Sleep is a real workout

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Vitamin S = Sleep!

Research is concluding that sleep should be called vitamin “S.” Every day, our bodies need adequate nutrients from good nutritious foods and every day, our bodies require good quality sleep to refresh and regenerate. REM (rapid eye movement) sleep stimulates the brain regions used in learning. After relaxing in stage 1 and drifting off to sleep, we pass through stages 2-4 and then enter REM sleep where our breathing becomes more rapid and our closed eyes jerk rapidly.1 REM sleep is the deep sleep where the body receives rest from daily functions. In his recent research, Dr. Nedergaard found that sleep may be the primary time of day when the brain cleanses itself of toxic molecules.2 This adds to our understanding as to how important sleep is, especially for people with autoimmune diseases who are making an effort to improve their health by reducing their toxic load. Their brains need sleep to detox.

Studies are suggesting sleep deprivation affects the immune system in detrimental ways. According to Mayo Clinic, infants and toddlers require 9-10 hours of sleep plus 2-3 hours of nap time. Children and teens 9-11 hours of nightly sleep and adults between 7-9 hours to be fully rested.3

“Less than five hours each night is associated with serious negative health outcomes including cardiovascular problems, obesity, and diabetes. The increasing demands of modern life, social media and connected technologies may affect the quality and quantity of our sleep and pose a serious and detrimental threat to health.” Dr Anna Weighall, from the University of Leeds, School of Psychology4

If you have trouble with getting to sleep or staying asleep, try these tips:

1) Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, which are stimulants.
2) Steer clear of all items using blue light for two hours before bed: computer, iPad, smartphones, etc.5
3) Relax before bed by using deep breathing exercises.6
4) Try to keep a regular sleep schedule.
5) Use earplugs to decrease unwanted noises that might wake you up.
6) Use eye masks or light blocking shades to darken your bedroom.
7) Maintain a cooler, but comfortable, temperature in the bedroom.

1. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/brain_basics/understanding_sleep.htm#for_us
2. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/news_and_events/news_articles/pressrelease_brain_sleep_10172013.htm
3. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/expert-answers/how-many-hours-of-sleep-are-enough/faq-20057898
4. http://www.leeds.ac.uk/news/article/3779/dreaming_of_a_good_nights_sleep
5. http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side
6. http://www.medicaldaily.com/life-hack-sleep-4-7-8-breathing-exercise-will-supposedly-put-you-sleep-just-60-332122

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