health nutrition

A Good Night's Sleep

Some simple ways to catch better zZz's.

Fill 1 Created with Sketch.
Fill 1 Created with Sketch.
Group 49 Created with Sketch.
Fill 1 Created with Sketch.

Sleep is a vital part of overall wellness. The effects of sleep deprivation are wide ranging and dramatically impact our mental acuity.

A 2015 meta-analysis of brain imaging showed that our attention and cognitive activation suffers when we lack sleep. This may explain the zombie-like 'brain fog' that we experience whenever we don't get enough shut-eye.

How can we improve the quality of our sleep?

Magnesium, but watch what type

Magnesium is an essential mineral that supports muscle relaxation, bone health, nerve and muscle function, and over 300 processes in your body.

Besides relaxing our muscles, magnesium also helps us sleep by binding to a neurotransmitter known as GABA, producing a calming, anti-anxiety effect.

However, not all magnesium is made the same. The most common form in supplements is magnesium oxide, which has poor bioavailability. Magnesium glycinate has been chelated with amino acids and is therefore more readily absorbed by our bodies.

Completing sleep cycles

So often, we feel tired and foggy even after getting the recommended amount of sleep. We may often toss and turn and be too active in the night. Or we may wake up feeling extremely groggy and not well rested. This may be due to waking in the middle of our sleep cycles.

When we sleep, our brain enters 5 phases, going from light to deep sleep and back again. It typically takes about 90 to 110 minutes to complete one full sleep cycle. During phases 3 and 4, your body is supposed to be in deep sleep — when it restores energy, repairs tissue and releases hormones. If you wake up then, you disrupt your natural sleep cycle and may feel tired and disoriented.

The duration of sleep cycles can change as the night wears on. However, if you wake up in between cycles, you'll feel well rested even though you may have gotten fewer hours of sleep overall. It's all about completing the cycle!

We like to use this free Sleepytime Calculator to see when we should set our alarms in the morning to avoid disrupting our sleep cycles and wake up rested and refreshed. Give it a try!

What are your go-to ways to get a good night's sleep?

The content of this website is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical treatment. Please contact your medical care practitioner for medical information and medical treatment. Never refrain from or delay seeking medical treatment or a medical consultation because of something you read on this site.