Fight Coronavirus: Top Tips to Improve Sleep

Sleep is crucial for building immunity. Shutting down at night allows the body to go into detox mode, rebuilding and repairing damaged tissues and cleaning up cell damage from the day. Hormones get rebalanced, energy is restored and so much more. Without those 7-9 hours every night, your immune system is weakened, leaving you more susceptible to colds, flu and infection.

Highlights:

  • Sleep is crucial for building immunity. At night, your body goes into detox mode to rebuild and repair damaged tissues and clean up cell damage from the day.
  • Support your sleep with morning sunshine, daily movement and routine, periodic cleansing and proper sleep hygiene to give your body the tools that it needs to fight off all viruses.
  • Nourished® is open for curbside pickup on Tuesday and Thursday from 10am to 4pm. Call ahead to order your One-Day Soup Cleanse, Adaptogenic Golden Milk Latte, or any of our other Kitchen Market items—630.You.Well (968.9355).

Have you been suffering from restless nights over the past few weeks? If so, you’re certainly not alone. Here are a few tips to rebalance the body and promote deeper, more restorative Zzzz’s no matter what:

  • Morning sunshinegetting outside before 9am to expose your eyes (sans sunglasses) to natural light will help reset the body’s circadian rhythm. As natural light hits your eyelids, it sends a signal to the pineal gland in the brain that it’s day time. This triggers a release of cortisol, the stress hormone that is responsible for wakefulness. On the opposite end of the spectrum, and equally as important, is the eyes’ exposure to nighttime darkness. As the sun sets and natural light decreases, the brain is alerted to release melatonin in preparation for sleep.

Pro tip: avoid exposure to screens (television, computer, cell phone) within 1-2 hours of bedtime – this sends a mixed message to the brain and blocks melatonin production.  

  • Daytime movement – we all know that being sedentary is bad for mental function and weight management, but did you also know that it contributes to almost all illness and disease? That’s right! When you sit for long periods of time, your blood becomes sluggish and lymph fluids stagnant. Lack of movement decreases circulation and detoxification, thereby allowing toxins to pool in the tissues and inflammation to accumulate. Exercise is also important for mental health, stress-management and getting your body tired enough for sleep at night. Even though gyms are closed, there is no excuse not to keep up with daily workouts. Walking or running outside is accessible for almost everyone. In fact, being out in Mother Nature is one of the best ways to stay grounded at this time.

Pro tip: avoid stimulating exercise too close to bed to allow your body to naturally prepare for rest.

  • Stick to a routine – without the structure of work, appointments and social outings, sticking to a “schedule” seems like an anomaly. News flash: your body likes routine! Although you may have all the time in the world to sleep in and nothing urgent to wake up for, the more you’re able to stick to, at the bear minimum, a consistent sleep/wake time, the more your body will work to support those different phases.

Pro tip: the earlier you go to bed, the better. There are varying hormones released, starting at 9pm with growth hormone, that you miss out on the later that you fall asleep. At Nourished®, we like to say that the hours of sleep before midnight count for double! By getting to bed as close to 10pm as possible, you maximize your body’s ability to repair, regenerate and maintain a healthy weight.   

  • Milk before bed – old traditions had us going to bed with a warm glass of milk to help the snooze come faster.  Well, this method has a newer and better update—golden milk— with a powerhouse of health benefits that include fighting inflammation and supplying ample antioxidants. Turmeric, a common Ayurvedic medicinal spice and a main ingredient in golden milk, is also widely used to aid sleep quality. Studies have found that turmeric can protect against oxidative damage and sleep deprivation. So, slip this super spice into your bedtime ritual to relax, improve mood, and reduce anxiety!

Pro tip: Try our new Adaptogenic Golden Milk Latte! Targeted for sleep support, this comforting drink is filling enough to sustain you throughout the night, without leaving you feeling heavy and sluggish in the morning.

  • Warm feet, better sleep – ever hear the old adage that wearing socks can help you fall asleep? Well, it’s true: warm feet leads to better (and faster) sleep! Wearing socks in bed increases blood flow to feet and heat loss through the skin, which helps lower core body temperature. In turn, this helps a person get to sleep faster.

Pro tip: Pull on a pair of soft, loose-fitting socks before you tuck in for the night. Cracked feet or dry hands from all of the washing and irritating hand sanitzers? Use our nourishing and anti-inflammatory emu oil to moisturize, and sleep with a pair of soft, cotton gloves on, too! 

  • Dark, quiet and cool – when it comes to room temperature and adequate sleep, your body naturally decreases its temperature in the initial sleep phase. Keeping the room between 60 and 67 degrees—for adults—can help facilitate this process. According to the National Sleep Foundation, thermostat settings far above or below the recommended 60 to 67 degrees may result in restlessness and affect the quality of REM sleep. NOTE: For babies, toddlers, and small children, the National Sleep Foundation recommends a room temperature of between 65 and 70 degrees.

In addition to keeping ambient room temperature within its recommended range settings, you should also consider the bedroom as a cave; make it dark, quiet and cool. Light and darkness are powerful cues that tell your body it’s time to rest, or get you ready for a productive day. So, it’s no surprise that light in the bedroom has an impact on the quality of your sleep. In fact, artificial light after dark can send wake-up messages to the brain, suppressing the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Pro tip: survey your room for sources of artificial light (i.e. streetlamps, porch lights or even the glow from the power buttons of electronics like TV’s or alarm clocks) and consider blocking these to make the room completely dark while you sleep. Darkening curtains or shades are recommended, and if you wake up to use the bathroom during the night, do so by nightlight, instead of turning on stronger overhead lights.

  • Smartphones sabotage sleep: Blue light exposure coming from screens (cell phone, TV, computer, etc.) is stimulating and not preferred when you’re trying to wind down for sleep. Using devices too close to bedtime blocks melatonin production, making it much harder to fall asleep. Sleeping with your cell phone in the bedroom can also be a major sleep disruptor. Aside from the light and sound disruption, the electromagnetic fields (EMFs) released from smart phones create neurological chaos that interferes with sleep cycles.

Pro tip: we encourage you to eliminate your cell phone from the bedroom, if at all possible. At the very minimum, we recommend sleeping with your cell phone at least 2 feet from your head. This will reduce EMFs by up to 90%.  if you’re working on your computer late at night, download f.flux. This free app warms up your display to adapt to the time of day, thus reducing blue light exposure too close to bed.

  • One-day soup cleanse – being quarantined can easily lead to unhealthy habits. With high stress, boredom and isolation comes a desire for comfort—and anything that promotes that feel-good sensation (insert carbs, sugar and wine here)! Although helpful in the moment, these little hits throughout the day are 100% sabotaging your sleep.

Pro tip: try our One-Day Soup Cleanse to re-stabilize blood sugar and flood your body with the nutrients that it needs to energize during the day and rest at night. One to two days of “souping” each week will help keep your mood stabilized, weight regulated and liver supported until our upcoming 3-Day Detox pickup on May 19. Nourished® is open for curbside pickup on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 4pm; call ahead at 630.You.Well (968.9355) to order your cleanse!

Although it’s easy to fall into bad habits during times like these, it’s important to keep up with as many of your daily health habits as possible. By supporting your sleep with these recommendations, you’ll give your body the tools it needs to fight off COVID-19. This is a tough time for us all. Be kind and compassionate to yourself and others. Sending “be well” wishes to you and your family until we see you again soon.

 

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