5 ways to maximize your sleep


Is sleep an elusive dream for you? Read on for sleep supporting habits

Sleep. It’s something we all need, we all want, we all strive for (except if you are 5 and you are too busy too sleep and think it is completely unecessary to your day). Sleep is one of the cornerstones of good health – it’s effects are far-reaching and impact our physical, mental and emotional states. However, in today’s world, sleep is usually not seen as something to be revered and nurtured. It’s almost like an after-thought or something we have to do in between the business of life.

Sleep, however, should be catapaulted to the forefront of your mind if you care about your ability to think, to create, to manage, to innovate, to plan, to be, to age beautifully, to increase your chances of being disease free, to not be a cranky bitch – If those things are important to you, I highly suggest starting to shift your perspective on sleep and start taking care of it. Sleep is the secret folks.

Some highlights:

Sleep regulates most hormone production

  • disrupted sleep slows metabolism and makes you hungry
  • the bulk of your growth hormone (think anti-aging hormone) is released while you sleep. Growth hormone stimulates recovery, repair & muscle building; breaks down fat stores & normalizes blood sugar regulation
  • cortisol levels increase with less sleep (eat more, anxious and store belly fat)
  • thyroid slows down
  • insulin doesn’t work well

Sleep is like an antioxidant for your brain

  • during sleep the brain goes through a cleaning and detox process
  • sleep helps to consolidate your memory and it literally changes the cellular structure of your brain by removing toxins associated with neurodegeneration
  • chronic sleep deprivation accelerates the aging of the brain

Quality of your sleep affects every aspect of your waking life

  • it affects your mood (we all are more bitchy and less tolerant when we’re tired)
  • it affects your ability to think and focus
  • it drains your energy
  • risk of cancer, alzheimers, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease increase, as sleep quality decreases
  • The list goes on – I’m sure you can pile on here

You might be thinking. Ok, fine. Sleep is important I get it. I do want more sleep. I love when I sleep – but I sleep like a newborn baby (meaning barely at all or inconsistently or, well, crappy – because we all know baby’s do not sleep – at night anyway). How can I help myself here?

Take a cue from author, nutritionist, and all around amazing dude Shawn Stevenson and try out one of the ideas below – derived from his book “Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health and Bigger Success”. Amazing book with great tips, tricks and science interwoven throughout.

You’ll be sleeping (not like a baby) in no time.

  1. Get more sunlight during the day (your sleep is based on circadian rythym)
  2. Avoid screens and electronics before bed (that blue light will majorly jack up your sleep cycle and sleep quality)
  3. Have a caffeine curfew (enough said)
  4. Setup a bedtime routine with a set bedtime (yes, you can)
  5. Have an orgasm (yes, you can!)
  6. Fix your gut (95% of your serotonin is produced there, this is the precursor for melatonin your “sleep” hormone)

Now, go get yourself some blue light blocking glasses, a good book or magazine and a nice cup of chamomile tea – Happy Bedtime!