*this information is for information purposes only. It is not intended to treat, perevent or cure any conditions, nor is intended to constitute advice on which reliance should be placed. Any information in this blog should be discussed with your health care practitioner.
I secretly have been waiting to talk about sleep for so long, like I love bedtime. I honestly smile and say “yay” when I get into bed, legit. Like I was ALWAYS that person at a group sleepover who went to sleep first and early, which wasn’t cool, and pretty sure I’ve defs had a few dicks drawn on my face in my lifetime. But zero regrets.
Sleep is so awesome and a lot of us act like its some unimportant, nuisance, like “ugh bedtime". Maybe this is because it’s a passive process and we feel it doesn’t matter because we don’t have to put effort in for it, like we do exercise and our nutrition. But hey, guess what, we do.
Like first of all, sleep is so cool it has its own outfit dedicated to it. Like pajamas are dope.
Secondly you friggen have cool dreams and wake up feeling awesome because you went on a magical journey into your subconscious. Its like a crazy movie plays in your head, and that alone is awesome.
Thirdly, you grow when you’re asleep, sleep is anabolic (building up),
and process all the information from that day. Like cmon, you cant do that when you’re awake, it’s the missing link to being a triple threat.
Depriving yourself of sleep is legit a form of torture, and puts you on the path for T2D (type 2 diabetes), insulin resistance, weight gain, decreased cognitive function, poor memory, decreased efficiency, and ain’t none of that going to get us to be our most amazing selves.
When we sleep, we release human growth hormone (GH) – and yep, you guessed it this legends involved in the growth of our muscles, bones, brain, tissues, everything, hence why babies sleep so much, coz they growwwinnnggggg.
When we’re training, our growth happens when we’re sleeping, and exercise promotes more restorative sleep thanks to its hormetic effects. GH is produced during sleep and peaks at 11pm, and continues till around 2am. so if you’re working hard, pumping/stretching/running/cycling/whatever it out and wanting to maximise your results, try get in that key growth period of sleep.
Information and memory processing also goes down during sleep,
allowing us to literally be smarter, remember more, and integrate our day into our subconscious, and thus, us.
Sleep allows us to become who we are - all our actions, everything we heard, saw, smelt, that gets stored in our memory bank and builds our existence and awareness.
What I think is one of the coolest things about sleep, is that this is when all the toxins, plaque and built up nasties are swept away from our brains.
When we sleep, our brain cells shrink, and this allows for the cerebrospinal fluid (my favourite word ever btw), to pass between the cells, and clear out toxins and cell waste that if unable to be cleared, increase “dirty brain” diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Even more interesting/crazy, is when you’re sleep deprived, your lizard brain (amyglada) hacks your ability to make decisions, potentially causing us to do dumb things and regret it, like eating yucky foods that don’t love our body. Its okay, its not you – it’s lack of sleep, go get some.
We can’t talk about sleep and not talk about sex. But before we get to that, we have to back it up (lol) and talk about melatonin. Melatonin is our “get good sleep” hormone (in the wise words of the legend @shawnmodel). Melatonin naturally starts secreting around 9pm, and is linked to the rising and setting of the sun aka our circadian rhythm. What does this mean? We’re genetically wired to go to sleep when it gets dark, like we ain’t owls.
(HACK: as it gets darker outside, turn more lights off, dim your environment, and allow your body to sync up to your natural circadian rhythm).
And the precursor to melatonin? Serotonin. Yep, our beloved happy hormone, and also totally why an orgasm sends you straight to sleep (fun fact #1). Moral of the story, which one of ya’ll is going home with Trigga? Haha but nah, sleep and sex are besties, and it’s all about quality sleep not quantity. There’s no magic number for hours of sleep, (but hey lets aim for 6-8), as each individual is different, but listen to your body and indulge in an early night if you’re body is telling you yes, like R Kelly.
So we know melatonin is the good guy, then cortisol gets the role of being the bad guy, but hey we need this bad boy. he’s the one who wakes us up in the morning, gives us that burst of energy to get out of bed and begin the day.
If this burst doesn’t sound familiar, then you my friend, are tired and wired. Chronic exposure to stress throughout the day sees cortisol constantly released, increasing risk for adrenal fatigue, burn out and poor sleep (not to mention the inflammatory cascade stress causes…).
(HACK: if you have difficulty getting up in the morning, jump on some adrenal-loving-adaptogenic-herb combos like ATP Science CORT RX and deal with the stressors head on)
Now we gon talk about electronics. The blue light that come out of the screens severely disrupt our melatonin release, with studies concluding each exposure delaying melatonin production by 30 minutes (fun fact #2). So those late night movies and IG dips, yeah they’re pushing you falling asleep back and back and back.
One app I LOVE for my devices is f.lux – you pop in your location and it reduces the blue light spectrum on your screen and offsets it with orange light depending on when you wake up in the morning, aka it like syncs to your life.
For our phones - sleep cycle is such a goodie. it tracks your sleep patterns and wakes you up when you’re in the lightest sleep stage with this angelic noise – so no more hectic alarm jolting you out of bed and making you grumpy.
iphones also now have a built in “night shift”, with the ability to counteract blue light at your preference.
some cool things we can utilise to promote a better sleep;
1. magnesium oil - magnesium is the ultimate mineral for better sleep, spray and rub it in the places you hold tension, tend to be sore and experience cramps (gals rub this shit on them ovaries of yours during your period, bye bye cramps). Killer brands include Salt Lab & Ancient Minerals.
2. sleep promoting herbs; kava, lavender, passionflower, zizyphus
3. mediation / breathing exercises / stretching
Creating a sleep habit is just as important as exercise and diet for key progression and happiness. We work up a sweat, fuel our bodies with the most nutrient dense foods, yet fail to treat ourselves to sleep – which is where allllll the magic happens, happy sleeping babies.
- Stevenson, S 2014, Sleep Smarter, Model House Publishing