The Ultimate Guide to Getting Deep and Restful Sleep

The Ultimate Guide to Getting Deep and Restful Sleep

Getting quality sleep is essential for our body, brain and spirit. We spend about 1/3 of our lives sleeping or attempting to do so. It is a crucial time when our body's nervous system can be in a parasympathetic dominant phase. During sleep, we repair cells and tissues, our muscles grow, solidify and consolidate memories, the brain flushes out toxins, our immune system is strengthened, and we can deeply restore and refresh ourselves.

In this article, I will explain why it is important to have high-quality sleep and ways we can improve our sleep quality.

The risks of being sleep deprived are many:

  • heart disease
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • depression
  • stroke
  • injuries & accidents
  • difficulty focusing, memory problems, thinking and concentration difficulty
  • inability to deal with stress
  • heightened anxiety
  • headaches
  • irritability and moodiness
  • fatigue and sleepiness

As you can see that sleep is a crucial time to reset ourselves and by focussing on better quality sleep we can reduce our risk factors for disease.

Everyone knows that we need quality sleep and yet many of us aren’t getting it. Here are some great sleep guidelines:

  • get between 7-9 hours of sleep
  • if you are younger or still growing, you may need more
  • women on their period or that are premenstrual may require more sleep
  • power naps may be helpful and necessary for some and not for others
  • aim for 2 hours of REM
  • aim for 1.5 hours of Deep Sleep

The ultimate goal of sleep is to feel rested. We often will feel our best when we have slept well. Our performance in all areas of life can definitely hinge on quality sleep.

The benefits of quality sleep go beyond this list but it is essential for our body to rest. It is the yin to our yang active daily lives.

  • better skin
  • age gracefully
  • repair body
  • help brain cells and neuron integrity
  • stimulate growth hormone
  • stronger immune system
  • reduces stress & anxiety
  • quicker reflexes
  • more creativity
  • more positivity
  • better moods
  • better thinking
  • better athletic performance

It is amazing what our bodies do for us when we put our heads down on the pillow. A  billion miracles occur without our conscious awareness. 

Tips you can incorporate today to improve your sleep:

  • go to bed at the same time every night
  • reduce exposure to technology at least 1 hour before bedtime
  • keep the bedroom cooler
  • avoid eating heavy meals before bedtime
  • avoid caffeine after 12pm
  • keep the bedroom dark
  • help your body to wind down by reading, writing, meditating, qigong, deep breathing and gentle yin activities.
  • take a hot bath or shower before bed
  • grounding or earthing outside

Try to incorporate something that intrigues you or inspires you. It may be a new habit that completely restores your circadian rhythm. Our busy lives require us to be intentional about our health and small changes can have lasting and impactful benefits.

Here are some asian nutritional food therapies that can be eaten to encourage better sleep. It is great to experiment and see how foods affect your mind, body and spirit. Foods are not to be underestimated in the power they have in establishing or re-establishing balance in our lives. 

Great sleep promoting foods that can be eaten during the day:

  • goats milk & goat milk yogurt
  • goji berries
  • drink chamomile, valerian tea or passionflower tea
  • organic wheat germ
  • tofu
  • persimmons
  • cinnamon
  • adzuki beans
  • micro algae & seaweeds
  • black beans
  • organic liver
  • dark grapes
  • reishi mushrooms
  • ashwaganda

This is what my supplement protocol looks like these days. Depending on my needs I will use all of them or some of them or none of them. See the description below to see what you may want to incorporate. Feeling rested is key!

sleep support protocol - okubowellness

  • Sensitol (both males and females can use this daily). It has inositol which is so crucial for deep sleep, for supporting hormonal balance and for reducing inflammation. This compound is great for preventing¬†blood sugars imbalances as well as reducing anxiety. And yes, it is great for the treatment of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
  • Glycine is a great amino acid important for longevity, youthful skin and sleep! Glycine is necessary for collagen production. This ones a powder and can be mixed right into water or any beverage.
  • Magnesium ((citrate for those with sluggish bowels, biglycinate (same as glycinate)¬†for absorption,¬†malate from apples for great absorption too), Neuromag contains¬†magnesium l-threonate which is great for getting magnesium into the blood brain barrier which can be helpful for those with cognitive impairment and for extra mental support. Magnesium is beneficial for the relaxation of the body and mind and over 300 biochemical processes in the body. Twitching and restless legs are a sign you need more magnesium. Magnesium is great for muscle stiffness and recovery after workouts.
  • Melatonin - can be helpful for those that need extra support. Melatonin is needed to detoxify the brain as well as to maintain sleep rhythms.
  • Liposomal GABA with L-theanine is a great supplement to help the body to relax. It inhibits the excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain called glutamate. This is a great yin supporter and natural anxiety quencher.¬†
  • 5-HTP (5-HTP Supreme contains 100mg per capsule & 5-HTP Synergy contains 50 mg per capsule) is a precursor to serotonin and can be great for sleep, mood and appetite regulation. 5HTP is also great for support for depression, anxiety and migraines as well.¬†

These can be taken together before bedtime, preferably 30min to 1 hour before getting into bed. Try it out and see what works for you.

Everyday is different, but here is a pic of my sleep score when I am more diligent with my sleep hygiene.

 ultimate sleep guide sleep score - okubowellness

We all need sleep and more importantly, we all desire and need quality sleep. It is my desire that this will be a helpful reference to anyone seeking better sleep. Feeling rested sufficiently is the key to having the optimal quality sleep balance. It is a common concern for all of us at different points in our lives. Nature provides us with amazing cures that I am so grateful for. Thank you for taking the time to read this article!

How do you optimize your sleep? Do you do any of the things mentioned here? Would love to hear your tricks?

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