Sleep it's something every single person on the planet has in common. It's also one of those things that at some point in our life we all have an issue with.
If you don't get enough sleep you are more prone to obesity, early onset diabetes, cardiovascular disease, decreased immune response and early mortality.
So what is sleep and what do we know about it so far?
The science of sleep is still something that is yet to be fully explored. We know there are two types of sleep. Non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
NREM sleep is divided into stages 1, 2, 3, and 4. Each stage has differing characteristics including changes in brain wave activity, eye movements, and muscle tone.
REM sleep is when we dream and our muscle tone relaxes. It’s also associated with memory consolidation, tissue repair, regeneration of neurotransmitters and a number of other bodily processes involved in recovery.
Generally speaking the higher quantity of REM sleep we have the more rested we will feel.
Here are some research backed tools we use to help you rest well and get the right quality of sleep.
Tools and Tricks to Sleep Through the Night
We've all experienced the horror of trying to go to sleep when a majority of things are circulating in our head but this what you need to do to hit the bed with your eyes shut tight.
1. 90 minutes before bed - play Tetris
You read that right. Play Tetris.
This is known as "visual overwriting" this can help overwrite negative visualisation, which has seen to have applications in addiction disorders, preventing PTSD and most importantly for us, onset insomnia.
This was researched by Dr. Jane McGonigal who claims the highly visual nature of the game occupies the visual processing centre of the brain so that you can't imagine or obsess over those issues that have plagued your day.
The free version to download and use on your phone works perfectly.
2. 60 minutes before bed - turn off all devices that can deliver notifications, messages or alerts
It probably won't come as shock to many of you that your cellphone, laptop and tablet are preventing you from sleeping.
Using cell phones in bed, interferes with the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Functionally, cellular phone use shortly before bed has been linked to a number of negative outcomes. The worst being tiredness the next day.
So it's time to turn off all of your gadgets every evening if you want to sleep better that evening.
3. 30 minutes before bed - eat a low GI meal
You've had the perfect sleep but woken up and ask yourself "Why am I still tired?!"
The reason is likely to be low blood sugar. Try having two tablespoons of organic peanut butter with celery or carrot sticks before bed.
Don't substitute with other peanut butter as some contain sugar which is going to cause a jump in your insulin and preventing you from dozing off properly.
4. 10 minutes before bed - the tranquilizer tea
We haven't found a plausible mechanism for this but it's worked extremely well for us. This is a tip from the late Seth Roberts Professor of Psychology at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
This knocks me out every time:
Grab 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of Go Healthy Manuka honey ( lower GI compared to normal honey so you don't get sugar spike) and stir into one cup of hot water.
If you just want a pre made mixture that is a one stop shop come in store and try our Artemis Deep Sleep tea.
If you use these four tools they can guarantee you a better start to your morning. If you want to see our tips on waking up and performing your best physiologically you can find them here.
Stay healthy Dunedin,
The antidote team
Your pharmacist is someone who provides you with the solution you need to recuperate. From the alleviating the symptoms of your cold to lowering your blood pressure, your pharmacist is the last place on your road to recovery but is this the best model for your long term health?
What if when you came to get your medication for your ailment you also got advice on how to change your lifestyle factors to prevent you from getting sick in the first place. What we at antidote are offering is the opportunity for change. When you enter our stores we want to offer you advice on your long term health not just your medication.
We believe that your health and wellness is something that should be worked on consistently not just when you get sick. Chronic disease has been on the rise in New Zealand for years. Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity are all health issues that can be prevented but we’re not doing the right things to stop this.
As a nation we’re going to see our health professionals when we’re sick not when we’re well. We need to reverse this trend and we need to say to our doctor, our pharmacist, our nutritionist, our personal trainer and our other healthcare professionals:
We know the effects of long-term medication use and the implications they have on other parts of your body. They’re not good. If you have indigestion and you’re a long term anti-acid user you can soon suffer from a number of other health issues. Wouldn’t it be better if you made continual dietary changes that prevented you from even needing the medication in the first place?
This is just one of many medications that have long term side effects that can be resolved just by changing some dietary and lifestyle factors.
We want to focus on making sure that you only need medication when it’s really necessary, not when it can be dispensed as a band-aid for a larger health issue. We’re here to help you find out what you can do to improve your lifestyle habits outside of the medication.
We want to work with all health professionals and practitioners to improve your wellness to offer you a long term solution to better health.
This is a conversation we at Antidote would like to have with you. Come in store today and see what we can do to offer you a long term approach to your health.
"Lose an hour in the morning and you will spend all day looking for it." Richard Whately
The morning is often a time in which we spend chasing tasks that seemingly need urgent attention before disappearing into our normal working day.
What am I going to have for lunch - will I even have time for lunch?
Who is picking the kids up after school?
What do I need to remember for that after work function?
These are the questions we ask ourselves before we plunge head first into our day. We often leave the house to face our days in a state of confusion, angst, frustration and forgetfulness. Our day starts in an unstable frame of mind and it places at a disposition to repeat the same feelings we had in the morning for the rest of the day as well.
A morning ritual gives us the opportunity to make the most of our time alone before we face all of the people, obstacles, difficulties and trials that we can't control.
There are significant physiological and psychological benefits to a morning routine, it requires time but this is a worthwhile investment for your time spent.
Using the following routine each morning I've had clients lose almost 2% in body fat in 4 weeks. The best part is that it takes only requires an extra 20 minutes in your morning schedule and you will feel incredible for the rest of the day.
If you struggle getting up in the first place put your alarm in a place that requires you have to get out of bed to turn it off.
Once you're up hit the ground with 30 air squats and 30 press ups. If you can't complete all of the reps do as many as you can while maintaining proper technique.
These exercises release endogenous opioids known as endorphins in particular beta-endorphin and beta-lipotrophin. This is what makes up feel good post exercise and a short burst of moderate intensity exercise will give you that extra kick start straight out of bed.
2. COLD SHOWERING
Have a cold shower for five-ten minutes. The longer the better but aim for five minutes at the very least. This is where you will see the effects of the fat burning come into play.
While your body adjusts to the regular exercise routine exposing your body to cold frequently requires it to warm up to it's normal operating temperature and cold has been theorised to activate brown adipose tissue (BAT) which is the opposite to white adipose tissue (WAT) or what we commonly call "fat".
BAT contains a much larger amount of mitchondria which are power house for burning our normal fat stores (WAT). The second feel good part comes from the rush of nor-adrenaline when you're surrounded by freezing cold water.
This will amplify the previous feel-good feeling from your physical activity. Trust me this is hard to start but certainly worth the feeling you get once you step out.
3. DRINK SOME TEA
Finally drink a cup of tea. The tea mixture I would suggest is green tea without anything in it. Make sure you only steep the tea for 120 seconds maximum, otherwise you'll get that furry tongue taste feeling. This comes from tannins when you've been steeping your tea for too long.
The science behind this is that the green tea stops the degradation of the nor-adrenaline from the exercise and cold shower by inhibiting an enzyme catechol-O-methyl-transferase. This will extend the benefits of the fat-burning effects from the last two exercises.
You'll have to spend sometime waiting as the tea cools down. Savour this time as it will give you an opportunity to plan for the day ahead.
Your routine doesn't have to look like this but it's a good starting point.
If you want your days to be different from everyone else make sure you start them differently.