It’s probably not a surprise to you that sleep is important for our overall health and wellbeing. But just how important is sleep? Today I want to share with you some shocking, and not so shocking, facts about sleep and how sleep itself is one of the most important Epigenetic modifiers we have access to. I will also cover some of my favorite tools and hacks for improving your sleep if you happen to be someone that finds themself having to count sheep or tosses and turns night after night.
First of all, did you know that we spend about 33% of our lives sleeping? I will never forget reading that fact. When sleep is out of balance, so many of our systems will not function effectively. We’re talking about brain function, immune function, metabolism, and exercise performance.
Sleep is one of the most impactful areas to our overall wellness, but also often the most confusing and ignored.
Shocking Sleep Facts
- Sleep deprivation and alcohol consumption are known to have similar effects on cognition.
- 2 hours of sleep loss is the equivalent to drinking 2-3 alcoholic beverages.
- 8 hours of sleep loss is the equivalent to drinking 10-11 alcoholic beverages.
- COMT, CLOCK, NPSR1, DEC2, & BDNF are a few of the key & high impact genetic SNPs (variants) that play a role for how we are hardwired to experience sleep.
- The most important thing to remember is that you aren’t destined to have sleep issues forever just because of the genes you were dealt. That’s where the sleep hygiene, sleep hacks, and sleep tools come into play. All working to up-regulate your genes and bio hack your sleep, if you will.
Benefits of Sleep
- Thousands of neurons fire and help us to enter repair mode.
- Hormones regulate.
- DNA is repaired.
- Metabolism regulates.
- Circadian rhythm balances.
- Our bodies enter into Autophagy. Think of this as your body’s way of cleaning itself and detoxing.
Bring back the bedtime routines, but for adults. And I am not talking about binge-watching until we are too wired to sleep or late night snacking here. Ideally our routines would look a lot more like those of a toddler than what most of us put ourselves through today.
Here’s what an ideal bedtime routine looks like:
- Eat a nourishing meal before the sun goes down.
- Shut down the screens & electronics at least an hour before bed.
- Read a book instead of turning on the TV.
- Doing some light movement like walking, stretches, or yoga.
- Taking a relaxing bath and doing your skincare routine.
- Sun exposure during the day (morning and midday) really help to support your sleep genes overall, regulate hormones, and balance your circadian rhythm.
My Favorite Sleep Hacks & Tools
- Magnesium Glycinate: My preferred form of magnesium due to the fact that it benefits brain function, crosses the blood brain barrier, and is able to activate your GABA receptors. Think of GABA as a calming neurotransmitter. GABA = calm + restful sleep.
- Qualia Night: This is a heavy hitter supplement for me because it contains over 25 powerful micronutrients coming from ingredients like therapeutic mushrooms, herbs, holy basil, adaptogens, tryptophan, wild blueberry, and more. The ultimate sleep bio hack.
- Magnesium Breakthrough: Yes, magnesium again. But it is that important and BiOptimizers does an excellent job of blending together ALL 7 forms of magnesium that our bodies need.
- Blue light Blocking Glasses: We are exposed to artificial Blue Light on the daily and it interrupts our sleep, suppresses our natural melatonin production, and makes us feel wired and anxious. These glasses are not only cute, but they also help by filtering out the blue light thus helping to balance our sleep cycles.
- OURA ring: I am completely obsessed with this sleep tracker. I got one for Christmas and it does not come off of my finger. It gives you custom insights on sleep, recovery, heart rate, temperature, activity and more.
- Detox Baths: These are my jam and not only because they support your overall detox system, but they also help to relax your nervous system and put you in a primed state for rest. My go-to “recipe” is pure epsom salt, magnesium flakes, essential oil of choice, and if I am feeling extra fancy I do a detoxing face mask while I am in there.
- Sunlight Exposure: I mentioned this above, but the sunlight is truly is a game changer when it comes to your sleep. The sun communicates to your mitochondria and basically charges them up. Think of Mitochondria as your cells batteries. I aim for sunrise exposure daily, but if you aren’t an early bird aim for before 10 am as this will increase your serotonin, a key sleep hormone.
Pick and choose what you’d like to try out to prime your body and mind for amazing sleep! Doing ALL of the above is not necessary, but I wanted you to have a pretty comprehensive list to pick and choose from. Here’s to better sleep and optimized health! I’d love to know what you end up trying out for better zzzz’s.
*Please note, some of these links may receive commissions when you click them and make purchases. However, this does not impact my reviews. I try my best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.