Why is sleep important?
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco identified poor sleep as the number one factor in determining whether someone would get sick after being exposed to the cold virus.
Sleep plays an important role in building our immune system; getting t
he proper amount fosters T Cell production (white blood cells that fight infection) along with the production and release of cytokine (a protein that helps the immune system quickly respond to antigens).
What is the proper amount of sleep?
A sleep cycle is divided into 5 stages (REM and Non-REM) with each cycle averaging approximately 90 minutes. While 4 cycles (6 hours) may be sufficient for an adult to achieve the benefits above, Dr. Breus recommends 5 cycles per night (
8 steps to a good nights sleep:
- 1) Give yourself an electronic curfew 90 minutes before lights out.
- Blue light from digital screens reduces the production of melatonin (the "sleep" hormone).
- 2) Consider meditation or progressive relaxation before bed or while falling asleep.
- 3) Compile a gratitude list in your mind.
- What works for me? I "declutter and plan", using steps 2 and 3 in combination with one another. Each night, I lay flat on my back (as still as possible) with my pillow covering my eyes, reflecting on the day and putting it all behind me. Ultimately, I am thankful for all I have and for getting through another day. Finally, I visualize (step by step) what I need to do the next day. This process (decluttering and planning) has worked wonders in preventing "restless" nights.
- 4) Keep your schedule consistent. Avoid extra napping.
- Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning.
- 5) Lower stimulants and depressants.
- Caffeine has a half life of 6-8 hours meaning you should avoid intake after 2pm.
- Alcohol reduces immunity and energizes you.
- 6) Take a shower or bath 90 minutes before you go to bed.
- 7) Make sure your sleep environment is clean, you spend a significant amount of your day there.
- Wash your sheets 2x per week (COVID19 recommendation).
- 8) Consider a cup of guava leaf tea (add 1 teaspoon of raw honey).
- Not only does it calm your nerves and quiet your mind it also helps to stabilize your blood sugar.