Sleep is a necessary human function — it allows our brains to recharge and our bodies to rest.
Deeper sleep leads to less stress and vice versa, new research shows. One night of lousy sleep, just one night, is all it takes for your stress level to go through the roof, scientists are discovering. “The quality of your sleep plays a crucial role in the way you cope with stress. Lack of sleep affects the brain’s ability to regulate your emotional response to events” says D. Jennifer Martin, a clinical psychologist and a behavioral sleep medicine specialist at UCLA.
It doesn’t end there, because the extra stress makes sleep even more elusive the following night. “Your cortisol levels are elevated and your heart is pumping faster—two things that keep you awake and impair the quality of your rest once you do drift off,” Martin says. In fact, research shows that people who slept just four hours one night had higher levels of cortisol the next night, making it hard for them to get back on track.
It’s a classic catch-22: You need sleep to de-stress but are too frazzled to turn in, and the lack of rest makes you even more tense. Break free of this draining cycle with the latest research and expert advice.
Do Regular Work out
Research shows that people who go to the gym regularly sleep better than those who don’t. “Exercise is so great for sleep that it’s better to work out even late in the day than not at all.
Get your minerals
Over half of adults in the U.S. don’t get enough magnesium in their diets, according to USDA research. That shortfall could create a deficiency and lead to anxiety and insomnia. When magnesium levels are low, you have a higher risk of becoming anxious and having sleep disturbances. To stay on an even keel,eat magnesium-rich foods throughout the day to hit the recommended daily target of 310 to 320 mg for women. Try almonds (an ounce has 77 mg), spinach (a cup of boiled spinach has 157 mg), soy milk (61 mg a cup), and black beans (½ cup of cooked beans contains 60 mg). Before bed, snack on an ounce of almonds and an ounce or two of chocolate (up to 41 mg of magnesium) to help make you sleepy.
Eat foods with prebiotics
Raw garlic, leeks, and onions are packed with prebiotics, a type of fiber that improves your gastrointestinal health and affects brain function in such a way that it becomes easier for you to let go of stress. Prebiotics help induce deep, restorative sleep after periods of intense anxiety. The special fiber also protects the body from some of the damage stress can cause. Other good sources of prebiotics include raw jicama, dandelion greens, asparagus, and chicory root; the fiber can be found in supplements too..
Go off track
Thanks to the popularity of activity trackers, people are becoming obsessed with getting the perfect night’s sleep.Try to arrange your schedule so you can spend about eight hours in bed every night, which should wind up giving you around seven hours of actual sleep. It’s fine to use a tracker to get a general sense of how many hours you’re logging a night, but remember that most devices give only an estimate at best. You may also want to take a break from it after a super-stressful day to avoid subconsciously sabotaging your sleep.
Don’t force it
Going to bed earlier isn’t always better. In fact, turning in too prematurely can be another way of unproductively stressing out about your snooze time.Trying to fall asleep is a great way to give yourself insomnia. There’s no one bedtime—or sleep ritual— that works for everyone. Some of us love slipping between the sheets earlier; others would rather stay on the couch until their eyelids droop. Both ways are fine, as long as you start doing something restful— reading a book, watching something chill on Netflix about 30 minutes before you want to be asleep. If you’re not drowsy in that time frame, though, don’t get anxious. The more relaxed you are, the easier it’ll be to eventually drift off.
SLEEP HELPS FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Logging six to eight hours a night and lowering your tension levels can help you drop pounds, researchers report in the International Journal of Obesity. People who got that amount of sleep and said theyt felt pretty Zen were twice as likely to shed at least 10 pounds than stressed-out participants who got less or more sleep. Poor sleep and high stress levels can make you crave high-calorie food. Relaxing and getting proper rest also creates a positive cycle: As the volunteers lost weight, they felt calmer overall, which in turn improved their sleep.
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