Time to catch some Zzzz's! Love it, hate it, whatever your relationship is with sleep, we know that adequate and efficient sleep is crucial to your body's recovery and repair, and has a significant impact on overall wellbeing. In this blog, I'll review the important reasons why your body needs sleep, as well as tips and tricks to enhance your sleep hygiene.

Sleep is an extremely important part of our lives for so many reasons. If you're a parent, you probably know all too well that moment when your child starts to get cranky or moody, and it's probably time to tuck them in for a nap. Sleep allows the body and mind to recharge. This helps to maintain overall balance and keep you healthy!

Theres a good chance you've heard about circadian rhythms and sleep. I'd like to note that circadian rhythms are actually any physical, mental, and behavioral change that follows a 24-hour cycle. Nearly every single tissue and organ in your body has its own biological clock, or internal timing device that regulates the cycle of circadian rhythms. Certain molecules (proteins) are responsible for interacting with the cells throughout our bodies to keep these biological clocks ticking. We have a master clock in the brain composed of about 20,000 nerve cells called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which is located in the hypothalamus. This area of the brain receives direct input from our eyes. Changes in our environment, as well as changes within our bodies can alter our circadian rhythms. Here are a few examples:

     Mutations or changes in certain genes can alter your biological clock.

     Light from electronic devices, TVs, computers, etc. can give our biological clocks mixed signals.

     Shift work and jet lag can also confuse our biological clocks.

Many physicians have researched how disruption to our circadian rhythms can lead to various health problems, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, poor mental health, cancer, and early death.

 We all have a routine of showering and brushing our teeth everyday to stay healthy and prevent disease. Hygiene is important for our sleep as well! Sleep hygiene means creating a bedroom environment and daily routine that promotes consistent, uninterrupted sleep.

Here are a few ways to promote sleep hygiene and get restful sleep each and every day.

      Get your body on a regulated sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up around the same time (within 30 minutes or so) everyday, as best you can.

      Watching TV right before bed disrupts your sleep cycles, hormone regulation, and can contribute to restless sleep. Your brain thinks it needs to stay alert and awake when the TV is on. If your'e used to falling asleep with the TV, take baby steps to phase away from this habit.

     Refrain from using the TV, especially in your bedroom, for at least 1 hour before bedtime.

     Set a time limit/episode limit on how much tv you're going to watch for the night

     Try to watch TV earlier in the evening.

      Put your phone away at least ONE hour before going to bed.

     Preferably, put your phone in a separate room from where you sleep. This helps to avoid prolonged use of your phone, as well as prevent fragmented sleep.

      Calculate your sleep cycles! Waking up groggy can sometimes be related to waking up in the middle of a deep sleep cycle. This calculator will help you to awake during Stage 1 sleep, our lightest rest. https://sleepyti.me/

      Minimize the late night snacking, and try not to eat for two hours before going to bed.

What does YOUR sleep hygiene look like?

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