Health and Wellness
Are you struggling with shut-eye at the moment? Magnesium could be your savior!
There’s a reason people tell you to “sleep on” something. Sleep has an almost magical ability to rejuvenate our mind and body, shrinking yesterday’s problems down to a much more manageable size and recharging batteries that were almost on empty. Pretty much everything science has taught us about sleep reinforces the fact that it’s essential to both our physical and mental health, and that missing it has some not-so-awesome side effects. If that’s the case, then why are so many of us not getting our recommended dose of it? Well, one of the bummers of modern life is that those same revolutionary inventions that are keeping us entertained and comfortable (think electric lights, computers, TVs and smartphones) are also keeping us up a lot longer. Yup, Aussies are sleeping around two hours less per night than we did a few generations ago, and while that might not sound like a lot, it can have some serious repercussions on our health.
Science gives us some pretty cool insight into the weird and wonderful world of sleep and into exactly what goes on in our brains and body once we knock off for the night. Believe it or not, once sleep kicks in, your brain doesn’t actually become less active, it just switches into a different kind of activity. To put it simply, when we’re awake our brains collect information (or “external stimuli” if you want to sound fancy at your next dinner party), but when we nod off, they switch into editing mode. All that information you’ve collected over the course of the day (Kim Kardashian’s left nipple is higher than her right? WTF? That cute guy at work takes his coffee the same way as you!) will be edited at night, keeping some stuff and binning the rest. Think of it as your brain curating which information and memories it wants to keep. It doesn’t always choose wisely, either, which is why you might remember all that Kardashian trivia, but not the fact that your best friend just turned 40. And there’s just as much work going on in your body as there is in your mind. In the later stages of sleep (where your body’s in a deep, almost coma-like state) your cells are producing most of your growth hormones, which your body needs in order to keep your bones and muscles in tip top shape. As well as that, there’s a whole heap of evidence suggesting that we need sleep in order to keep our immune system healthy (something to think about with cold and flu season just been and gone!) It’s hard work being awake sometimes, with our busy, modern lifestyles full of deadlines (and, let’s face it, a whole heap of random social media videos to watch for hours on end). So, our top tips to get your eight hours in; 1. Meditation, Switching on a 5-10min meditation once you jump into bed can help your body let go of the day, let's your mind put down the narrative and stops the circling to-do list. In technical terms, meditation helps lower the heart rate by kickstarting the parasympathetic nervous system and encourages a slower rate of breathing which increases your chances of a restful night sleep. 2. Reduce blue light at night, Essentially our 'fake' lights (remember earlier we spoke of those 'revolutionary inventions' - electric lights, computers, TVs and smartphones) trick our brain into thinking it is daytime. This blue light messes with our circadian rhythm - one of the key functions this circadian rhythm determines is wether your body is ready to be awake or asleep (along with many other important functions). Getting too much blue light at night can inhibit the ability of the release of melatonin, our sleep hormone. So, We recommend switching your devices off, light a candle and pick up a book once the kids are down and you have the evening to yourself (also very good to get the little ones into the habit of this). 3. Nightly routine of magnesium oil spray, Magnesium binds with little receptors in your body that are responsible for quieting down nerve activity. This means that your body can begin to relax and mellow out, which makes it easier for you to fall asleep. Studies have also found that people who are low in magnesium find it harder to get a good night’s sleep, even if they are doing everything right. So, by topping up your magnesium levels with a nice, relaxing magnesium bath bomb or a bit of a magnesium oil massage could be the perfect, natural assistance for a better night’s sleep. Get some here your body will thank you for it!