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Sleep Better in 5 Easy Steps

Sleep is one of the most important aspects of health yet tends to be elusive amongst busy working-class Americans. Most of us get inconsistent sleep, at best. Sleep issues are on the rise and people are desperate for answers. These five key steps will help you sleep better, longer and more soundly - and they're EASY!

1. Supplement Magnesium

It's no secret that most Americans are deficient in magnesium. This crucial mineral is responsible for countless functions in the body and one of them is regulating sleep hormones. Magnesium supplementation shows strong evidence of improving sleep. It is also far superior to melatonin supplementation. Melatonin is a popluar supplement for sleep, however this is simply an analog replacement for naturally produced melatonin. It is far superior to provide your body with the raw materials needed to produce its own melatonin - and that is magnesium. There are several forms of magnesium on the market and it is important to understand which form is best for sleep improvement. Magnesium Glycinate is considered the best form of magnesium for sleep. It has a calming effect on the body, helps regulate melatonin and serotonin and relaxes both your nervous system and your muscles. Natural Calm is our recommendation for magnesium supplementation (we have no affiliation with nor receive any compensation for this recommendation).

 
 

2. Limit Screen Time Before Bed

In this age of technology, our devices are convenient and entertaining. Unfortunately, the effects of artificial blue light is clear - it interferes with sleep. In addition to the light, engaging in social media scrolling can also increase Cortisol and Dopamine levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone and is a counter hormone to sleep hormones and Dopamine is a hormone released during times of stimulation - known as the "feel good" hormone. Dopamine and Cortisol both inhibit the release of the sleep hormone melatonin. Experts recommend ceasing screen usage within one hour before bedtime. This includes LED/LCD televisions (which most modern tv sets are). Interestingly, old tube televisions do not release much artificial blue light and do not interfere with sleep hormones. You can also purchase blue light filters for your phone or tablet and blue light glasses which both help reduce the exposure to artificial blue light.

3. Don't Eat Too Close to Bedtime

Nighttime snacking is one of the trickiest habits to manage. While relaxing before bedtime it is very tempting to grab something crunchy to snack on. Data shows that not only does this habit lead to unwanted weight gain, but it interferes with sleep significantly. When you eat close to bedtime, your body is still engaged in significant digestion by the time you go to bed. This affects sleep quality by interfering with your circadian rhythm and can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, acid reflux and heartburn. Experts suggest eating your last meal or snack about three hours before bedtime. This three-hour window is perfect for allowing your body some time to get digestion started to avoid any interference with sleep or uncomfortable GI symptoms. It also promotes healthy blood sugar levels, insulin levels and metabolic function.

4. Get Some Morning Sun Exposure

Sunlight plays a crucial role in human health. It facilitates the production of Vitamin D3 in the body and it helps regulate hormones that control times of sleep and times of wake. Studies show that exposure to sunlight in the morning resets your sleep and awake cycle by signaling the appropriate hormones. Morning sunlight signals to your body that it is time to be awake and promotes a healthy sleep schedule. Experts suggest 20-30 minutes of sunlight a day - preferably in the morning for the sleep benefits. If you are in an area where there isn't much sun or there are long periods of darkness in the winter months, there are many Light Therapy lamps available that produce light with the same benefits as sun light. These lamps can be easily placed on your desk or tabletop, and you can get light exposure while you work. These lamps not only help with your sleep schedule, but they also boost mood and facilitate Vitamin D3 production just like the sun.

 
 

5. Get Your Testosterone Levels Checked (You Too Ladies!)

Testosterone levels are gravely overlooked by most people - especially women. Testosterone is a critical hormone for both men and women and almost everyone over the age of 40 have lower-than-ideal testosterone levels. Most people associate testosterone with muscle-growth in men and as a sex hormone. While these are a main function of testosterone, it is also responsible for mood, cognition, energy, bone and muscle health, and sleep in both men and women! When you suffer from low testosterone, this increases Cortisol levels. Since Cortisol is the primary stress hormone, this naturally interferes with the sleep hormones. Testosterone is also responsible for some circadian rhythm regulation and organization. If you are over the age of 40, it is a good idea to get your Testosterone levels tested through your healthcare provider. If you do have low Testosterone levels, your provider will be able to identify it and prescribe a Testosterone Replacement Therapy appropriate for you. If low on Testosterone, supplementing it can be life-changing by increasing energy, focus, reducing body fat and improving sleep. You can also naturally increase Testosterone levels through strength training, consuming red meat, reducing body fat and getting sufficient sleep.

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