Why We Should All Get More Sleep


February 22, 2017
In Lifestyle

One of my new year’s resolutions was to get more sleep. New year, new me! Sleep can no longer be something we just fit in; we must prioritize it. Why? While we’re resting, our body heals and repairs, our brain synthesizes new information, organizes it into various memories, and lets our body and brain get the rest it needs to have energy for our day to day. Sleep is critical to every human function. Without it, we feel, act, and look like zombies (let’s be honest – not good!). Studies repeatedly show that sleep loss can cause serious lasting problems with how we think and function. Brain research shows a significant relationship between getting enough sleep and improved memory and thinking. Even a tiny disruption in our sleep, like the neighbor being too loud, impacts our learning and memory. When we get enough sleep, we’re able to problem solve more effectively, bounce back from daily stress, help our bodies stay healthy, potentially live longer than we would have had we not been sleeping enough consistently – and enjoy life!

Current guidelines recommend seven to nine hours of sleep nightly. There are things we can do to promote deeper more restful sleep like turning off electronics at least an hour before bed to give our brain time to relax, lower any lights in the room to signal your body that it’s time soon for sleep, taking a warm bath to relax your muscles, drinking warm herbal tea and so on. 

What you eat and drink can help too! How they connect to good sleep comes down to chemistry. Potassium and magnesium are natural muscle relaxants, and bananas, for example, deliver both. Bananas also have the amino acid L-tryptophan, which gets converted to 5-HTP in the brain, which is then changed into serotonin (a relaxing neurotransmitter) and melatonin. This key hormone helps control your sleep and wake cycles. We produce it naturally, but stress and other factors can sometimes get in the way. That’s why any help we can get from food is beneficial! (Suja banana options: Sweet Beets, Mango Magic, Green Delight).  Other foods that can stimulate melatonin production are pineapples, almonds (or almond milk), and tart cherries. In fact, tart cherries are one of the few food sources of melatonin. Recent studies have found people who drank tart cherry juice daily fell asleep sooner, slept better and longer (Suja tart cherry option: Vibrant Probiotic). Researchers found that levels of a melatonin increased by more than 266% after eating pineapples! (Suja pineapple options: Fuel, Revive).  Almond milk has calcium, which helps produce melatonin as well  (Suja option: Twilight Protein).

Want to give these juices a try? Enter the New You, All Year Sweepstakes for the chance to win a month’s supply of Suja, plus a new Helix mattress, 6 month Graze subscription and gift box from Cocokind Organic Skincare – everything you need to keep the new you, all year long!

Sources:

Van Der Werf, Ysbrand D., et al. “Sleep benefits subsequent hippocampal functioning.” Nature neuroscience 12.2 (2009): 122.

Ellenbogen, Jeffrey M. “Cognitive benefits of sleep and their loss due to sleep deprivation.” Neurology 64.7 (2005): E25-E27.

Robertson, Edwin M., Alvaro Pascual-Leone, and Daniel Z. Press. “Awareness modifies the skill-learning benefits of sleep.” Current Biology 14.3 (2004): 208-212.

Rasch, Björn, and Jan Born. “About sleep’s role in memory.” Physiological reviews 93.2 (2013): 681-766.

Diekelmann, Susanne, Ines Wilhelm, and Jan Born. “The whats and whens of sleep-dependent memory consolidation.” Sleep medicine reviews 13.5 (2009): 309-321.

Eby, George A., and Karen L. Eby. “Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment.” Medical hypotheses 67.2 (2006): 362-370. 

Kripke, D. F., et al. “Plasma parathyroid hormone and calcium are related to sleep stage cycles.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 47.5 (1978): 1021-1027. 

Drennan, Michael D., et al. “Potassium affects actigraph-identified sleep.” Sleep 14.4 (1991): 357-360.

Howatson, Glyn, et al. “Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality.” European journal of nutrition 51.8 (2012): 909-916.

Sae‐Teaw, Manit, et al. “Serum melatonin levels and antioxidant capacities after consumption of pineapple, orange, or banana by healthy male volunteers.” Journal of pineal research 55.1 (2013): 58-64.

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Zelana Montminy

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Dr. Zelana Montminy is a leader in the wellness realm and is Suja’s Health & Wellness Expert! Author of 21 Days to Resilience, she speaks around the world, is a go-to authority in the media and holds Masters and Doctorate degrees in Clinical Psychology with a Specialization in Health, as well as a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University. Dr. Montminy strongly believes that what we eat is intrinsically connected to how we feel. She has been a huge fan of Suja since the beginning and has partnered with Suja to help facilitate her goal of redefining wellness and encouraging people to filter through the truths behind false assumptions in the health, wellness, and nutrition worlds.