The Right Kind Of Sleep

I’ve talked to you about sleep in the past. My driving points are still the same. We need an average 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep. Why? Well, in order to see weight loss, balance blood sugar, balanced hormones, recover, and have less stress and anxiety. Good sleep is closely tied to all of these. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the biggest deficiencies I see in those who struggle with injury, depression, adrenal fatigue, and inability to lose weight.

So, before you reach for that supplement or prescription, let's talk about sleep. Sleep can be tricky and I wanted to share some of the basics with you so you have an idea of how to begin to fix your sleep.

The Basics:

Sleep takes place in stages. Non-Rem (rapid eye movement) sleep happens first.

  • N1- This is the typical day dream stage. You are kind of aware of your surroundings, but a sudden head jerk brings you right back to reality. I’ve done this in class too many times.

  • N2- Going a little bit deeper into sleep and you are unaware of your surroundings.

  • N3- Slow wave sleep starts now. This is where you walk or talk in your sleep.

  • REM- The restorative part of sleep. This is the only dream stage of sleep. Everything good happens here, namely, the release of Human Growth Hormone, the hormone responsible for good skin, good hair, weight loss, recovery, and staying young. The REM stage of sleep helps with everything from athletic performance to being able to fight off the common cold. Most adults spend about ¼ of their sleep in REM.

How to get to set yourself up to for good sleep:

  • Cut out screens 1 hour before sleep. The blue light is a big sleep disrupter.

  • Sleep in a room that is completely blacked out. Even if you can’t see light, the skin has photo sensors that will pick up on light and can disrupt sleep.

  • Sleep in a cool room: 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit

Sleep Aid do’s and don'ts: I get asked all the time if sleeping aids can be helpful. Unfortunately, the answer is no. Most sleeping aids will help us fall asleep and keep us asleep, but we never reach that all important REM stage of sleep, thus leaving us without the benefits of real, good sleep. Melatonin, however, can be a helpful sleep aid. It’s naturally released by the brain to help us fall asleep. If you are having problems sleeping I would start with 1-1.5mgs of natural melatonin. Be sure to use sparingly and only when needed as overuse will cause the body to shut down production.

How is your sleep affecting your health?

RecoveryAaron Leventhal