The research continues to grow demonstrating that less-than-ideal sleeping habits negatively affect all bodily systems and yes, this is including your sexual function, your endocrine system, your metabolism, the nervous system... the list goes on!
From the epic book ‘Why We Sleep’, writes Matthew Walker - “Routinely sleeping less that six or seven hours a night demolishes your immune system, more than doubling your risk of cancer.”
And countless research shows there is a significant connection between disturbed sleep and sexual function (wait, whaaaaat??), in fact, if you check out our podcast 03 with the epic Dr Ralph Esposito, he talks about how sleep is so critical for males and sexual performance. And in our Brain Optimisation podcast episode, psycho-neuro-endocrinologist Jo Grabyn states "sleep is the greatest free medicine on earth." (From about 40minutes in, this podcast covers how vital sleep is for brain health and provides plenty of practical tips). Our resident naturopath Dan Sipple has lended his clinical experience on how poor sleep hygiene can really impinge on the blood-brain-barrier and how this can exacerbate leaky gut and leaky brain!
Our natural sleep-wake cycle follows Yin and Yang principles – being awake mirrors the Yang energy (the outward, bright, excitatory time) and sleep follows Yin (inhibitory, dark and quiet time). The sleep-wake cycle is also governed by the higher, more conscious Shen. Shen, or spirit, governs if the body is at work, or rest. Our reishi podcast covers this exact topic and how this beautiful medicinal mushie tones our Shen. So, if our Shen is weak, we may suffer from sleeping problems, fatigue and exhaustion. And it’s common knowledge that lack of sleep can affect mood and weight (hello tyre-around-my-middle), immunity and ageing. And let's be clear here, we aren't against ageing, hey it's part of being alive. We are pro healthy ageing.
One reason (there are many) for the vast and significant effects of disturbed sleep, is because when we are tired, the adrenals jump in and try to compensate by releasing cortisol, to give us that little pep in our step again. This homeostatic process is triggered by the HPA axis. While our body is simply trying to right the ship again, this excess production of cortisol can lead to a whole host of negative issues. Charlotte Bronte's famous words could not be more relevant -
~ “a ruffled mind makes a restless pillow” ~
Here at SuperFeast, we practice what we preach and, from the top down, we ensure work-life balance is a priority. Yes, that’s right, we make sleep a priority, a non-negotiable. Want to look at improving your sleep hygiene habits? These are our top tips at SuperFeast HQ:
1. Get your natural light on! We know that increasing exposure to bright natural light during the day, positively effects your circadian rhythm and increases sleep efficiency
2. If you are feeling low, slow, generally unhappy, anxious and lethargic, your Shen reservoir might need some filling up. The queen reishi, is a strong Shen herb
3. Sleep hygiene practices are cool. Seriously! Don’t be ashamed to say ‘no’ sometimes to that dinner date, work catch up or late night movie binge. Be proud to be putting your health first :)
4. If you are struggling with an overall exhaustion and an accumulative lack of sleep, our JING blend can help restore your adrenal fatigue
5. Reduce your blue screen time in the lead up to bed time. This is so relevant to the current landscape. It has been shown that over exposure to blue light effects our circadian rhythm and has detrimental health effects. Ideally cut all time in front of blue light screens (we’re talking mobile phones, computer, tablets, TV’s) two hours prior to sleep. We love our blue blocker glasses to help with this! We also wear Baxter Blue in the office to prevent blue light wavelengths while we are working at our laptops. You can grab yourself FREE shipping (to Aus, USA and Canada) with any purchase, just use the code SUPERFEAST at checkout
6. Create a mindful, slowing down night-time ritual and connect into Yin moments. Yin yoga and warm cup of our Reishi is the best combo. Ever.
7. Try not to eat too late in the evening, this can affect your sleep-wake cycle and hormones. We love complex carbs for dinner (they can help you feel satiated and provide fuel for the brain while you sleep), but allowing a 3-4 hour window after dinner, before you go to bed, is ideal.
8. Investigate herbal nervines, which can help soothe and invoke sleep, think valerian and freshly grated nutmeg
9. Try some tips from our 51 ways to de-stress
10. Check out the art of a personal practice, this will pave the way for a beautiful foundation for strong sleep
So SuperFeasters, it’s an oldie, but a goodie – get minimum seven hours of sleep a night and reap all the benefits.
Referenceshttps://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/public-information/more/sleep-blog/while-you-are-sleeping.html https://www.baxterblue.com.au/pages/the-dark-side-of-blue-light https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/evening-screen-time-can-sabotage-sleep https://www-sciencedirect-com.ezproxy.laureate.net.au/science/article/pii/S0022399918306196 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12789673
I had already been practicing cycle tracking and ritual for some years, but this practice immediately brought me into deeper presence and connection with my body, helped to slow me down and brought in another layer reverence to something I had been taught to fear, ignore or hate.