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The Importance of Sleep

Many people take sleeping for granted, that is until they struggle to fall or stay asleep. After a good night’s rest, a person is able to take on their day, feel focused, and enjoy stable energy throughout the day. On the other hand, insomnia, or the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, can lead to fatigue the next day, sugar cravings, and poor concentration. In addition to feeling suboptimal the next day, lack of sleep can lead to physical and mental disease.

Lack of sleep is associated with an increased risk of dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have found that achieving deep, restful sleep can decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 80%. While anyone can struggle with sleep, the elderly population tends to be most at risk of sleep issues. Given the importance of restful, restorative sleep, one should pay attention to their sleep patterns and practice lifestyle choices that encourage optimal sleep.

Some lifestyle tips and tricks that can help promote proper sleep include:

  1. Utilizing your bedroom only for sleeping. Avoid working, eating, or playing on your phone in your bedroom. This helps your brain create a strong association between your bedroom and sleep and can help you fall asleep easier and faster.
  2. Turn off all the lights and block any sources of light from your bedroom when sleeping. Light interrupts the production of melatonin, your body’s master sleep hormone. 
  3. Turn down the heat a bit. Sleeping in a cooler room is ideal for sleep as overheating commonly wakes people or disrupts sleep.
  4. If you do wake up, avoid reaching for your phone, tablet, or TV remote. These devices emit blue light, which disrupts melatonin production. Plus, they are very stimulating!
  5. If you struggle with waking in the middle of the night, try a small protein snack before bed. This can help to keep your blood sugar level and prevent a cortisol spike that wakes you up.
  6. Sleep on a schedule. Our bodies love routine, so try to wake up and go to bed at roughly the same time each day – even on weekends.

Although these lifestyle practices can make a world of difference for many people, sometimes a sleep support supplement is needed. There are a few key herbs, nutrients, and amino acids that support sleep from a physiological level.

Some of the most effective ingredients to look for include:

  • L-theanine: This amino acid helps to slow down rapid thoughts, anxiety and turn off overthinking. It is ideal to take this 30 minutes before bedtime or in the middle of the night if you wake up. 
  • Chamomile: You may know chamomile as a sleepy-time tea, and for good reason. Chamomile helps to relax both the body and mind to encourage rest, relaxation, and deep sleep. 
  • Melatonin: May people know about melatonin as it is our body’s master sleep hormone. Dosing melatonin 30 minutes or so before bedtime is extremely effective in promoting sleep. Melatonin is especially important as we age as production decreases later in life. 
  • Passionflower: This floral herb helps to reduce rumination and anxious thoughts while encouraging a sense of peace and relaxation, ideal for sleep.
  • Inositol: This amino acid is a powerhouse for anxiety and stress. It helps to slow down rapid thinking and promote an overall sense of calm.

A supplement that contains all or some of these ingredients can be a game-changer for your ability to achieve restful, uninterrupted sleep. ThrivePM includes all of these ingredients and more. It can be taken before bed to combat nighttime stress, anxiety, or wakefulness and allow you to drift into dreamland easily.

Dr. Stephanie Nichols,

Co-Chief Medical Officer of THL

Sources Used

​​Tanaka, H., & Shirakawa, S. (2004). Sleep health, lifestyle and mental health in the Japanese elderly: ensuring sleep to promote a healthy brain and mind. Journal of psychosomatic research, 56(5), 465-477.