health Sep 29, 2021Nootropics 101
healthJul 1, 2021
A Neurosurgeon’s Tips to Reduce Sleeplessness
We all know how important getting a good night of sleep is. But most of us also know that it’s not always as easy as turning off the light and closing our eyes. Sleeplessness and insomnia affects around 30% of people worldwide, making it harder to get the kind of restorative sleep that our brains need to keep us feeling our best.
"Sleeplessness and insomnia affects around 30% of people worldwide."
Scientists are still working to understand the full scope of insomnia, but it’s generally believed that it stems from a state of hyperarousal throughout the day. When we experience heightened levels of stress or anxiety, our bodies continue those stress reactions into the night, disrupting sleep. And once that negative pattern is established, each night brings fresh worry around the act of sleep itself, making it even harder to reach. Studies have also shown that people experiencing insomnia have higher metabolic rates overall than people experiencing good sleep, poor memory, as well as increased cortisol levels.
Plus, there are more negative impacts to a restless night than just yawning through your morning. Sleep is essential to the upkeep of our bodies — but it’s also foundational to our mental wellness. Research has shown links between insomnia and depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. What’s more, that connection appears to be a two-way road, as many mental disorders like depression and anxiety can themselves trigger insomnia.
"Sleep is essential to the upkeep of our bodies — but it’s also foundational to our mental wellness."
So how do we shift from sleeplessness to the kind of restorative sleep we need to feel our best? As always, the clue is in the data: When our minds and bodies don’t naturally wind down on their own, we can help them along by using tools that trigger similar responses — Here are some tips to help prevent sleeplessness:
30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise during the day increases the amount of slow wave sleep you get at night. Slow wave sleep is what we know as “deep sleep,” when the brain and body have a chance to rejuvenate. Exercise can also help your mind decompress, a cognitive process that is important for naturally transitioning to sleep. SOURCE
Set a bedtime routine
Begin winding down at least 30 minutes before you turn out the lights. Instead of using devices that emit blue light (like your phone) during that time, try reading, meditating or journaling. SOURCE
Melatonin supplements are a safe and drug-free way to get a deep, restorative sleep every night.
Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment, often accompanied by breathing exercises or guided imagery. As a physiological response, mindfulness can help inhibit the cognitive processes that prevent us from drifting off, and provide a path to more restful nights.
Avoid checking your phone in the middle of the night
The blue light emitted by your phone’s screen disrupts your circadian rhythm. Any type of bright light signals to your brain that it’s time to be awake, which is why the National Sleep Foundation recommends you end your screen time at least 30 minutes before bed. SOURCE
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