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Mastering the Art of Restful Sleep: A Comprehensive Guide to Optimal Sleep Wellness

Unlock the power of high quality sleep & learn the integrative health secrets of a good night's sleep



Sleep, alongside digestion and fluid shifts in body weight, stands as one of the most sensitive biological processes. Its optimal function requires consistency and a sense of familiarity. While supplements like melatonin, inositol, and valerian root can be helpful aids, they should not replace a solid sleep hygiene routine. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the crucial aspects of sleep, from its communal origins to the science of quality sleep, and provide practical tips to enhance your sleep routine.


Understanding Sleep Quality


When we look into the nature of human sleep, we can understand what aspects are so important for us. Since the times of nomadic living, humans have always lived with the risk of stress. When we lived in tribal conditions (which some people in parts of the world still live today), we had to sleep in the open in dangerous places like the deserts and jungles. How did humans sleep through this? Communal participation, meaning everyone slept close together. This is how safety was generated (e.g. security in numbers). Human beings for countless of generations have gathered together to sleep communally at night, and this primal feeling is built into the very fabric of family life. When you feel safe in your surroundings you are able to sleep.


The most important aspect of sleep quality and waking up feeling refreshed, is not total time you spend with your eyes closed, but the amount of time you spend in delta sleep. Delta sleep is the deepest sleep state of complete body and muscular relaxation. The average amount of time a person spends in delta sleep each night is about 45 minutes. So technically, if you are able to get enough delta sleep, you can essentially be refreshed - we all know those people who seem fine off 4-5 hours of sleep, they simply are able to get into delta sleep more easily during the night. If you are a person who sleeps for a few hours, wakes up and then has a hard time getting back to sleep....you might not need more sleep. Or, if you are someone who has difficulties getting to sleep, it may be best for you to put off bedtime for an hour or two.


One way to assess your sleep quality is to figure out your sleep latency, which is the length of time it takes to fall asleep after turning the lights out. The length of time for the onset of sleep after you’ve shut the lights off & got into bed can tell you a lot of information about the health of your sleep patterns. If you fall asleep right away at night, like as soon as your head hits the pillow, you tend to easily pass out - that is a sign your body is significantly sleep deprived. If you fall asleep longer than 15 minutes after you’ve gotten into bed, that’s an indication your circadian rhythm is off. The ideal time frame is: somewhere between 10-15 minutes of laying down with the lights out that you will drift off to sleep. In order to begin to establish a solid sleep hygiene, you must assess where you are currently at.


Assessing Your Sleep Routine

Take the following quiz to evaluate your nightly routine and discover more about your sleep quality. Anwser each question based on what you currently do each night, tally up your score at the end and see how your nightly routine measures up.


I usually go to bed around the same time each night:

  • Within 1-2 hour range every night (3 pts)

  • On weekdays, not weekends (2 pts)

  • Each night is different (1 pt)

  • I don't look at the clock before sleeping (0 pts)

My nightly wind down routine involves:

  • A low brain activity like reading, knitting, journaling, etc. (3 pts)

  • It varies, sometimes I read, other times I do nothing (2 pts)

  • I watch TV downstairs, use my computer, do work late & then go up to bed (1 pt)

  • I scroll on my phone while in bed (IG, Facebook, Tik Tok) or I watch TV in bed (0 pts)

I have a ritual that signals to my brain it's time to start the beginnig of the sleep process...

  • I will drink tea, wash my face (skin care routine), change into PJs by a certain time each night, etc. (3 pts)

  • The order in which I do things vary but it works for me (2 pts)

  • I try to but maybe I do it 2-3 times during the week, but my weekends are hell (1 pt)

  • What's a nightly ritual lol? (0 pts)

Scoring:

9 to 7: Congratulations! Your sleep routine is pretty solid. If you are still have trouble sleeping it may be time to try some supplements.


6 to 4: Work in progress. You are on your way to having a healthy sleep hygiene routine, but you may benefit from working on being more consistent.


3 to 0: Your sleep trouble may have underlying roots. It would be best to build your nightly routine and explore adjustments that can be made for higher quality sleep before trying any supplements.


Sleep is the body’s restorative process


Prioritizing sleep is crucial for maintaining optimal metabolic health. A consistent and quality sleep routine regulates hormones responsible for metabolism, such as insulin and cortisol, promoting balanced energy levels and weight management. Neglecting proper sleep hygiene can disrupt these hormonal functions, increasing the risk of metabolic disorders and compromising overall well-being.


If you want to lose fat, build muscle, regulate your digestion, balance your energy, optimize your nervous system...you have to first SLEEP WELL.


Sleep habits are very bio-indiviual, your patterns might not look like someone else’s but it works for you. That’s OK.


Communal Safety

The most intrinsic aspect of sleep lies in the sense of safety it provides. Sleep is an inherently vulnerable state for the body. In ancient times, nomadic tribes would sleep together in groups, even while navigating the perilous landscapes of deserts. The key to their fearless slumber lay in the strong communal bond they forged. Trust and shared living patterns created an environment where everyone felt secure, fostering an ultimate family experience that translated into an optimal sleep experience.

Embracing this ancestral magic can contribute to achieving high-quality sleep. Consider the following aspects to promote restorative sleep:


  • Manage Emotions: Avoid falling asleep in a state of anger. If you've had a fight with your partner, jot down your thoughts before bedtime instead of carrying unresolved feelings into sleep.

  • Timing Matters: Only go to bed when you are genuinely ready for sleep. Going to bed too early can lead to inner conflict and a struggle against your own natural rhythm.

  • Don't Panic!: If you find it difficult to sleep or keep waking up, get out of bed and move to a comfortable, quiet spot. Engage in low-brain-activity pursuits. Avoid turning on bright lights or screens; instead, use night lights in areas like hallways to minimize exposure to intense light during the night.

  • Establish a Routine: Develop a nighttime routine that signals to your brain that it's time to wind down. This could be as simple as changing into your pajamas at a specific time each night or enjoying a calming tea.

  • Mind-Body Connection: Explore sleep yoga as a prelude to sleep or during moments of insomnia. Incorporate meditation techniques, such as whole-body release, for mental relaxation.

  • Embrace It: Don't always resist insomnia; sometimes, getting out of bed & letting out what's on your mind is the best thing. Listening to your body's messages may lead to finding solutions to lingering problems.

  • Medical Considerations: Rule out underlying issues like sleep apnea or blood sugar problems. Consult with your primary care physician or a medical professional if sleep difficulties persist.


Building a Strong Foundation - The Sleep Hygiene Routine


A solid sleep hygiene routine forms the cornerstone of quality sleep. Here are foundational strategies to incorporate into your nightly routine:


  • Consistent Sleep Schedule:

    • Set a regular bedtime and wake-up time, even on weekends, to regulate your body's internal clock.

  • Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine:

    • Engage in calming activities before bed, such as reading, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation techniques to signal to your body that it's time to wind down.

  • Optimal Sleep Environment:

    • Ensure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows to create a conducive sleep environment.

  • Limit Exposure to Screens:

    • Reduce screen time at least an hour before bedtime to minimize the impact of blue light on melatonin production.

  • Be Mindful of Food and Drink:

    • Avoid heavy meals, caffeine, and nicotine close to bedtime. Opt for a light snack if needed and stay hydrated throughout the day.

  • Regular Exercise:

    • Incorporate physical activity into your routine, but aim to finish exercising at least a few hours before bedtime to allow your body to wind down.

  • Manage Stress:

    • Practice stress-reducing techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, or deep breathing exercises to alleviate anxiety and tension.


Enhancing Sleep with Therapeutic Supplements


While a robust sleep hygiene routine is essential, certain supplements can complement your efforts. However, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before adding any supplements to your routine. All of my favorite supplement products are linked on my Fullscript account, which you can access by clicking the link and get 10% off all orders. Here are some supplements that are commonly associated with sleep support:


  • Melatonin: A hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles, melatonin supplements may be useful for addressing jet lag or occasional sleep disturbances. It's important to use them under the guidance of a healthcare provider, as dosage and timing are critical and due to risk of dependency.

    • Typical Dose: 0.5 to 5 mg about 30 minutes before bedtime.

    • Start with a lower dose and adjust as needed. Higher doses are not necessarily more effective and may cause daytime drowsiness.

  • Magnesium Glycinate: This mineral is involved in muscle and nerve function and may help with relaxation. Magnesium supplements are available, but it's also present in various foods like nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and whole grains.

    • Typical Dose: 200 to 400 mg per day.

    • Magnesium is also obtained through diet, so total intake from both food and supplements should be considered.

  • L-Theanine: Found in tea leaves, L-theanine is an amino acid that may have calming effects. It's commonly consumed in the form of green tea, but supplements are also available.

    • Typical Dose: 100 to 200 mg, 30 minutes before bedtime.

    • L-Theanine is often found in green tea, and doses can vary based on the source.

  • 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan): 5-HTP is an amino acid that the body produces from tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that influences mood and sleep. Some people use 5-HTP supplements for sleep support.

    • Typical Dose: 50 to 100 mg, 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime.

    • Start with a lower dose and increase if needed. It's often used to support serotonin production.

  • Valerian Root: Valerian has been used traditionally as a sleep aid. It may help with relaxation, but more research is needed to fully understand its effectiveness.

    • Typical Dose: 300 to 600 mg, 30 minutes to two hours before bedtime.

    • Valerian root is available in various forms, including capsules and tinctures.

  • Glycine: An amino acid that may have a calming effect, glycine is found in various foods and is also available in supplement form.

    • Typical Dose: 3 to 5 grams, taken before bedtime.

    • Glycine is an amino acid and is also found in protein-containing foods.

  • CBD (Cannabidiol): Derived from the cannabis plant, CBD has gained popularity for its potential calming effects. However, research on its efficacy for sleep is still in the early stages, and its use should be approached with caution. Individual responses can be influenced by many metabolic factors such as, weight and metabolism. It's advisable to consult with a healthcare profession prior to use for sleep, especially if taking other medications.

    • Many people find relief with doses ranging from 10 to 50 mg of CBD per day. However, some individuals may require higher doses, while others may find lower doses effective.

    • Taking CBD in the evening, about 1-2 hours before bedtime, is a common practice to harness its potential calming effects.


Amplifying Your Sleep Environment with Tools


Explore a variety of resources to enhance your sleep environment. Recommended apps, podcasts/playlists, and books/audiobooks for sleep are based on specific ones I have personally used that have worked for me in the past, but of course, with a simple search you can find a multitide of different options that speak to you. Tools such as sleep masks and blue light-blocking glasses can further optimize your nighttime routine.


Apps
  • Rise is my personal favorite & one I use to track my own sleep health + energy levels, it gives you a TON of data!

  • other apps: Headspace, Sleep Cycle, Calm

Podcasts/Playlists
  • Willow Bend Zen - Guided Hypnosis by Ariadne Mayz (my personal fave & nightly ritual)

  • The Model Health Show: Help Me Sleep! (episodes 4, 5 & 6)

  • Sleep Magic - Sleep Hypnosis & Meditations by Jessica Porter

  • Joe Dispenzas Guided Meditations Originals (Spotify Playlist)

  • Brown Noise (Spotify Playlist)

Books/Audiobooks
  • Secrets of a Good Night’s Sleep by John Selby

  • Why We sleep by Matthew Walker

  • Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

  • Bedtime Stories for Stressed Adults (audiobook)

Tools

A truly restful night's sleep is a holistic endeavor, combining the wisdom of sleep hygiene, therapeutic supplements, and innovative tools. Embrace the power of a well-rounded approach, explore supportive apps and podcasts, and enhance your sleep sanctuary with tools designed to elevate your nighttime routine. Prioritize your sleep health, and witness the transformative effects on your overall well-being. Sweet dreams await those who embark on this journey towards a more fulfilling and restorative sleep.

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