Remember how wonderful it feels when your head hits the pillow and the next thing you know, you wake up feeling rested and energized? A lot of us can’t remember the last time that happened. In fact, on average, 40% of Americans get less sleep than what is recommended. If we were to get the 7-9 hours of sleep each night needed to repair the damage we’ve done throughout the day, we would see less health problems overall. When we don’t give our bodies the chance to recharge, there is a greater risk of heart disease and stroke, diabetes, depression and overall decreased immune function. Living in a constant state of fatigue wreaks havoc on our nervous system. When our nervous system is compromised, it makes it harder to handle daily stresses; we crave unhealthy foods, and our memory and how we retain information is stifled.
There are four stages of sleep; three NREM (non-rapid eye movement) and one REM (rapid eye movement). In the very beginning of sleep, the brain produces beta waves, which are small and fast. When the brain starts to relax, slower waves (alpha) are produced. This is sometimes where you feel like you’re falling and you’re jerked awake. The first stage of sleep is the transition between wakefulness and sleep. The brain produces theta waves, which are very slow waves with high amplitude. This stage can last 5-10 minutes. The second stage of sleep is where your body temperature drops and your breathing and heart rate become more regular. This stage is where we spend about half of our sleep. In the third stage, delta waves are produced, and are very deep and slow. People are less responsive to noises, as this is where we go from light to deep sleep. This is the stage where sleepwalking can occur. The last stage (REM) is where dreams transpire. The brain becomes more active, the eyes move rapidly and increased respiration occurs. We spend about 20% of our time here and it can last up to an hour as sleep progresses.
There are many reasons why sleep can elude us each night. Unhealthy food choices, alcohol, and stress play major roles interrupting proper sleep. When our bodies lack vitamins and minerals, we can’t create the proper neurotransmitters needed to get us to sleep and keep us asleep. Our liver works really hard to balance our blood sugars, so when we drink alcohol it has to work overtime. This can often cause you to wake up in the middle of night. We are also glued to our cell phones. They are usually charging right next to our heads and studies have shown that using devices right before bed disrupts sleep because they are stimulating the nervous system. It is not recommended to use or charge devices in the room where you sleep and this is especially important for teenagers, who need more sleep than adults.
Mindful Mixtures has created several products to help those who struggle with sleep. TRANQUILITY is a blend designed for adults. One of the ingredients (Cedarwood) is scientifically proven to assist the body in getting into REM sleep. Cedarwood stimulates the pineal gland, which is responsible for releasing melatonin. This blend has helped me to stop taking over the counter sleep drugs. It’s one of my favorite products that we make and it’s been a lifesaver to many. Sleep is important for all of us, but it is especially important for growing bodies and brains. This is why we have created a sleep product for children called BEDTIME. Formulated for little ones, this product will gently lull your child into a peaceful sleep without having any side effects.
Balance and compromise are two things that we should all strive for. Diet, exercise, sleep, work and play are intertwined throughout each and every life. We need to be smart in the choices we make. Don’t forget that at the end of the day, YOU are the only one that is responsible for YOU. Be kind to yourself, make time to play, and balance your days and nights. Don’t run yourself into the ground by sleep walking through your days. Make sure you get plenty of sleep and if you need help… give us a call!