What is considered to be a normal sleeping pattern? Normal is sleeping 7-9 hours a night depending on the individual and their needs. Personally I function optimally with 9 hours of sleep, anything less than 8.5 and I’m feeling it and under 8 my daily output is seriously hindered!
You may be someone who can sleep for 11-12 hours nightly however if you’re not a growing teenager you’re after quantity not quality! Individuals that sleep for 12 hours a night wake up frequently and each time you’re up for more than 3 seconds your sleep is interrupted! If you’re tired after spending half a day in bed there are other issues that need to be addressed!
Ever wonder why you wake up in the middle of the night and the clock reads right around the same time? 3:15, 3:12, 3:18…this isn’t coincidence (no such thing) your body is communicating with you! For example waking up between the hours of 1 and 3 dictate liver toxicity and between 3 and 5 show an excess of oxidative stress. If you’re someone who wakes up every 2-2.5 hours nightly that is a definitive sign that you are managing your blood sugar poorly! Your body is constantly giving you signs and telling you where you’re imbalances are but you have to pay close attention!
Now what are some ways to improve your sleep? Eliminate all light in your room! Turn off your computer, television, cable box, cover your alarm clock or better yet get a battery powered one! All your electronic devices should be off at LEAST 45 minutes before you hit the hay! Any light while you sleep is a risk factor for breast cancer because it decreases melatonin production. You can actually wake someone up just by shining a light on their feet, which shows just how sensitive our bodies are to light! You can also sleep with an eye mask (works extremely well), I do so every night and I fall asleep within minutes of hitting the pillow!
Keep your stress levels to a minimum. Whether it’s working out, meditation, reading or all of the above, stress is a KEY player in sleep quality as well as body composition! Your cortisol (stress hormone) levels are supposed to be elevated in the morning and diminish as the day goes on so you can have a good night sleep. If you’re tired in the morning and wired at night your cortisol curve is out of whack which means you need to find a way to get it back in check.
There are lots of sleep drugs out there that work in the short term however the body adapts so quickly that dosages constantly need to be increased. These drugs don’t address the underlying issues so it’s only a matter of time until they become very ineffective. Melatonin is a commonly used supplement to induce sleep but it only works for a short period of time so I suggest using it sparingly, at most once per week. Magnesium however is an amazing supplement for overall health and sleep quality. Roughly 75% of the population is magnesium deficient and I have all my clients take it daily because it also helps regulate blood sugar. Vitamin C is another great antioxidant to take that will reduce cortisol levels in the body and aid in a restful sleep.
Research has shown that an average of 7-8 hours of sleep per night in adults is associated with a lower risk of obesity, type-2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and all-cause mortality!
Another amazing benefit to sleeping well at night is fat loss, it seems counterintuitive but most of your daily fat burning actually takes place while you’re fast asleep!