The Secrets of Sleep

The Secrets of Sleep

Sleep is something everyone needs. When you lack the suggested amount of sleep, which is about eight hours per night according to the National Sleep Foundation, your body doesn’t function at its optimum level. Sleep is a nightly tune-up that your body gets so it can run smoothly. Even though sleep relaxes the body, the brain is actually hard at work, and doing more than you think, while you are asleep.

It’s important to make sleep a priority. For starters, a full night’s sleep can shave calories off the upcoming day. The reason for this is because the body produces more leptin, which is a hormone that lets the body know that it is full, during slumber. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, however, the body produces more ghrelin, which is a hunger hormone. The same part of the brain, which controls sleep, is actually in charge of appetite and metabolism.

The brain’s activity doesn’t stop at cutting a few calories during sleep. While you are asleep, the brain has time to sort through memories. The saying, “I’ll sleep on it,” actually means something because your brain can solve a problem by processing the day’s events during sleep. There’s somewhat of a reactivation process that occurs in the brain’s activity. By replaying the day’s events, thoughts, or emotions, the connections between nerve cells strengthen, which lets the brain essentially file memories in our mental storage.

Some people don’t reap the benefits of a good night’s sleep because they have trouble sleeping. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders, and an additional 20 million people occasionally experience difficulty sleeping. Things that interrupt sleep patterns include caffeine, medications, external lights, too much screen time, or inexpensive and non-supportive pillows. Since the brain essentially recharges and catches up on the day’s events during sleep, insufficient sleep can cause problems while awake. If the brain can’t inhibit activity that promotes wakefulness during sleep, this results in unstable sleep patterns.

What if there was a way, a trick even, that could allow more people to fall asleep in 60 seconds? This trick is known as the “4-7-8 method.” This trick, which was developed by Dr. Andrew Weil, essentially relieves the body of stress by counteracting the effects of adrenaline in the body. The heart rate slows and your mind clears. The “4-7-8 method” can be done by following these steps:

  1. Completely exhale through your mouth.
  2. After closing you mouth, inhale through your nose for 4 seconds
  3. Hold your breath for 7 seconds
  4. Exhale through your mouth for a total of 8 seconds.

That whole process is one cycle. Do this for three or four times. If you do four cycles twice a day, it should help you fall asleep within 60 seconds when you’re lying in bed at night. This may be the natural cure for you, if you have trouble sleeping. Let us know if this sleep trick worked for you.

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