Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Great Value of Good Sleep....

Today's Post:  Tuesday, 3-22-2016

A.  Good sleep is known to clean up and recharge your whole brain.

Your brain literally compacts to take up less space and allow more cleaning solution to flow through the large passages that then open up.  This happens during deep sleep.

The more of your brain you use, the more of this you need.

So, if you are a woman, because both sides of your brain communicate well and you tend to use all of your brain, you need more sleep.

If you talk a lot in your work or use words to think through decisions and make many decisions, brain scans also show your whole brain lights up.

Conversations seem effortless since you have done them since you were a toddler, but brain scans show they are more like going to a gym that causes you to work out like crazy without stop and use all of your body in the exercises besides.

Those are true of both men and women.

And, other research found that people who have the best functioning brains and can think on their feet with good results also have better communication between parts of their brain and use more of it.  This apparently enables them to think on their feet well by having quick access to ALL or most of their relevant memories to see the likely solutions or best moves to try.

So if you want your efforts to make your life work well and be productive in your work if your work needs those skills, having enough deep sleep each night for this process to work well has great value.

B.  About three weeks ago the Resparate blood pressure device’s email on health topics reported a study that showed if you want your life to go well,
 you also must have the better emotional control and sanity to feel good, make the beneficial choices when tempted, and have rewarding and stable relationships.

The study found that you have that if you get enough effective sleep, you tend to have that.

But if you don’t have enough effective sleep you are set up to do very poorly indeed in those areas unless you are as prepared what happens to you as a US Navy Seal about to go into combat.

The study found that:

Sleep deprivation boosts emotionality and cuts cognitive control but not level of activation...rationalized cravings and hostility often result!

We post often on fat loss

1.  This can stop or threaten to stop the most important fat loss change and practice:

Stopping all consumption of things that DO taste good that you used to eat or drink before you know the consequences.

If you know enough and have preset permanent policies and focus on the benefits of the policies and the harms of ignoring them and focus on “I know better than doing that and I no longer consume those things that make me fat and sick.” you may do well anyway but it does get much harder!

"That does taste good but it causes the heart disease like my Dad had that I NEVER want to get!

I don't eat that stuff because I know better than the poor ignorant people who do."

But if you aren’t prepared with that and used to using it, lack of sleep boosts the signals in your brain and how emotionally driven and cuts your access to that part of your brain.

That can result in the kind of eating that again makes you fat and sick.

So one solution is to have the skills of focusing on your decision and policy and the good reasons for it and its benefits so well practiced, you do it even when you have less power and connection to that part of your brain and are energized by emotion too!

The other solution is to get enough effective sleep to avoid that problem!

2.  This can cause the key cause of hostile type A behavior that causes heart disease to be "extremely well rationalized" with far less ability to see how damaging it is or stop doing it.

This can also cause divorce and being fired from jobs and being hated by people who know you at its worst.

Just like beneficial eating habits, the more you are used to treating people as their best selves and with kindness and realizing that most of the things they do that irritate you are temporary and/or can be overcome or made fewer and may even be better next time, the better you can overcome feeling more irritable and having the thinking part of your brain on low power.

The other solution is to get enough effective sleep to avoid that problem!

3.  For both things, it’s also been found that getting abundant omega 3 oils, particularly DHA, reduces the overdriven emotional activation and makes it possible for you to access your more positive thinking brain better.

C.  To get enough effective sleep, several things help:

1.  For most people:

Almost always sleeping so that you get up at the same time each day;

Getting at least 6 hours of sleep almost every day;

And, getting about 7 to 7 and a half hours or a bit more of sleep several nights each week.

2.  Doing things that enable you to fall asleep quickly, have several sessions of deep sleep and rarely wake up before you have enough deep sleep also help.

You can write a book on the many effective ways to do that.  And people have.

That said, here are some effective ways most people have access to:

It helps enormously if your bedroom is dark, cool, and quiet,

a) Banning TV’s from the room where you sleep is critical and usually doable.

b) But blackout curtains, quiet and super-powerful air conditioning to ensure your bedroom is cool, and moving to a quiet location &/or getting sound insulation and reverse soundwave generators to ensure quiet can be a bit challenging to impossible sometimes.

But for less than $20 just a few days from now, you can have the darkness part done!

Nidra sells a sleep mask on Amazon you can get and have delivered for that within days from today.

And, if you travel often, it comes in a box you can use to safely transport it along with you.

I got one and it just about doubled my sleep quality from the first night I used it!

c)  There are several ways to ensure you fall asleep quickly or give you the leverage to usually do so:

*Doing vigorous exercise early each morning is proven to be one of the most powerful and effective ways to do this.

And, it can be quite time efficient.  7 minutes of brisk walking works.  4 sets of fast jump rope for 30 seconds to 60 seconds with rests in between works.  Doing 4 sets of fast abdominal exercises in about 6 minutes with rests in between works.  So does half an hour of slow rep strength training if you have the time for it and the weights at home.

*Taking melatonin works.  If you are younger, half a one mg tablet just before bed can work while you need more as you get older until at age 72 I take two 2.5 mg chewable lozenges of melatonin.  (If you get less help falling asleep, you may need more.  And, if you still feel the effects the next morning, you definitely want to use less.)

d)  The first rate, effective, and easy to use advice I got from my sleep doctor also helps a lot:

Only have alcoholic drinks BEFORE dinner and usually stick to just one. 

That ensures that by the time you go to bed and then to go into deep sleep, your body will have processed the alcohol enough to prevent it from keeping you from deep sleep as it otherwise does quite reliably!

Only have caffeine or drinks that contain it 6 to 8 hours BEFORE you go to bed.  If you drink it later in the day than that it cuts your deep sleep by as much as a whole hour

e)  Two other ways to get more deep sleep:

The herbal supplement valerian reduces the effect of even severe stress on you (It was used
during World War II bombing raids to help people sleep anyway!).

But best of all, it increases the amount of deep sleep you get and how restorative it is!

I take two capsules at bedtime since I learned that.  (You do have to get a larger container to keep the supplement in that you can seal because the active ingredient in Valerian that does all this has a stinky and very pungent smell.)

Another supplement that was in a Medical News Today study on the messengers your brain uses to power down also increases the amount of deep sleep you get if you take it as a supplement at bedtime is GABA.  100 to 150 mg is effective; but it’s easiest to get as a 250 mg capsule as a supplement which I’ve found not to be too much.

D.  What to NEVER do!  Do NOT, repeat NOT, take prescription sleep drugs EVEN once if you can possibly help it!

They increase your risk of death considerably including deaths from sleep driving and more.

They increase your chances of getting cancer soon MORE than smoking.

They do NOT give you more deep sleep and often leave you too groggy to wake up well the next day.

Worse, they are extremely addictive.  For some people they are as hard to quit as nicotine, cocaine, and heroin combined.

Literally, the only safe amount of hypnotic sleep drugs to take is zero!  

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