How do we get our bodies into Restorative sleep faster?
How do we make sure we stay in Restorative sleep to keep our bodies recovering longer?
Trading Reputation for a better nights sleep. Lets hear some more Science and Theories.
Serotonin and Tryptophan! (must pass the blood-brain barrier)
So we want you to eat protein and then 3 hours later have something to raise your insulin level. A potato seems like a better alternative than a candy bar.
Before that she explained the reasoning so anyone can understand it:
Tryptophan is a kind of amino acid, which comes from protein. When you eat protein foods (meats, cheese, eggs, birds, etc.), it is broken down into amino acids. They go into your blood stream and try to get into the brain as "brain food". Tryptophan is a little runty amino acid. The other amino acids compete with him and won't let him get across into the brain.
When you eat a food that causes an insulin reaction, the insulin goes and gets the 'big' aminos and takes them to the muscles to be used as muscle food. The muscles don't really care about the runt so he stays behind. When he is left behind after the big guys go to the muscles, he hops into the brain and sacrifices himself to the serotonin factory. And your serotonin levels rise. The theory is that in the presence of protein tryptophan and serotonin
On that page, she doesn't link to any studies. I'm guessing that is saved for the book. A search finds studies to support her methods or at least the fact that protein can inhibit serotonin production and tryptophan passing the blood-brain barrier.
Some great paleo articles regarding serotonin:
This page, though poorly organized, may also be useful (scroll down to 'Too Much Protein'). Some points from there:
- To transform tryptophan into serotonin, vitamin B6 is required, as cofactor to activate decarboxylase enzyme which is essential in the biosynthesis serotonin and other neurotransmitters and some autacoids . Consuming more protein than you need requires extra vitamin B6 (and B2 and folic acid). Consuming too much proteinous food inhibits serotonin production.
- Consuming too much increases blood-amino acid levels, making it harder for the brain to specifically pick up tryptophan. The amino acid phenylalanine inhibits serotonin production, through inhibiting decarboxylation of 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophane into serotonin.
- Consuming too much protein increases blood-phenylalanine level. The amino acid phenylalanine inhibits serotonin production, through inhibiting decarboxylation of 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophane into serotonin.
- Consuming too much protein increases blood-leucine level. The amino acid leucine enhances tryptophan-pyrrolase, irreversibly decomposing tryptophan. Unfortunately, the liver can not decompose leucine, tissues like muscles can.
I'm recently a fan of Yoga Nidra, a mental exercise that lets me get some great sleep... even if science is not sure how it works.
I have a two Science papers to recommend to you: http://www.mindfulness.net.au/uploads/35199/ufiles/pdf-new/psychological-neurophysiological.pdf AND https://www.nmr.mgh.harvard.edu/~lazar/Lazar_Neuroreport_00.pdf I picked them out because they are well done and FREE online.
If you want to pick up a free YN mp3 from the web, a quick search will get you several variations.
I think YN is an interesting Hack because when I take time to do it before falling asleep, I feel quite supercharged the next day.
http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=yoga+nidra+neuro will get you some other interesting studies. So will http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=sleep+neuro
I love that this is a no equipment, low to no cost mental skill that can be practiced, and once you own it, you can teach it to others.
Tim Ferris's new book, the 4 hour body, has a couple chapters on hacking sleep. His suggestions for better sleep:
-Test 67-70deg as your bedroom temp
-Eat a large fat&protein meal 3 hours prior to bedtime
-Tax nervous system with isolated movements
-Take a cold shower/bath prior to bed
-Use an ultrasonic humidifier
-Use Phillips Golite/nightwave pulse light
-Resort to the half military crawl position
I like to foam roll before bed. I have no idea whether it helps sleep or not, but it is relaxing.
There's a plant that's green, been found on 3,000 yr old mummies and fights inflammation and promotes deep rest. It's only legal though for medical patients in a few states.
Rest and repair comes primarily from slow-wave sleep (SWS). REM promotes creativity, and memory consolidation, and Stage 2 sleep increases alertness and motor skills.
We tend to get more REM in late morning, as a function of circadian rhythm, whereas SWS peaks depending on when we go to sleep, not absolute time of day. SWS is more highly prioritized the longer it's been since you slept.
Here is my mise en place for sleep: Go to bed when I feel sleepy. Turn the heat off. Then, all done in as complete darkness as possible, I think happy thoughts, don't eat too close to bedtime but I'm not hungry, I don't drink alcohol too close to bedtime, I have moved my body vigorously and breathed deeply sometime earlier in the day, I wear earplugs, have a comfortable mattress and a good blanket, say a loving word to my partner or myself (sounds corny but I don't care), have a dog (or cat) at my feet, smile in the dark just because, then I take a deep breath, close my eyes, smile again, and go to sleep. Anyway, works great for me every time.
SOmetimes my brain whirls around and around thinking about stupid problems that have no good solutions and then I can't sleep. Once I realize that my sleep is delayed and my brain won't settle down, I find some kind of brain task that will distract me and slowly bore me to sleep. The classic counting sheep thing would be a good example but does not seem to work for me. I think maybe it's just a tad too easy and does not distract me from my other problems. What I do instead is imagine a jumping animal, say a kangaroo, as he jumps over different items, maybe the bed first, then a table, then a fence. But each item is different so my brain is kept busy coming up with new items to jump over. Duplicates are not allowed! I imagine him jumping over all kinds of things world wide, maybe the moon or the Eiffel Tower or whatever. The effort of this brain task is just enough to distract from stresses in life, but also not so much that I can't drift off to sleep. For other people, the same thing might be accomplished via other mind games like math problems or whatever, but it just can't be anything stressful. You need to keep yoru mind occupied on something relaxing. Sometimes when doing this, I will get distracted, forget the jumping animal, and go back to stressing, but if that happens, I just gently remind myself to continue on with the jumping animal. I think this may work similar to meditation in which they sometimes use breathing exercises or various mantras to try to steer the brain away from daily stress. Perhaps this is a variation on the 'think happy thoughts' suggestion, but in my version it is more like don't think bad thoughts! Instead think of boring things that will block out bad thoughts and slowly activate your imagination and let it carry you off to sleep.
I've also read about being cooler during sleep as a terrific tactic for falling asleep more quickly, and then having a more restful sleep. See this:
This is the precise reason why giving babies and toddlers a bath before bedtime is a tried and true strategy; the water lowers their core body temperature just enough to trigger the "bedtime" tripwire in the kiddos' internal clocks.
Since I love feeling super warm under IKEA's level 6 down comforter, I found that wearing no socks - feet poking out at the end, affords me the mostly full body warmth I crave while temp adjusting for more restful sleep with uncovered feet. :)
I am not sure if this is related to the Yoga Nidra post but this is what I do to pass out into a deep sleep: 1. Focus on breathing. Become aware of your breathing and try to make it deeper and slower progressively. 2. Imagine every muscle in your body relaxing progressively. 3. Visualize yourself slowly covered in a blanket of dark heavy sleep.
I also read someone's post on a fitness blog that saying "I'm thankful" for at least 5 things is therapudic mentally. I tried it the past two nights and I slept very well. I think it's due to putting focus on your happy thoughts rather than keeping work/stress in the mind.
And lastly, I tend to sleep better after a big whack of green vegetables like roasted broccoli or brussels (favorite!) I think due to the magnesium content. I don't have access to natural calm.
I also have a very hard time sleeping in warm environments. I second the colder room theory.
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