Snooze, slumber, sack out, saw wood, catch some z’s. Though there are countless different ways to refer to sleep, many of us share one same problem with it: We don’t get the quantity or quality we need. Why? And how can we enjoy better shuteye?
Read on for the answers from Pam Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP, FACSM, Head of the Solaray Science Advisory Team who has been named one of the country’s top physicians by the Consumers’ Research Council of America. The good news: good sleep doesn’t have to be just a dream.
Q: Sleep is vital to overall health, yet sleep issues seem to be prevalent. Why is this the case?
Dr. Peeke: Obtaining an average of eight hours of restorative sleep every night is extremely important for well-being. However, many people struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep and fail to get the critical deep and REM sleep they need for optimal cellular restoration and recovery.
The reasons can vary. Some people can’t fall asleep because their minds race with everyday worry or because their melatonin production is out of synch. Melatonin is an important hormone that helps us yawn and fall asleep.
For those lucky enough to eventually fall asleep, often the issue of staying asleep arises. Some people are light sleepers and might awaken from sights and sounds that alert their minds. Others might have health issues that make sleeping through the night a real challenge.
In addition to these individual circumstances, I see a universal issue as well: With so many people tethered to their electronic devices now and staring into them throughout the night, it’s no wonder the body is confused and sleep becomes mission impossible. Most of these devices emit blue light, which can disrupt both natural melatonin production as well as throw off circadian rhythm (aka the body’s internal clock).
Q: With all this in mind, what lifestyle strategies and bedtime habits do you suggest for promoting sound slumber?
- Turn off devices after 9 pm to maintain normal melatonin secretion in synch with your natural circadian rhythm.
- Read a book or meditate to help get your mind and body ready for deep sleep. Meditating before sleep activates the parasympathetic part of the nervous system, often referred to as the “rest and digest” arm, allowing you to fall asleep and stay asleep more effectively.
- Take a magnesium chloride flake bath (look for Zechstein sources, which are pure and quickly absorbed). This is a wonderful way to relax the muscles. Or, take Solaray’s Magnesium Glycinate with dinner; other supplements can also help. [More below.]
- Avoid alcohol within three hours of sleep. Doing so is key, as alcohol has a profound effect on sleep, disrupting deep and REM sleep. The same is true for late-night eating.
- Get adequate exercise during the day to help prepare you for sleep by supporting proper mind and body recovery. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily. And try to exercise outdoors, as getting into nature is also essential to good sleep.
- Sleep in a cool, dark room. This is a simple way to promote deep sleep. The ideal ambient temperature for sleep is in the 65-68°F range. Turn off all the lights in your bedroom, close your window shades, and cover lights such as the digital clock on your nightstand. Any light in your room can affect your ability to obtain sufficient sleep.
Q: You mentioned Magnesium Glycinate. Why is it a good option? What other Solaray supplements do you recommend people take to support healthy sleep?*
Magnesium Glycinate: This favorite high-absorption formula is designed to support relaxation, along with healthy bones and muscles.* Magnesium Glycinate is a gentle form of magnesium that is bound to the amino acid glycine for superior bioavailability and additional support.*
Melatonin: Melatonin is one of the most popular sleep supplements. Again, the body naturally produces this hormone, which plays an important role in the sleep-wake cycle. But as mentioned above, the use of electronic devices may throw off melatonin production. And as we age, we produce less melatonin. So, supplementation might be necessary for many. Solaray’s extended-release formula with glycine supports sleep and relaxation and helps promote peaceful rest throughout the night.*
SharpMind Sleep: There are also an array of herbs that support sleep, including the adaptogen ashwagandha. This nootropic formula combines an extended-release melatonin blend and Shoden® ashwagandha specifically, which is clinically researched to support a healthy sleep cycle.*† It also contains L-glycine and reishi mushroom.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
†Shoden® is a registered trademark of Arjuna Natural Pvt. Ltd.