A good night’s sleep is vital for our physical as well as mental well-being. One of the major aspect of Holistic Health is “Sleep”. Good sound sleep will not just help in mental & physical health but also will improve immunity and keep us disease free.
When it comes to maintaining optimal health, sleep is as essential as a good diet and regular exercise. Here are some more benefits that are associated with a good night’s rest.
- Boosting up of concentration and memory– It has been shown that getting adequate sleep enhances brain functioning thereby improving one’s productivity, performances, and other cognitive abilities.
- Lower level of calorie intake– Getting sufficient sleep helps in regulating hormones like leptin and ghrelin that control appetite such that you’ll consume lesser calories throughout the day than if you are sleep deprived.
- Stronger immunity system– Good quality sleep enables your body to recover and repair along with fighting off infections more effectively. In order to improve the body’s immune function, you should sleep for at least 7-8 hours a day.
- Reduces risk of heart disease– Studies suggest that getting an adequate amount of sleep helps the body to regulate its blood pressure that further promotes better heart health.
Sleep is a vital component for good health, however often neglected.
Factors that sabotage/disturb your sleep
Whether it is some daily habits or certain foods and drinks that we consume, they have a direct impact on the quality and quantity of our sleep. Below listed are some of the habits that potentially interfere with healthy sleep.
- Exposure to light : If the brightness levels are high around you, chances are you won’t feel sleepy easily. This is because our body secretes melatonin, a hormone that invites sleep, only when exposed to darkness. Therefore, to fall asleep faster, it is important to be in a dimly lit environment and avoid using your phone that emits blue light (another stimulant for the brain) during bedtime.
- Caffeine : It is a well-known fact that caffeine is a stimulant when it comes to cognitive performances, hence consuming it disrupts your sleeping cycle. Caffeine also affects the quality of your sleep as it causes restlessness, elevated heart rate, and stomach cramps if taken around bedtime.
- Alcohol : Although a glass of wine is considered a go-to sleep aid for many people, it is pertinent to mention that drinking alcohol close to bedtime has multiple negative effects on the circadian rhythm of our bodies which disrupts the functioning of various organs such as the liver, gut and interferes with the sleep-wake cycle.
- Exercise : A good workout session is always advisable. However, one should avoid exercising an hour or so before sleeping time as the fresh pump of oxygen and energy makes it more difficult to fall asleep.
Some simple yet effective ways you can adopt to snooze faster and sleep better every night.
- Light pillow talks & Practicing Meditation- Sharing light & funny topics, or practicing meditation, or simply deep breathing can help improving sleep quality. Simple practice of Lying down comfortably on the bed and focusing on your breathing, while inhaling and exhaling deeply regulates breathing pattern. This will help in destressing and relaxing your nerves and muscles, causing you to sleep quickly and peacefully.
- Eating foods that are rich in magnesium, tryptophan, calcium, and Vitamin B6- These compounds aid in the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps in regulating the sleep-wake cycle of your body. Some of these sleep-inducing foods are cherries, olives, cucumber, walnuts, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, etc.
- Say no to crash/unsustainable diet- Although reducing carb intake sounds like an effective way to reduce weight, going on a zero or very low-carb diet results in sleeplessness, further causing you to stay awake which eventually results in unhealthy late-night snacking. To avoid this vicious cycle, make sure to include a certain portion of healthy carbs.
- Keep your phone away during bedtime- Research suggests that exposure to the blue light radiated from our smartphones suppress the melatonin levels in our body which disrupts sleep-wake cycle. It is advisable to cut-off screen time 30mins – 1 hour before bed to minimize distractions and contribute to better sleep.
Follow these easy tips and tricks to improve the duration and quality of your sleep naturally without any medication.
Best sleep-inducing foods
Getting an adequate amount of good quality sleep is incredibly important for your holistic health. One of the strategies that you can implement to achieve this is to include certain foods in your diet that promote good sleep. Here are some of the best sleep-inducing foods that you can have to bid a peaceful farewell to your day.
- Warm spiced milk– A popular home remedy for sleeplessness, milk contains tryptophan, calcium, vitamin D, and melatonin, all of which help in promoting sleep. Add a pinch of turmeric or nutmeg into a warm glass of milk for making a more effective destressing and anti-inflammatory concoction to ensure sound sleep.
- Chamomile tea– This herbal tea is caffeine-free and is considered as a mild tranquilizer due to its constituent antioxidants such as apigenin that have calming effects on your body, thus helping you to fall asleep quicker.
- Rice– A bowl of rice can be effective in inducing sleep.
- Ghee– As per Ayurvedic practices, adding one spoon of ghee on Chapatti, rice or in veg / dal can do wonders to relieve you from insomnia.
- Passionflower tea– Studies suggest that this herbal drink also contains the antioxidant apigenin and increases the production of GABA, a brain chemical that helps in reducing stress and anxiety, thereby promoting good quality of sleep.
Try these sleep-inducing foods and share your experiences.