“To Sleep, perchance to Dream; Ay, there’s the rub,”
Hamlet probably wasn’t talking about rubbing his eyes, but it seems like more of us are doing it more often.
When we think about sleep, we think of resting and slowing down. Actually, the metabolism only slows 5-10% when we sleep. This tells us that there is a lot going on when we turn out the lights!
During sleep, the body and the mind seem to disconnect so that they can repair and rejuvenate themselves. Most athletes realize that muscle growth happens in response to the training they do in the gym and practicing for their sport. What is less understood is that the response happens when the body is asleep. Muscles grow after they recover from stress. If you don’t get the sleep the muscles need to recover, you are stuck with the damage done by the stress, and little of no growth.
The muscles are not the only system that works this way. The autoimmune system also needs time to recover in order to properly protect the body from infection and disease. The nervous system does not completely shut down during sleep, but the rest period does give the nerves time to recover so they will work better the following day. Sleep also seems to be the time that the mind processes the many stimuli from the day, and “catalogs” the days memories. This, in part, is why it is so important to get a good night’s sleep before a big examination.
The National Sleep Foundation has a series of recommendations that you can follow to help ensure you get a good night’s sleep every night:
- Got to bed and get up the same time every day.
- Make your bedroom as dark, quiet and as comfortable as you can, and only use your bed for sleeping and sex.
- Avoid eating, caffeinated drinks, and exercise just before bed.
- Smoking or using alcohol just before bed will interfere with good sleep.
- Take time to relax and quiet your mind before sleeping.
With all of the things that your mind and body are trying to do while you sleep, it is no surprise that the processes have special nutritional requirements. Generally, these can be facilitated with nutritional supplements, especially vitamins.
The B complex vitamins are essential to proper sleep hormone production. They also aid in keeping the adrenal glands healthy. Excess adrenaline releases may lead to insomnia and sleeplessness.
Vitamin D deficiency is thought to contribute to sleep irregularities. Vitamin D is critical in controlling how the body uses calcium. Calcium is not only important to bones and muscles, but has an effect on how the nervous system operates. The old advice to have a glass of milk before bed really does hold some truth. Another great source of Vitamin D is simple sunshine. As little as 10 minutes in the sunlight everyday can impact the quality of your sleep.
All of these vitamins are part of a normal multivitamin supplement, but there is some debate whether a multivitamin is in fact the best choice. The vitamins may not be in sufficient dosages in a multivitamin to improve sleep. Learn more about vitamin supplements from BioSynergy.com.