Sleep Or Bust

Illustrated by Jacqueline Davis Moranti

Lately I feel like i've been hearing a lot of talk about "circadian rhythms." Probably because half of America barely get's the adequate amount of sleep, including myself. At best, I usually bank on 6 steady hours of sleep before my body decides to wake me up before the alarm goes off. Sleep experts say that we need no more and no less than 8 consecutive hours of sleep to feel energized, accomplish our goals, go for gold, etcetera. But sleeping is much harder than that! With the LED screens that we're constantly staring at, all the work to be done, who actually sleeps?! There are essentially 5 stages of sleep, but what happens to our bodies and minds when we go to sleep? The most important stage being REM.

Your muscles are temporarily paralyzed during this phase, hitting the first REM stage happens about 90 minutes after you fall asleep and it lasts for about 10 minutes. The cycles happen every 100-120 minutes, and we usually get 4-5 cycles a night! But before you actually go to sleep, your pineal gland, located in the brain, releases melatonin, a natural hormone produced in our body that makes us very sleepy. During your slumber, your pituitary gland releases growth hormones, and this growth hormone helps our muscles and tissues, repair, heal and grow. Without proper sleep, your physical progress will become stagnate and your body won’t heal properly. 

Whilst we are sleeping, our brains sort information from the day and determines what information we need to retain and what isn’t super important. This is actually how the brain determines what will become our long term memories and what will become short term memories. Sleep is also the best way to escape stress. When you’re in the early stages of sleep, the body’s cortisol levels drop. Cortisol is sometimes referred to as the stress hormone and it reaches peak right before you wake up. That’s why when we get the suggested amount of sleep, we’re perky and really nice to be around! Cortisol also flicks on your appetite as soon as you wake up, which explains why we’re ravenous in the morning.

Also the reason, sleep gets called 'beauty sleep' by many is because of a special protein in our bodies called cytokines, which is released by our immune systems. Cytokines fight against inflammation, trauma and infection which is why a pesky zit can disappear after 8 marvelous hours of sleep! But if you're like me, then you're probably wondering what you can do to get the best rest ever?!

  • First things, first, put down that phone/ tablet/ computer! The LED screens can excite your brain rather than help you calm down to go to sleep.  

  • Lavender, ylang- ylang and bergamot, oh my! These essential oils are essential to rest easy, and Lather makes it easy by combining all of them into a Pillow Mist. I can't even describe how wonderful this smells.... heavenly, yes let's go with that word! I like to spray it on my pillow before I lay on it and sometimes I'll also use it on Lather's Quiet Time Eye Pillow. This neat little pillow is filled with lavender and flax seeds and can be heated up which is also great for cramps!

  • Everyone knows the importance of Vitamin C, it helps the immune system fight off nasty colds/ fevers and helps revitalize the skin. It can be really daunting to remember to take some pills/ tablets or maybe you just don't like to take solid vitamins. LivOn Labs has created an easy to ingest form of vitamin c, perfect on the go packets of 1,000 mg worth of vitamin c. I take it at night before bed, in a little shot glass with water or juice, it's that easy. Good morning to better skin and energy!

  • Sleep masks are a girls best friend! Sometimes the only way for me to sleep is to not see any speck of light, which is why a sleep mask helps. Make sure to find a satin  one with an adjustable strap to feel comfortable while you catch your zzzzz's! 

And if you're reading this on your phone, while also lying in bed trying to sleep, stop!!! If you can't seem to get any shut eye, try my suggestions and see how your circadian rhythm changes. Sleep tight! Dear readers, how do you try to fall asleep?

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Thanks for the sweet whispers! XO