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My Secret For Sleeping The Night Through
Everybody used to know naps are for babies and old fogeys. Then, along came “power naps,” and napping was suddenly cool. But it’s more than just a fad. Napping delivers some impressive health benefits – if you do it right.
And how to nap is just 1 of the 7 recent sleep secrets and breakthroughs you’ll discover today.
Power Naps Really Work
Medical Daily recently reported on a study that found taking a short nap can help reverse the damage of a poor night’s sleep. And may give your immune system a boost, too.1 So don’t scoff at a 20-minute “power nap.” It could be just what you need to clear your mind and get productive again.
A short nap can help lower levels of stress hormones, promote healthy blood pressure, and – if you sleep on your side – help clear waste products from your brain more quickly.
That’s right. Sleep on your side, instead of on your back or face-down, and your brain clears away waste more effectively. Including the Beta-amyloid proteins linked to brain fog and memory problems!
Sleep Sharpens Your Ability to Focus
A 2016 study shows a lack of sleep damages your selective attention. That’s your ability to focus on one thing at a time.
In the study, sleepy volunteers had a problem focusing on one of two stories being related at the same time. Their brains showed activity indicating their attention was divided between both stories.
People with adequate sleep show a different pattern of activity. Their brains are able to suppress one story while focusing on the other.2
In practical terms. Selective attention lets you keep your mind on the task at hand, even when there is other activity competing for your attention.
Sleep Boosts Mental Clarity and Memory
We’ve known for years that sleep deprivation effects thinking. Now we may finally understand why.
Doctors theorized the brains of sleep-deprived people weren’t getting enough oxygen. But when a University of California team tested this theory, it didn’t pan out. What they found was that confusion and forgetfulness linked to poor sleep was also linked to high cortisol levels.3
Cortisol is a major stress hormone. It also promotes wakefulness. This study suggests lowering levels of this hormone may help improve sleep – and mental clarity. Physical activity, mindfulness meditation, and yoga are all known to promote lower levels of cortisol.
A lack of sleep compromises your immune system. It promotes weight gain and several other negative health conditions. But there’s another way sleeplessness can kill.
New government estimates say 1 of every 5 fatal car crashes is caused by drowsy driving. That’s about 5,000 deaths per year – and growing.4
40 million Americans have clinical sleep problems. But government safety experts say 84 million drowsy people get behind the wheel every day. The problem is so widespread, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration officially classifies drowsiness as a driving impairment. Right along with drugs and alcohol.
Fight Sleepiness With the Sun
For millions, weekends are the time to celebrate. Stay up late, sleep in, repeat. Unfortunately, breaking your weekday sleep routine can leave you groggy. In fact, it has much the same effect as moving the clock up or back in spring and fall.
Sleep experts at Vanderbilt University say sleeping in is the wrong approach. You’ll actually fare better if you control your exposure to light.
If you stay up late Friday, get up at your regular time in the morning… and take a walk in the morning sun. Light, the experts explain, is the main trigger for your internal clock. A brisk morning walk will wake you up by encouraging release of cortisol.
At night, they say, avoid bright light – especially the bluish light of electronic devices.5 This light has the same effect as sunlight, and delays release of the melatonin you need to get to sleep.
You Need More Sleep Than We Used to Think
Doctors used to think you needed less sleep as you got older. At retirement age, 5 or 6 hours was considered plenty. But now we know that’s not true.
The average adult needs 7 – 9 hours a night. At retirement age, that requirement doesn’t change by much. At 65 and above, you still need 7 – 8 hours a night. If you’re not getting this much sleep, chances are you’re not performing at your best.6
Chronic sleeplessness can make you irritable, impair creativity, slow your reflexes, and leave you dragging all day. It can lead to high blood pressure, metabolic disorders, and interfere with healthy digestion.
To help get a good night’s sleep, try taking a warm bath before bed… read for a half-hour or so (Instead of watching TV)… and avoid eating or exercising in the couple of hours before going to bed.
Don’t Be a Night Owl
A study presented at a recent American Academy of Sleep Medicine meeting says timing is important, too.
According to the researchers, going to bed late is linked to a poor diet and inactivity. All other things being equal, people who go to bed and get up at later hours eat more junk food and fewer vegetables and get less physical activity.7
Before now, we knew getting too little sleep had these effects. But this study shows Ben Franklin had the right idea: early to bed and early to rise.
If you have trouble getting to sleep at an earlier hour – or any sleep problems, for that matter – a combination of herbs may help.
Relax Your Way to Sleep
Low-dose melatonin is probably the best-known individual sleep remedy. But a number of herbs can gently help you fall – and stay – asleep.
One of the most effective herbal sleep boosters is a combination of lemon balm and valerian. Both have a long history as home remedies. Both are safe and gentle. And they seem to work remarkably well together.
For instance, a 2006 study looked at more than 900 children with sleep problems. As you can imagine, children need a safe and gentle remedy… but one that’s effective, too.
Sleep improved markedly for 80.9% of the children in this study. And most of the children’s progress was rated as “good” or “very good.”8
100 sleep-troubled women, aged 50 – 60, took part in a 2013 study. Doctors gave half the group a valerian and lemon balm combination. The rest took a look-alike placebo.
The herbal group made big gains in sleep quality. The placebo group continued to have trouble sleeping.9
You’ll find both lemon balm and valerian in Best Life Herbals’ Delta-Som. Along with low-dose melatonin and more than a dozen other calming herbs and nutrients – all working together to help you get the sleep you need.
If you’re ready for a good night’s sleep – every night – discover more about Delta-Som at BestLife-Herbals.com.
Yours in continued good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
1. Dovey, D., “National Napping Day 2016: Here’s The Best Way To Take A Nap And Recharge,” Medical Daily. Mar 11, 2016.
2. Miller, S.G., “How a Sleepless Night Affects Your Ability to Focus,” Live Science. Apr 03, 2016.
3. Rosenberg, R., “Why a Bad Night’s Sleep Makes it Harder to Focus,” Everyday Health. Jun 10, 2014.
4.”Drowsy Driving Causes 1 in 5 Fatal Crashes: Report,” HealthFinder.gov. Aug 8, 2016.
5. Hill, L., “Take a walk in the sun to ease time change woes, says Vanderbilt sleep expert,” Vanderbilt University. Oct. 30, 2014.
6. “How Much Sleep Do You Really Need, and What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough?” Valley Health System, via Newswise.com. Mar 1, 2016.
7. “Study links late sleep timing to poorer diet quality and lower physical activity,” American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Jun 8, 2016.
8. Müller, S.F. and Klement, S., “A combination of valerian and lemon balm is effective in the treatment of restlessness and dyssomnia in children,” Phytomedicine. Jun 2006; 13(6): 383-387.
9. Taavoni, S., et al. “Valerian/lemon balm use for sleep disorders during menopause,” Complement Ther Clin Pract. Nov 2013; 19(4): 193-196.
The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. They are not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure and disease.