Does it feel like life just keeps spinning faster and faster? In the constant rush of things, it can be easy to overlook one of the most important things we all take for granted…sleep. When it comes to “living your best life,” getting enough quality sleep isn’t a luxury; it’s essential for our overall health and well-being. Truthfully, sleep is just as important as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
Don't Put Off A Good Night's Rest!
Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to many health problems, both in the short and long term. Some of the most common health problems caused by lack of sleep include obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, weakened immune system, sexual dysfunction, and even early death.
A major reason lack of sleep leads to health problems is that during sleep, the body repairs and regenerates its tissues, builds bone and muscle, and strengthens the immune system. Without enough sleep, the body doesn't have enough time to perform these essential processes, which sets us up for a cascade of health problems and fatigue.
The physical ramifications aren’t the only damage that comes with sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep can also affect our mental abilities, mood, and judgment. As those around us will testify, we are tired, cranky, and out of sorts without enough sleep. Our irascibility can create stress at home and work – nobody wants to be around us when we are grumpy…all the time. And beyond the prickly personality, insufficient sleep can also increase our risks of serious accidents and injury and even endanger other people due to things like drowsy driving.
What’s Messing With Your Sleep?
Let’s take a moment for a quick inventory – what is contributing to your sleep deficits?
- Work schedules?
- Day-to-day stressors?
- An unhealthy bedroom environment?
- A medical condition?
Let’s see how we can find healthy goals that prioritize sleep, create a positive sleep hygiene atmosphere and routine, and help you get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Establishing a regular sleep schedule and a relaxing bedtime routine, tapering off of screen time as bedtime approaches, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime are the foundations of improving your sleep quality.
Along with these lifestyle changes, did you know liquid collagen at bedtime can also help improve your sleep quality, reduce joint pain and inflammation, improve your hair, skin, and nails, and help you burn fat overnight? It's true! One of the primary drivers of better sleep is the amino acid glycine found in collagen. Glycine has been shown to improve sleep quality and reduce daytime sleepiness.
So What Constitutes Good Sleep?
There are two main types of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep. Non-REM sleep is further divided into three stages: N1, N2, and N3.
During N1, we are in a light sleep and can be easily awakened. This is the transition from wakefulness to sleep; the body begins to relax, and brain waves slow down.
During N2, our heart rate and breathing slow down, and our body temperature drops. This is the stage where we spend the most time sleeping.
During N3, also known as deep sleep, our brain waves slow down even further. Our body’s repair and regeneration work happens; we build bone and muscle, and our immune systems become more robust. During deep sleep, our bodies also release growth hormone (HGH), which is essential for growth and development. In addition, the immune system releases cytokines to fight infections, inflammation, and stress.
Also of note, during N3 sleep, scientists have discovered that we have a glymphatic system; it’s only during sleep that our brain can be washed by its own unique lymphatic system. So without enough sleep, your brain literally becomes dirty.
During REM sleep is where most dreaming occurs. During REM sleep, the brain is highly active, and the body is paralyzed to prevent acting out dreams. REM sleep is important for memory consolidation and emotional regulation.
How Much Of Each Type of Sleep Do You Need?
The optimal amount of each type of sleep stage varies depending on age. For example, infants spend most of their sleep time in REM sleep, while adults spend more time in non-REM sleep. Adults should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, with 50% of that time spent in N2, 20% in N3, and 25% in REM sleep.
During the night, our sleep cycles take between 90 and 120 minutes per cycle, and you should have four to six cycles per night. Each cycle isn’t the same, though. Over the course of the night, your REM phase of sleep increases in length toward the morning or when you usually wake up.
What Is Sleep Hygiene?
Sleep hygiene means setting up healthy habits, behaviors, and environmental factors that can be adjusted to create a good night's sleep. It includes anything from a bedroom environment to daily routines that promote consistent, uninterrupted sleep. Once you’ve got your sleep hygiene dialed in, you’ll find your ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up feeling refreshed and energized are the norm rather than something that happens every so often. Sadly, catch-up sleep doesn’t really make up for lost sleep, so if you want to stop feeling and looking haggard, commit to improving your sleep!
Here are five tips for improving your sleep hygiene:
Stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps regulate your body's internal clock and can improve the quality of your sleep.
Create a relaxing bedtime routine. This can include taking a warm bath, reading a book, or practicing relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing. Avoid using electronic devices before bed, as blue light can interfere with your sleep. Consider using blue light-blocking glasses; some people like to start wearing them as early as three o’clock in the afternoon.
Make your bedroom a sleep-inducing environment. Keep your room cool, dark, and quiet. Use comfortable bedding and pillows. And consider investing in a weighted blanket, blackout curtains/liners, or a white noise machine to block out any distractions.
Limit caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. These substances can interfere with your sleep and make it harder to fall or stay asleep.
- Build healthy habits during the day. Regular exercise (even just 15 minutes of walking), a healthy diet, and managing stress can all contribute to better sleep hygiene.
Turbocharge Your Beauty Sleep
Getting enough quality sleep is essential for our overall health and for looking and feeling great. By understanding the stages of sleep, how much of each type of sleep stage is optimal, and what processes the body is doing while we are sleeping, we can take steps to improve our sleep habits. But sometimes, we need a little something extra. These are some of my go-to's for everyone for better health, but especially those struggling to sleep.
I mentioned it earlier, but AminoSculpt liquid collagen can dramatically help improve your sleep quality naturally, especially if you take it at night, thanks to its high level of glycine. It also gives you the high-nitrogen amino acids your body needs to rebuild itself and at the same time reduce joint pain and inflammation. And, of course, you’ll get those “beauty sleep” benefits of lustrous hair, stronger nails, and more toned skin but to a greater degree than if you take your collagen during the day!
UPDATE: Health Direct has just updated the 10 gram formula of AminoSculpt to include Tryptophan. This is the only medical-grade liquid collagen with all nine essential amino acids! Tryptophan is vital for good sleep rhythms.
If you find your stress levels are high (and seriously, who isn’t dealing with a lot of stress these days!), I reach for ReStorIt for adrenal support. The ashwagandha in ReStorIt is a lifesaver; it's an adaptogenic herb that helps balance your body's stress responses.
Lastly, and this may sound odd, I recommend Sculpt N' Cleanse and Ready Fiber during the day to ensure a good night's sleep. Keeping the intestinal tract moving healthily and providing a rich environment for your good microflora to flourish ensures that you won’t be waking up over and over all night with digestive issues.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Lisa Moretti is a Certified Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN), the largest nutrition school in the world. She was at the top of her cohort in 2015. She's been involved in the natural health and supplement world professionally since 1981. Some product recommendations result in a small affiliate payment from amazon.com.
Sleep Foundation. (n.d.). Stages of Sleep. Retrieved from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/stages-of-sleep
Health.gov. (2021). Get Enough Sleep. Retrieved from https://health.gov/myhealthfinder/topics/everyday-healthy-living/mental-health-and-relationships/get-enough-sleep
National Institutes of Health. (2022). The Benefits of Slumber. Retrieved from https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2022/03/benefits-slumber
Healthline. (2021). 10 Science-Backed Benefits of Collagen. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/collagen-benefits