, anxiety, depression, certain foods (as caffeine) or even the use of electronic devices.
How to get a better sleep
The most important thing for having a great quality sleep is adopting a routine, a kind of ritual that sends relaxing signs to your brain and prepare your body for a restful night.
- Going to bed at the same time each day
- Enjoying a relax, calming herbal tea (just if this doesn’t disrupt your sleep because you need to do a visit to the toilet). A turmeric latte is also a great way to relax your nervous system
- Breathing exercises and meditation to help clearing your mind and to feel calmer
- Focus on a plant-based diet at night, high in protein which helps you recover and rebuild while you sleep. Try to load your dinner with antioxidants since they help your digestions and your immune system.
- Have a bath scented with lavender and chamomile essential oils
- Turn of your computer or mobile at a decent hour
- Turn your bedroom into an oasis. Sleeping in a dark room helps stimulate melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. Also the room temperature of the room is vital, it should be lovely and fresh
Foods for a great sleep
I remember my grandparents having a glass of warm milk each night right before to go into bed. They claimed it promoted a good night’s sleep. Now we have the scientific proof of why
Other foods that promote a quality sleep are:
- Sweet Potato: complex carbohydrates stimulate the release of serotonin, a hormone that calms the brain.
- Fermented foods as sauerkraut, kimchi, apple cider vinegar, miso paste, yogurt or kefir. There is a direct link between our gut and our brain. When our gut is inflamed, the vagus nerve tells our brain to feel uneasy, anxious and stress.
- Almonds: a great late snack, they are high in vitamin B6 and tryptophan which support serotonin as well.
- Green veggies, green grapes or tart cherries are high in magnesium, which improves your sleep relaxing your muscles.
Sleep can be one of the best things we do for ourselves, so set it as your number one priority and reach your healthier self.