- Parsley Health
Hack Your Way to Better Sleep in 3 Easy Steps
Sleep is one of those things we take for granted—like breathing. Unless we aren’t getting enough of it. Until it becomes hard. Until we’re wide awake at 3 am. Until our brains don’t work the way they should the next day.
Then sleep becomes priority number one on our to-do list, and for good reason. Lack of sleep can make us clinically insane.
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For most of us, losing just one night of sleep makes us irritable, craving carbs, and gives us brain fog. It also affects us on a much deeper level when the problem becomes chronic. Research says that after just three nights of sleeping 4-5 hours, our insulin sensitivity (the hormone that controls our blood sugar levels) is lowered making us less responsive to big upswings in glucose when we eat carbs. This is the exact same process that leads to diabetes. Sleep deprivation basically throws your body into a pre-diabetic state which can lead to unwanted weight gain.
Set a bedtime alarm. The new iPhone update makes this super simple. Count backwards from the time you need to wake up in the morning by 7.5 hours. This amounts to five 90-minute sleep cycles – the ideal amount for a good night’s sleep. Now add 1 hour to that. This is your bedtime alarm to start winding down. Waking up at the right time can be crucial to whether you wake up refreshed or feel like you need an extra shot of espresso in the morning. Example: If you need to wake up at 6:00 AM, set your bedtime alarm for 9:30 PM to make sure you are asleep by 10:30 PM.
Drink some milk. You may have heard the theory that drinking milk before you go to bed helps you sleep. This is a myth. Although milk does contain the amino acid tryptophan it is unable to cross the blood brain barrier to have an effect on the pineal gland (produces melatonin). The truth is the warmness of the milk heats our internal body temperature and makes us sleepy. So any warm drink will do at night but we recommend trying a golden milk latte. With the increase in dairy food sensitivities that cause gut inflammation and the link between dairy to allergies and acne, we suggest using your favorite nut milk. The addition of turmeric is also key for its’ anti-inflammatory effects when you need it most – at night.
Connect. With yourself or someone else. Now that you have set your bedtime alarm, turned off all electronics, made your sleepytime tea, it’s time to reach out and touch. Meditate with your hands over your heart, do some twisting yoga poses, or cuddle with that special someone or furry friend. This will allow your melatonin to increase naturally as you fall into a gentle slumber.
UPGRADED GOLDEN MILK LATTE RECIPE
1 chamomile tea bag
½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tbsp. turmeric powder
1-2 tsp. manuka honey
1 tbsp. unrefined coconut butter
1 tbsp. tocos powder (optional)
1 tbsp. collagen powder (optional)
Steep tea bag in hot water for 5 minutes. Pour tea into blender with other ingredients. Blend for 15 seconds and pour into your favorite mug. Enjoy!
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Dr. Robin Berzin (pictured left) is the Founder and CEO of Parsley Health. A Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Robin went to medical school at Columbia University -where she co-founded the physician communication app Cureatr – and later trained in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. She is a certified yoga instructor and a meditation teacher, writes for a number of leading wellness sites, and speaks regularly for organizations including Stanford Medicine X, The Clinton Foundation, Health 2.0, Summit at Sea, and Further Future, on how we can reinvent health care. Read more of Robin Berzin's posts here.
Photos courtesy of Parsley Health.