Did you sleep well last night?
We hope so, because while you were sleeping, your body received a tune-up. During sleep, our bodies rebuild and repair. When we are deprived of deep sleep, the brain makes molecules that are associated with stress. During deep sleep, our biological functions align their rhythms with each other. These functions include respiration, blood pressure and brain wave activity.
This same phenomenon happens we we’re in a state of meditation, appreciation, or when we enter the “zone” athletes experience when they are feeling at their best. Scientists agree this state is good for our health.
Melatonin production is another important biological function that happens while we’re sleeping. Known as the sleep hormone, Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. The hormone is a potent antioxidant (antioxidants destroy O2 free radicals that harm cells and DNA). Melatonin is a powerful hormone for building the immune system. Also, without deep sleep and Melatonin production, we can double our risk of obesity, heart disease and several types of cancer.
How do you ensure you get a good night’s sleep?
- Sleep in total darkness. If you sleep in total darkness, you will secrete more Melatonin. Even a small amount of light hitting your closed eyelids drastically reduces the amount of Melatonin produced in your body. If you can’t get your bedroom dark, wear an eye mask. Red light is the only color of light that does not disrupt this process.
- Go to bed by 10 p.m. and wake up by 6 a.m. Research has confirmed that sleeping during this time is optimal for your health. Melatonin production spikes between midnight and 1 a.m. That is an excellent time to be experiencing deep sleep.
- Stress interferes with sleep. Therefore, it is important to manage it throughout the day. Participate in activities that emphasize deep breathing, such as like, weight lifting, cardio exercises and walks in nature, to reduce stress. Receive regular massage to stay in touch with accumulating tension in the body.
- Eat a light dinner earlier than later in the evening.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
- Take a warm magnesium bath, which has profound relaxation effects on the muscular and nervous systems.
- Create a restful bedroom environment. Keep it free from clutter to reduce agitation. Use an aromatherapy diffusor with pure essential oils such as lavender, pine or jasmine to drift off and calm the mind.
Try the Magnesium Wellness Massage offered from the Vitality Center Spa. Magnesium is best absorbed through the skin directly into the cells to supply deficient levels. The magnesium in this treatment is in its purest form, from the Zechstein Seabed. Book a treatment by calling 970-476-7721.
The spa also sells aromatherapy products, as well as topical lotions, gels and oils with magnesium, to help promote a good night’s rest. Check out the magnesium lotion fro Ancient Minerals, called “Goodnight.”
Stop The Stress
6 ways to emerge from stress, from health psychologist and researcher Eli Puterman, Ph.D.
1. Thought labeling
Notice when you are ruminating about the past and worrying about the future. Let go of the anxious thoughts and concerns that intrude on what you are currently doing in the moment. Notice how thoughts can pull you away from the present and compound negative feelings to make stress worse.
Rethinking the source of a stress helps to identify the true weight of a situation, with evaluation techniques such as asking yourself “What is the worst case scenario?” to put thoughts into perspective.
Acceptance means allowing the thoughts and feelings that something bad has happened and to release the urge to control a situation. Allow your past to be in the past, and to accept any feelings you are having, rather than battling them or struggling with reality.
4. Returning to the present
Be a witness to your own life as it is happening. The Vitality Center offers yoga and meditation classes, which help teach you to use the breath as a tool to come back to the present moment when your mind is caught up in rumination or worry.
5. Savoring and capitalizing
Practice gratitude and humility by finding ways to savor and capitalize on the good things in life. Make a gratitude list, sharing thoughts and good feelings, sharpening sensory perceptions and being in the moment as a few ways to relish what’s before us, rather than worry about what is not.
6. Exercises and nutrition
Mindful living includes staying healthy in the body as well as in the mind. Focus on giving yourself what your body needs every day through balanced nutrition and exercise, since how we feel relates directly to how we interact with the world.
The Vitality Center offers a variety of yoga, meditation and fitness classes to help draw energy away from stress. Check out the schedule for class times here.