Hacking Your Sleep: Take a Nice, Warm Bath!

Hacking Your Sleep: Take a Nice, Warm Bath!

If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, you’re certainly not alone. There are over 9 million people just like you who are so desperate for a nightly rest that they’re actually taking a prescription sleep medication every night. But what if we told you it doesn’t have to be that way? What if there was one simple, easy hack that you could do in your own home that could help you sleep better at night without prescription drugs?

In case you haven’t guessed already by the title, yes, there is and yes, we’re going to explain it to you. You may have already guessed what the heck it is by now: a nice, warm bath. But you can’t draw just any warm bath. There is a very specific way to use a warm bath to prime your body for better sleep at night. It will help you fall asleep right at bedtime, it’ll improve the overall quality of your sleep, and it’s much better for you than dangerous sleep medications. So let’s get to the instructions, shall we?

How to Properly Implement the Warm Bath Hack

If you’ve never taken a warm, soothing bath before, we’re sure you at least have an idea of how wonderful the experience can be. Obviously, if you don’t have a bathtub in your home or access to one on a regular basis, implementing the warm bath hack may be difficult for you – but thankfully, it’s not impossible (more on that later). For the rest of you bathtub mavens out there, get ready to learn a trick which will not just improve your sleep, but your quality of life in general.

We know you’re probably thinking right now that this hack will give you the perfect excuse to use that new, slightly pricey bath bomb while sipping on a glass of pinot grigio and reading a good book. Unfortunately, the warm bath sleep hack requires a little more strategy and effort than that. But don’t you worry – it’ll be worth it! It’s mostly about timing. You have to make sure that you take your bath at the right time, that you spend only as much time as you need in the water, and that you give your body time between the end of your bath and the start of your bedtime to process everything. Once you get the timing down right, you’ll hack yourself to sleep in no time.

This step-by-step process will require a little tweaking and experimentation from you. Everyone’s body is different, so you’re going to have to personalize it to your individual needs. The steps you need to follow are:

  • Draw your bath at any point between 1 – 2 hours before your scheduled/desired bedtime
  • Make sure the water is very warm (but not uncomfortably hot) and soak in it for at least 30 minutes
  • Get out of the tub and dry off about 90 minutes before your scheduled bedtime

The 90-minute rule is the amount of time it usually takes for your body to cool back down after the warm water heats you up. This cooling down effect sends a signal to your body that it is time for bed. Once your body gets the green light on preparing for rest, you’ll start to feel drowsy and ready for sleep in no time. For some people, though, it may only take an hour or 30 minutes after you step out of the bath to start feeling that drowsiness. The best thing to do is experiment with different times so that you figure out exactly what works for you.

Speaking of figuring out what works for you, you can still utilize this temperature hack even if you don’t own a bathtub. This is especially true for people who live in big cities where space is scarce and not every home or apartment has room for a tub. It is possible to create the same effect by taking a warm shower instead. But this can be a little bit trickier since standing in a shower of running water is less efficient at warming your body than soaking it in a warm bath. Luckily, there’s another hack you can use to improve your sleep which is shower specific. And when you learn how to do it right, you can use your shower to super-hack your body for perfect sleep.

Contrast Showers: Next Level Hacking Skills

Contrast showers are a little harder to manage because of the temperature extremes. But the effort has some pretty big payoffs. As effective as slowly warming your body in a warm bath and slowly cooling your body after you dry off is, doing this process quickly in a shower has an even stronger effect. It’s basically the HIIT cardio of sleep hygiene. And it goes a little something like this:

  • Figure out where the settings on your shower knob are for water temperatures which are uncomfortably hot and uncomfortably cold; but don’t be a hero. Make sure they’re just outside your comfort zone but no farther (or else you may injure your skin).
    • Pro tip: mark them with tape or some other visual cue if you can. You’ll need to be able to switch fast between the two if you want to do it right.
  • Start on the cold water setting, and immerse yourself under the running water for 20 seconds. At the end of those 20 seconds, turn the knob to the uncomfortably warm setting and stands there for 10 seconds. This is a full set.
  • Most experts recommend completing anywhere from 3 to 5 sets per shower right before bed. After you have completed all of your sets, switch the knob back to the cold water setting for a final 20 seconds, and then get out of the shower. If you do it right, you’ll be sleeping like a baby and no time.

Next Next Level Hacking Skills: Use a Warm Bath or a Contrast Shower With the Right Herbal Sleep Aid

Why not coax your body into relaxing that much better with a natural sleep aid? Some of the best ones, like Avinol PM, contain safe herbal ingredients which naturally help your body relax at night. They are effective yet gentle, and won’t require you to jump through the hoops of getting a prescription just to get the rest that you deserve. We strongly suggest you try one out today.

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Discover the Amazing Plants Which Help Induce Sleep

Discover the Amazing Plants Which Help Induce Sleep

Mother Nature is a very generous mom. It’s crazy how many of the remedies we use today are either synthesized from or taken straight from natural sources. Aside from practicing good sleep hygiene, you can improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep that much more with a few extra botanical decorations. No, we’re not talking about plants that you smoke or chew. We’re talking about how becoming a responsible plant mom (or plant dad) can improve your nightly sleep habits.

Getting Down With Your Green Thumb in the Bedroom

Taking care of plants outdoors is messy and gross and full of bugs. But taking care of plants inside your home – and especially in your on bedroom – is super easy! If you decide to take care of any of the following plants, it’ll even help you sleep, too:

  • Valerian – This is one of the most popular flowers out there. But it’s not just for sleep! People have been cultivating this plant for centuries for many different purposes. It gained popularity back in the 16th century because Europeans coveted the sweet smell of its flowers. But the smell isn’t just pleasant – it’s relaxing. Relaxing enough, in fact, that just smelling it can help you sleep better. You can also try plucking some of the flower petals and adding them to a warm, relaxing bath before you get in bed.
  • Lavender – Valerian isn’t the only sweet smelling plant on this list. If you’re familiar with aromatherapy, flowers, or if you’ve done any research into sleep remedies, we are sure you’ve heard of lavender by now. The lavender flower is the queen of the natural sleep remedy realm. Some even believe it has the power to lower blood pressure, soothe fussy babies, and potentially improve the overall quality of your sleep. Sure, you can take it in supplement form or use lavender oil therapeutically – but wouldn’t caring for a lavender plant be much more fun and visually appealing?
  • Aloe Vera – if it’s good enough for NASA, it’s good enough for us! Aloe vera isn’t just for sunburns anymore. It is very efficient at recycling dirty air and turning it into fresh, clean oxygen. On top of that, it’s a great moisturizer and the gel inside the leaves can be used to buff up the fiber content of a green smoothie! If fresh, clean air doesn’t at least improve the quality of your sleep if not help you get to sleep, we don’t know what will.
  • Gardenia – There has been a lot of scientific inquiry into the medicinal properties of gardenia plants. As a matter of fact, some scientists believe that gardenia could potentially be as potent as valium when it comes to helping people relax. But even if it proves to be slightly less potent, keeping one of these plants around is not a bad idea. Like valerian, gardenias are a very beautiful plant with a very pleasant smell. Unlike valerian, however, it can be a little tricky to take care of this plant properly. Gardenias are a healthy and interesting challenge when it comes to testing your green thumb with indoor plants.
  • Areca Palm – Do you use a humidifier at night? Would you like a more affordable option which is better for the environment? Then we have a botanical-based solution for you. It’s called the areca palm. This medium sized fern-like plant is known for not just creating more of the oxygen we breathe, but for humidifying the air as well. If you have sinus issues which are the result of falling asleep in dry air, we strongly suggest you adopt and care for an areca palm.

Drink Some Plants for a Relaxing Night’s Rest

Unfortunately, not all of us have a green thumb. And that’s okay. If you can’t or don’t want to adopt any houseplants, there are other ways you can use plants to help you get better sleep at night. The easiest way to do so is to boil them in hot water and to drink the tea. There are many plants you can prepare in this way in order to get better sleep.

Valerian

Here we are talking about valerian again. You don’t have to grow the plant to get the benefits from this plant. Valerian tea is a very popular beverage which many people either drink by itself or in conjunction with other herbal sleep remedies.  

Passionflower

If you’re having problems with sleep deprivation, then you need some passion flower tea in your life. It works great in tandem with chamomile or valerian root tea – or both! If you want to get on nerdy about it, the reason passion flower is so effective is because it is one of many botanicals which has the potential to improve GABA levels in your brain.

Lavender

Smelling lavender works very well for relaxation and improved sleep. But drinking lavender tea is just as good, if not better. And that’s not just us saying so. Scientific studies have shown a direct connection between lavender and lowered blood pressure, reduced heart rate, and a better quantity of sleep.

Hops

Most of the evidence behind hops by itself itself is anecdotal. But there are at least two scientific study which show that hops extract, when paired with the valyrian, can help reduce sleep disturbances. But that’s not all. With their powers combined, these two can also reduce sleep latency and improve relaxation.

Natural Sleep Solutions Are the Obviously Better Choice

When you look at the long-term health consequences of different sleep remedies, natural ones always come out on top. They are gentle and safe enough that you won’t have to worry about any long-term, dangerous side effects. Plus you can take them in any form – whether it’s a tea, whether you’re smelling a pleasant plant that lives on your dresser, or whether it’s a simple-to-use herbal sleep supplement. This is one of the many reasons why we love plants so much!

Is CBD Oil Really Good for Sleep? Let’s Weigh the Pros and Cons

Is CBD Oil Really Good for Sleep? Let’s Weigh the Pros and Cons

We’ve already talked at great length about how unhealthy and potentially dangerous prescription sleeping pills can be. Over the counter sleeping pills are no exception, either. The vast majority of troubled sleepers are currently searching for safe, natural solutions to their problem. Some people claim that CBD oil is one of the best and safest natural remedies. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of controversy behind this natural plant extract which is keeping people who could benefit from it tossing and turning at night.

CBD oil is a non-psychoactive component derived from the marijuana (cannabis) plant. Due to years of prejudice and a lack of scientific information, marijuana has been illegal in many first world countries – where insomnia is the most rampant – for decades. Thankfully, a wave of scientific inquiry and higher education standards have started opening people’s minds to the healing potential of this plant. There’s a lot of good,solid scientific evidence supporting the use of CBD oil for sleep problems, and we’d like to help people learn all about it. We hope you’ll take the time to keep reading and learn some new, exciting facts about this natural healing product.

An In-depth Look at CBD Oil

Cannabidiol is the full name of this natural, organic compound – but most people call it CBD for short. There are actually many plants in nature that produce their own form of cannabidiol. Unfortunately, those plants only produce it in trace amounts which make it prohibitively expensive to harvest from “legal” sources. And even if you could, we’d go out on a limb and predict that anti-cannabis lawyers would find loopholes in the current anti-cannabis legislation to make CBD oil questionably legal no matter which plant it comes from.

Let’s go back to the fact that CBD oil is non-psychoactive. For those who don’t know, that’s just a fancy way of saying that it will not get you high. THC – tetrahydrocannabinol – is the psychoactive component responsible for making you feel high once cannabis gets into your system. Part of the justification for making cannabis illegal in the first place is because of the cognitive impairment which THC can cause. This segways perfectly into the main reason why CBD oil is so popular right now: not only does it not cause the cognitive impairment which THC is notorious for, but it has a whole host of other health benefits that have significantly improved millions of people’s quality of life.

The Health Benefits of CBD Oil

CBD oil does influence the brain, but not in the way that THC does. It has healing and mollifying effects. I can help reduce seizures, joint pain, and lower blood pressure in people who suffer from hypertension. Many people have experienced relief from these serious health conditions without having to suffer the unpleasant and potentially dangerous side effects of prescription drugs which are designed to serve the same purpose. Unfortunately, many of them still have to jump through complicated legal hoops in order to get the medicine they need.

On top of neurological and cardiovascular conditions, CBD oil is especially good for sleep problems. It has a much easier time crossing over the blood-brain barrier than other substances. The brain is very sensitive to it, too – so a little will go a very long way and have a profound effect. One of its strongest effects is something called neurogenesis, AKA the generation of brand new brain cells. Growing these new brain cells not only helps repair damage you may have already sustained from prescription or over-the-counter sleeping pills, but it can also help your body work smarter – not harder – while your brain and your body replenish themselves during your nightly sleep cycle.

CBD oil has been shown to bind to serotonin receptors on your neurons just like antidepressants do. This can have a calming anti-anxiety effect without the dangerous or unpleasant side effects of those prescription drugs. Once CBD oil makes you feel calm and relaxed, it keeps working even as you sleep. This is especially helpful for Parkinson’s patients because CBD oil helps improve the quality of REM sleep and also helps them go into a deeper state of atonia while they dream. Atonia is important because it paralyzes you while you dream and prevents you from sleepwalking or otherwise hurting yourself while you are unconscious. Unfortunately, atonia is hindered or eliminated in most Parkinson’s patients. Even in healthy people, this enhanced REM sleep promotes brain health and improves cognitive function.

So Why Is CBD Oil Illegal?

CBD oil isn’t technically illegal everywhere. And there are plenty of places where the legality is a large, confusing gray area. In the united states, for example, the fact that CBD oil comes from the cannabis plant classifies it as a “marijuana extract” and makes it illegal according to federal law. But according to the us constitution, states are allowed to pass laws which sometimes contradict federal laws. Many states have done exactly that with regard to CBD oil. Courtroom battles are being fought on a daily basis to try and figure out which laws reign supreme in different areas. If you want to purchase your own supplies CBD oil, we strongly recommend you do as much research as possible on your local and state laws so that you can legally obtain this healthful concoction.

Using CBD Oil to Help You Sleep

The most popular delivery systems for CBD oil are sublingual tinctures, topical creams, and liquid gel caps. It’s best to start small, because headaches have been associated with higher doses of CBD oil. The lowest reported medically effective dose starts at around 10 mg, but can be as high as 600 mg depending on height, body weight, and the severity of your affliction.

CBD oil is perfectly safe to use in tandem with other natural sleep remedies. So if the CBD oil dose you take doesn’t feel like it’s all that effective, or if you can’t take an effective enough dose because of that headache problems we just mentioned, try pairing it was a natural sleep aid like Avinol PM. From what we can tell, it seems as though all of these natural compounds can work together and produce a synergistic calming effect. Before you know it, you’ll be sleeping like a baby – and drug-free, too!

Are You Making Yourself Sick by Neglecting Your Sleep?

Are You Making Yourself Sick by Neglecting Your Sleep?

If you have trouble sleeping on a regular basis and you also seem to catch every cold germ and flu bug under the sun, we have some bad news for you. It’s highly unlikely that these two things are a coincidence. While short-term sleep deprivation is associated with seemingly minor side effects, long term sleep deprivation can have much more severe consequences. Not only will long term sleep deprivation speed up the aging process and decrease function over time, it will also compromise your immune response.

There are many old wives’ tales about what will and won’t make you sick. Your mother or grandma may have constantly warned you not to go outside with a sweater or you’d catch a cold – but did anyone ever tell you not to go outside ‘without a good night’s sleep’? Unlikely. But they should have! Below, we’ll outline all the recent discoveries between getting sick more often and getting poor sleep. We hope it’ll help you understand how important it is to improve the quality of your nightly rest!

Stress, Poor Sleep, and Your Immune System

Doctors recommend that adults get somewhere between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. Getting too much or too little sleep can adversely affect how you feel the next day. And when you don’t get those sleep hours on a regular basis, it will compromise your health in a number of different ways. In Europe recently, there have been a series of scientific discoveries which have shown a connection between sleep deprivation and the type of extreme stress which compromises physical health. Even if you aren’t chronically emotionally or physically stressed, poor sleep will have the same effect.

But what if you are physically/emotionally stressed on a regular basis on top of frequently getting poor sleep? You’re effectively doubling down on the negative health effects. The more stressors you have in your life, the more profound of an impact they will have on your body. And the stronger the impact, the more hazardous they can be.

Beyond the weakening of your immune system, there are other disorders you should be aware of that can be caused or exacerbated by poor sleep. It all starts with a little hormone called cortisol. Cortisol has many uses in the body, but it is most commonly used when you are stressed out. This stress hormone causes a domino effect a physical reactions in your body which contribute towards weight gain, obesity, heart disease, and even diabetes. But each one of those diseases is a subject for an entire article unto its own; for now let’s shift back to talking more about your immune system.

The Connection Between Poor Sleep and Getting Sick More Often

The stress response and the immune response in your body have a deep connection with one another. When you have too much cortisol circulating through your system – especially at night – your body doesn’t have the opportunity to completely finish a restorative cycle because it’s too busy getting rid of the cortisol. This shrinks your T-cell count because the body can’t replenish your T-cells if it’s busy doing other things while you’re sleeping. T-cells are the first line of defense when it comes to attacking and neutralizing bacteria and viruses. If you don’t have enough of those little foot soldiers to take on an invading army of infectious disease, you’re going to lose that battle.

Now, don’t get carried away – we’re not trying to be alarmist or say that one night of poor sleep is going to make you catch a deadly cold. More than anything, it’ll make you more likely to get sick more often and it’ll make your symptoms worse. And the poorer your sleep quality on a more frequent basis, the harder you will feel it. Beyond that are the complications which being that sick that often will cause: taking too many days off work, spreading disease to other people, and maybe even long-term respiratory problems depending on your age and general health.

Speaking of your general health, if you get a bad night’s sleep the night before you’re scheduled to get a flu shot, you may want to reschedule that appointment. You see, flu shots work by introducing your T-cells to a weakened version of a flu virus. Basically, it’s like giving a boxer a punching bag to practice on before the big fight. But if your immune system is compromised when you get your flu shot, it’s the same thing as telling that same boxer to practice with a bigger, stronger, faster opponent. Instead of protecting yourself from getting sick, you’ll basically be paying your doctor to give you the flu.

Protect Yourself from Sickness – Get Better Sleep!

For starters, unless you absolutely cannot avoid it, stay away from sleeping pills (yes, even prescription ones). You may think they’re helping you sleep, but they are usually hurting your sleep quality more than they’re helping it. As we discussed a few paragraphs back, poor sleep quality is part of the reason why your immune system becomes compromised in the first place. So you’ll want to avoid any sleep medication which interferes with your natural sleep cycle. Instead, try cleaning up your sleep diet or practicing healthier sleep hygiene habits. Not only will this condition your body to fall asleep naturally on its own, but it’ll have a multitude of other health benefits as well.

Taking a natural sleep aid is one of the best ways to boost your immunity by improving the quality of your rest. Safe and highly effective formulas such as Avinol PM are your best bet for making this happen. After all, people have been using most of the ingredients in the Avinol PM formula for centuries in order to improve their sleep – so how could it not work? Ideally, you can test it out for yourself by ordering your own supply of Avinol PM. After that, get ready to enjoy a sickness-free cold and flu season!

Hemorrhoids and Sleep – a Total Pain in the Butt!

Hemorrhoids and Sleep – a Total Pain in the Butt!

Second behind anxiety, the number one reason why people aren’t sleeping is physical pain. And one of the most difficult types of pain to deal with at bedtime is hemorrhoids – it’s literally a pain in the butt! Yeah, that’s right, we went there. But hemorrhoids are so common that one in three adults I’ll also go there at some point in their lives. Right now, you may be dealing with an acute hemorrhoid outbreak and need immediate relief. Or you may be trying to plan for the future because you’re worried your hemorrhoids will come back. Either way, we have the advice you need to prevent your pain in the butt from ruining your night’s rest.

Fixing Your Hemorrhoid Problems Immediately

Hemorrhoids can strike at any time. This is especially true if you strain a whole lot when you go number 2. Hemorrhoids are the direct result of straining your pelvic floor muscles and putting too much pressure on the blood vessels in your anal cavity. This pressure makes them become swollen and irritated. And since most sleeping positions (more on that in a minute) put even more pressure on these inflamed vessels, the pain can feel especially bad at that time.

Banishing Bedtime Hemorrhoid Pain

When you have a health issue that starts out fine in the morning and gradually gets worse throughout the day, it’s referred to as “sundowning”. This nickname came about because the symptoms become acutely worse after the sun goes down. Hemorrhoids are no exception. Whether you’re walking around all day or sitting upright, you’re constantly putting pressure on those strained vessels. So when you go to bed, you’ll end up trying to sleep through a full day’s worth I’ve accumulated pain and inflammation. Yikes!

If you need help right now, we suggest alternating between a sitz bath and a cold compress. If it’s not too late at night, you can also go to the drugstore and purchase some hemorrhoid cream. Either way, you can use these remedies safely and privately in the comfort of your own home for maximum effectiveness.

For the hemorrhoid cream, be sure to follow the directions on the box. If you’re doing a sitz bath, then pour some warm water into a shallow dish. Some people add a small amount of apple cider vinegar for an extra anti-inflammatory boost. Soak your backside in the bath for 10 to 15 minutes, get out of the bath, and let yourself are dry. Then apply a cold compress for another 10 to 15 minutes. Keep alternating these treatments until you start to feel better. If this doesn’t work, or if it takes an excessive amount of time to feel any real relief, that’s something you may need to talk to your doctor about.

Getting Good Sleep Despite Hemorrhoid Pain

So you’re ready to go to bed, despite knowing that your hemorrhoids could flare up and wake you up in the middle of the night. One good strategy for preventing this from happening is to sleep the correct position. Most experts believe that sleeping on your stomach is the best way to go. Putting a pillow under your hip bones to elevate your posterior makes it that much more effective. This helps gravity help you by pulling fluid out of those inflamed vessels so that they aren’t a swollen and painful.

But sleeping on your stomach is uncomfortable for a lot of people. If you’re one of those, then try sleeping on your side. You may have to use extra pillows as bumper guards so that you don’t accidentally roll over onto your back in the middle of the night. Otherwise, your hemorrhoids could flare up and wake you up in the middle of the night.

Sleeping on your back is the last thing you want to do – but for some people, it’s impossible to sleep any other way. If you fall into this unfortunate category, then you’re going to have to use your extra pillows a little more strategically. If you put multiple pillows directly underneath your knees, this can help elevate your posterior so that there’s less pressure on it. You still may experience some hemorrhoid pain, but at least it won’t be as bad as sleeping flat on your back.

Preventing Future Hemorrhoid Pain

If you’ve had hemorrhoid pain on a somewhat regular basis for a while, you’ll probably need some tips and tricks for reducing frequency and lessening the intensity of future flare-ups. Well, you’ve come to the right place! If you want to help protect that booty from bedtime hemorrhoid pain, make sure that you:

  • Talk to your doctor – the more severe and frequent your hemorrhoids flare up, the more likely you will need a little extra medical care in order to prevent them
  • Squat more on the toilet – the 90 degree angle most people create when they sit on the toilet causes extra straining during a bowel movement. Lifting your knees up with a small stool (or really good thigh strength!) Can reposition your bowels in a way that requires less straining
  • Weight loss – hemorrhoids are much more likely to happen When you gain weight – so Lose weight if you can! Light exercise can help you accomplish this goal without straining your hemorrhoids
  • Stay hydrated – most people strain during their bathroom time because they aren’t drinking enough water. So get yourself a nice water bottle and keep it at your side at all times
  • Eat a better diet – for optimal health, you should be eating 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day; this helps your bowels move waste through more quickly and efficiently, resulting in less training

There are enough things in life which make it difficult to fall asleep at night – hemorrhoid pain shouldn’t be one of them. We hope the tips above can I help you reduce or eliminate your hemorrhoid pain at night. That way, you’ll be that much closer to getting the restful, restorative sleep you deserve! But if you’re still having trouble, we suggest a natural sleep aid to give you an extra edge. There are plenty safe, affordable options out there that are definitely worth a try.

We Finally Have an Answer to the Question: Why Do We Sleep?

We Finally Have an Answer to the Question: Why Do We Sleep?

Most workaholics and/or insomniacs love to say things like “i’ll sleep when I’m dead” as if the phrase were a badge of honor. Well, as it turns out, that’s the farthest thing from the truth! The human body needs sleep. We’ve always known this, but until recently, we haven’t known why. Today, we’re going to tell you all about why your body needs a healthy amount of high-quality, natural sleep each and every night in order for you to be your best. So get ready to learn something new!

Anatomy of the Sleep Cycle

Most people assume that sleep is a binary condition: either you’re asleep, or you’re awake. But it’s actually a lot more complicated than that. While you are asleep, you actually go through something called a “sleep cycle”. There are five stages in total, and each stage plays an important part in refreshing and rejuvenating your body while you rest.

  • Stage 1: Stage one is the most shallow; in fact, some people may still be partially awake during stage 1 sleep
  • Stage 2: This is the stage where you lose consciousness and your brain waves start to slow down
  • Stage 3: Scientist also referred to stage 3 as “slow wave” sleep. This stage is characterized by slow delta waves taking over your brain and kicking off the rejuvenation process
  • Stage 4: This is deeper but similar to stage 3; the main difference is that your brain waves slow down even more and the regenerative process becomes more potent
  • Stage 5: Even if you don’t know anything about sleep cycles, you’ve probably heard of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. This is the sleep stage responsible for our dreams

In a way, you could almost compare your nightly sleep cycle to a washing machine: you fill the basin, you add soap, you jiggle the clothes around, you rinse, and the spin cycle squeezes all the water out. If anything goes wrong during that process, your clothes won’t get clean! Similarly, if anything goes wrong with your nightly sleep cycle, you’ll wake up feeling like a tired, brain-foggy mess the next day.

Sleep Is a Lot Busier Than You Think!

Here’s another misconception people have about sleep: that the body is in a dormant, highly inactive state. In all actuality, though, this couldn’t be further from the truth! Just because your body isn’t moving doesn’t mean that things aren’t getting done. In fact, there are many very important things that do get done while you sleep at night. Such as:

Hormones Get Regulated

Hormone regulation happens during stages 3 & 4 of the human sleep cycle – and human growth hormone (HGH) is the most important one. Your body needs this growth hormone to restore and replenish every single cell in your body. Without stages 3 & 4 of your sleep cycle, your body can’t produce human growth hormone and it causes horrible things like premature aging. It can even stunt growth in children who don’t get enough healthy sleep.

But those aren’t the only hormones that get regulated while you rest. If you’re on a diet or trying to lose weight, pay very close attention to this next part: your body also resets and regulates its leptin and ghrelin levels during this part of your sleep cycle. Why is this important? Because these hormones are the major players in controlling your appetite. Ghrelin makes you feel hungry when you need food, and leptin tells you you’re full when you need to stop eating. If you don’t get enough sleep, or if you don’t get enough deep sleep, then your ghrelin levels spike and your leptin levels tank. This will leave you feeling hungry all day. Even when you do eat, you’ll never feel completely satiated. Not only can this ruin your diet, but it can cause you to gain weight – even if you aren’t on a diet!

You Lose Weight

Speaking of diet and weight loss, getting a good night’s sleep is the best thing you can do for your body if you are trying to drop the pounds. First, there’s a little bit of superficial weight loss. Just by breathing while sleeping, you can burn off a couple of pounds of water weight at night. This number jumps up if you’re falling asleep in a warm bedroom or covered by heavy blankets because your body will be more likely to sweat. But it’s not all water weight that gets lost.

Your body hits the reset button on your metabolism when you get enough high quality sleep. If you’re getting the 8 to 10 hours most medical experts recommend, you’re putting your body into a fasted state for at least that long. Contrary to the overblown fears about “starvation mode” – which does not actually exist – fasting is extremely good for your body. Unless there is something really unhealthy going on with your metabolism, your body isn’t going to wake you in the middle of the night to go eat when your glucose drops (which is what happens when you’re fasted). Instead, your body runs off of its stored energy – i.e., Its fat cells. You may think you burn the most calories when you’re chugging away on the treadmill, but in reality, most of your fat burning happens when you sleep.

It’s Spring Cleaning for Your Brain

Recent scientific studies have shown that during sleep, the mammalian brain shrinks its cells by up to 60%. Think of it like clearing traffic off the highway; when there’s more space available, the cars move more freely and get to where they’re going more efficiently. Having all this extra interstitial space between your brain cells helps clear away toxins, waste products, and especially the plaques most medical experts believe are responsible for alzheimer’s and other brain disease. This explains why people who don’t get enough sleep suffer from that dreaded “brain fog” the morning after a night of terrible sleep.

How to Get All of These Benefits Tonight

Now that you know why sleep is so important for your body, the next question is: how to get more of it? Well, the best way to get the healthy sleep you need is to do everything you can to make sure you get to sleep naturally. Prescription and over-the-counter sleeping pills won’t help with this; you’ll need a natural herbal sleep aid if you really want to get the job done! Look for natural ingredients on the label. These will help you get through all 5 stages of sleep for the best possible rest.

Learn How to Relax Before Bed – the Natural Way

Learn How to Relax Before Bed – the Natural Way

It’s not uncommon for people who are extremely, extremely relaxed to fall asleep. It’s pretty much the deepest possible level of relaxation the human body can reach. Unfortunately, there is a chronic deficiency in our society today: the ability to relax. So how do we fix it? How do we take back our ability to get sleep naturally, instead of relying on dangerous drugs to do it for us? It’s actually not as difficult as you might think. Listed below are the easiest ways to help you get to sleep naturally. We hope you try some tonight!

Start by Creating Your Sleep Cave

Creating the perfect sleeping environment is essential to relaxing before bed. We’ve actually touched on it before when we talked about sleep hygiene. But it’s such an important point that it bears repeating: if you don’t have a relaxing sleep environment, you’re going to have trouble getting to sleep. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Turning down the temperature is a great way to get started. Unfortunately, we understand this isn’t possible for most people. Heating/cooling costs can be expensive, or maybe you’re just uncomfortable trying to sleep when it’s 68 degrees in your room. Either way, you should try and figure something out. The human body evolved to feel sleepy at the end of the day after the sun goes down and the air starts to cool. If you can recreate the same environment, you can help yourself sleep.

Make sure your environment is dark, and spend plenty of time around muted lighting before you turn in. Your bedroom should definitely be free of electronic devices if at all possible. Blackout curtains and non-fluorescent bulbs will also help encourage your body to produce more melatonin at night. Finally, you can invest in a good pair of anti blue light glasses if there’s no way to get fluorescent or electronic light out of your bedroom

Warm baths and aromatherapy are a fantastic way to relax late at night. Not only are warm baths relaxing on their own, but once you get out, you experience a body temperature drop. This drop in temperature is almost identical to sleeping in a cold room. Aromatherapy salts and oils also work really well. The scent of lavender and chamomile are well known for helping people come down. And most bath salts are made from magnesium, which is also known to help induce sleep.

Creating a Calm Space in Your Mind

Science is discovering more and more things everyday about the mind-body connection. No longer is this connection some woo-woo hippy dippy concept which rational people must be skeptical of. There is plenty of scientific proof to suggest it exists, especially when it comes to meditation.

Recent experiments on people – both those who are experienced with meditation, and those who were new to the practice – showed some very interesting results. Regardless of level of experience, fMRI scans showed actual physical changes in the brain which were the direct result of meditation. Specifically, it showed shrinking activity in the parts of the brain which process anxiety. With this hyperactive part of the brain calm down, test subjects reported lower stress levels and – you guessed it – better sleep.

There are plenty of phone apps and websites out there which can help you learn mindfulness meditation. Some of them are free, but others offer extra guidance and variety for a small monthly fee. Speaking of monthly fees, you should also exercise more at a gym or wherever you can find space to do it. You can exercise almost anywhere for free if you’re on a tight budget, though. The important thing is getting it done, and getting it done earlier in the day if you can. Exercising in the morning or early afternoon gives you the added bonus of sun exposure. This exposure helps regulate your sleep/wake cycle so that it’s easier for your body to relax when the sun goes down.

Lots of people like to drink herbal tea when they’re having trouble sleeping. We wholeheartedly support and stand by this practice. Do you remember us mentioning chamomile and lavender earlier? Well, they work just as well in an herbal tea as they do in your favorite bath oils or salts. Some people believe they even work better when imbibed as opposed to adding them to a warm bath. There are other herbs you can add, too. Valerian root is a very popular ingredient in herbal teas which are designed for relaxation and sleep. Lemongrass is another. Some people even add hops – it’s one of the ingredients in beer that makes you feel sleepy after you’ve had a glass or two.

The most important thing to consider is how much stress you are caring with you to bed. Are you anxious about what you have to do tomorrow, and feel completely unprepared? Or are you holding onto a lot of anger, resentment, and stressful thoughts? Well, there are things you can do in order to try to lighten your mental burden.

For starters, you can keep a journal in order to write down all of the stressful, unpleasant thoughts you have which are keeping you awake. Think of it as a cathartic way of releasing those thoughts so that they are no longer in your mind while you are trying to relax. Next, if you are intimidated by the day ahead, make yourself a to-do list. At the very least, it’ll give you a sense of empowerment and control – feelings which are the antithesis of anxiety. Secondly, it can make your chores that much easier to tackle the next day! When you feel accomplished and satisfied, you can’t feel stressed or anxious. That’ll make it easier to get to sleep.

Taking Natural Sleep Supplements to Help You Relax

Have you ever tried taking a natural sleep aid in order to help you relax before bed? They’ve always been around, but they’re starting to make a comeback in popularity. We highly recommend natural sleep aids because they are safer, gentler, and sometimes even more effective than prescription or over-the-counter sleeping pills. They’re usually cheaper, too! It may take a little work to find a natural sleep aid that’s right for you, but when you do, it’ll be worth it.