Sleep deprivation is costly in so many ways. The role sleep plays in our health and longevity is more paramount than we might have thought in the past. In fact, sleep is essential. It’s anti-aging. And the right kind of sleep matters.
The wrong kind of sleep – or not sleeping well – can produce a number of issues, including…
- Reduced mental clarity
- Emotional issues
- Reduced energy and productivity
- Depression and anxiety
- Obesity, hypertension, diabetes
- Poor memory
This is not an all-inclusive list.
When we suffer from sleep deprivation, we not only feel it during the day, but we experience all the signs of aging – faster.
When we get the sleep we need, we can:
- Burn body fat
- Boost metabolism
- Increase energy
- Reverse signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles and age spots
So, what exactly does it mean to have a good night’s sleep?
Three Stages of Sleep
When you’re sleeping well, your brain naturally cycles through the following three stages multiple times throughout the night:
- TWILIGHT – The alpha brainwave state that occurs between sleep and awake.
- DREAM/REM – The theta dreamlike stage where you relax.
- DEEP SLEEP – The delta waves. It’s hard to wake up from this state.
When you’ve had a good night sleep, you naturally move into beta waves to wake up. You then wake feeling rejuvenated and energized. That is when you’re sleeping well. When you’re cycling through the foregoing stages of sleep.
So, the goal is to get into these cycles of sleep. To get there, we must first understand what deprives us of sleep…
Number 1 Cause of Sleep Deprivation:
Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. When released into the bloodstream, it can help your body respond to stress or danger, increase your body’s metabolism, and control your blood pressure.
It also plays an important role in regulating blood sugar. When blood sugar is low, the body thinks it needs to wake up and refuel.
High cortisol levels during the day provide necessary energy. But at night, when it’s time to sleep, your body’s cortisol levels need to go down so that you can move into sleep easily. That doesn’t happen so easily when you’re stressed.
Stress elevates adrenal function, which causes the release of adrenal hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. In other words, when you’re stressed, cortisol levels increase.
Consistent elevated adrenal activity can lead to adrenal fatigue, which in turn leads to low blood sugar and other health concerns.
The bottom line is the various kinds of sleep deprivation is caused by increased cortisol production in the evening. So, what does this mean? How can we regulate cortisol levels and get into our natural anti-aging sleep cycles?
How to Regulate Cortisol Levels:
Before we get into the heart of the the solutions, I think it goes with out saying that regular exercise and nutrition will keep your cortisol levels where they should be. This could be all you need. If, however, you’re already doing these things, and you’re not losing weight, you might not be getting the sleep you need.
As to nutrition – stay away from carbs as much as possible. Carbs turn to sugar in your body and sugar is the enemy of health. Consume healthy fats from grass-fed and grass-finished meats. Nutrition is really another topic altogether that we’ll have to tackle another day. But for now, we recommend converting your body to relying on healthy fats for energy instead of carbs. In other words, Keto and similar diets have been most effective.
Equally as important as nutrition and exercise is keeping your stress levels down by calming the mind, especially before bed. One way to do this is to take supplements.
Supplements to Help You Sleep
Supplements are likely the easiest way to tap into deeper sleep cycles because there’s nothing else to do but take them.
If you take the right amount of the right supplements close to bedtime, you will lower stress, calm the mind, and be able to drift easily into sleep. The supplements that help do this are:
- GABA: GABA calms activity in the limbic system, regulating the production of cortisol
- L-theanine: This is a calming supplement. It reportedly increases alpha waves in the brain
- Phosphatidylserine: Known to dull the rise of cortisol levels and reduce cortisol caused by physical stress
- L-tyrosine: Combats fatigue and anxiety symptoms related to stress.
Here’s a guy who knows the exact supplements and dosage to get you into deep delta sleep. He’ll also go into detail about how delta sleep can effectively melt body fat, boost metabolism, increase energy, and slow and reverse the effects and signs of aging:
Equally as useful as supplements, if not even more powerful is the all-natural meditation. Which is great if you don’t like to take supplements. But most people don’t have the patience for meditation. That’s where brainwave technology comes in…
Meditation and Brainwave Technology:
The right brainwave technology can do the same thing to your brain that years of meditation is supposed to do. All in a single session. And you can do it while you sleep. Although, I don’t recommend you stop at one session. In fact, consistency produces the best results.
I’ve tested a lot of brainwave technology over the years and there’s only one I would personally recommend. I’ve been using this for years.
Other things you can do to sleep soundly:
- Turn off the computer before bed. The light emanating from your device actually activates your brain.
- If you read a book to calm yourself, read a printed book. Again, the light from your device keeps your brain active.
- Eat 2-3 hours before bedtime. If you get hungry before bed, keep your snack slight, and around 45 minutes before it’s lights out.
- Turn the light off. The deepest, most relaxing sleep occurs in the dark. If you have light pollution in your room, you can wear an eye mask.
- Limit Alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine.
- Turn off the TV. If you fall asleep with the TV on, the lights will disrupt your sleep cycles. As with the computer, turn it off.
- Certain “restorative” poses and movements in Yoga and Tai Chi can aid in your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Pink noise: soothing sounds of running water, wind through leaves and rain falling can block out other, more distracting noises that might wake you.