· By PYM STORE
Still tired after 8 hours of sleep? Here’s 5 reasons why
Are you still feeling tired even after 8 hours of sleep? Thanks to emerging science, we’re beginning to uncover certain habits that are robbing you of the deep, restorative sleep needed to feel refreshed and energized throughout the day. In honor of March being National Sleep Awareness Month, we will talk about 5 surprising reasons why you are still tired after 8 hours or more of sleep, and how to improve sleep naturally without using melatonin.
1. You’re focusing on the amount rather than the consistency
Quantity of sleep is important, however, what’s possibly more important than the number of hours, is the consistency of sleep and wake times.
In fact, research at the University of Michigan found that first-year medical residents with irregular sleep habits had lower moods and more symptoms of depression than participants who kept consistent schedules.
So our tip for you here, is to resist the urge to hit snooze, or to sleep in on your days off. Set a bedtime and a wake time, and stick to it as consistently as you can. Within a week or so, you may find that your biological clock naturally wakes you up!
2. You’re deficient in nutrients important for deep, restful sleep
Certain nutrients such as magnesium, psychobiotics, and GABA are important for promoting healthy sleep and daytime wakefulness.
Magnesium helps relax muscles and calm the mind, which your body needs in order to slip into a deep, restful sleep. It also regulates the hormone melatonin, which guides your circadian rhythm.
It is estimated that up to 50% of the population have magnesium deficiency, and it is difficult to get adequate amounts through food alone, so supplementing can help.
One study of older adults with sleep problems found that daily magnesium supplementation for eight weeks helped them fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, reduced nighttime awakenings, and increased their levels of naturally circulating melatonin.
Psychobiotics are probiotics that have mental health benefits. The psychobiotic Lactobacillus plantarum, was found to benefit anxiety, stress and sleep quality in a recent study. Participants reported higher levels of energy and positive emotions, as well as better quality of life and psychological health.
GABA and L-Theanine
GABA and L-Theanine are amino acids that help to quiet the mind and relax the body by blunting overactivity of neurotransmitters like cortisol and adrenaline. A study showed that GABA and L-Theanine together help you fall asleep faster, and improve REM sleep.
If you’re ready to stop feeling tired and want to improve sleep naturally, try our Best Sleep Ever bundle! We included Mood Magnesium with three types of magnesium proven to improve sleep quality, Mood Chews with GABA and L-Theanine to calm the nervous system, and Mood Biotics with psychobiotics to reduce stress and anxious feelings.
Why don't we use melatonin as a sleep aid?
Our scientists here at PYM are all about making science-based products that are actually effective, and after reviewing the clinical research on melatonin, we just weren't convinced. Some research found that melatonin is no better than placebo.
In addition, a study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine looking into the safety of melatonin shows that research on the long-term effects of the sleep aid is limited. While investigators review the full findings, the Academy is cautioning people against using melatonin for insomnia.
Meanwhile, magnesium has been extensively researched and proven to benefit sleep quality. Magnesium is also a precursor for melatonin to naturally occur in the body, so when you're taking magnesium, you are actually boosting melatonin as well!
3. You’re accumulating sleep debt without knowing it
If you got 8 hours of sleep last night but are still tired today, it could be because of the sleep you missed out on days ago. Sleep debt, also known as sleep deficit, refers to the hours of sleep you need compared to the amount you’ve gotten. So if you need 8 hours of sleep to feel rested, but you slept four hours last night, you’d have four hours of sleep debt.
What’s the cost of that sleep debt? Sleep is as essential a function as eating, breathing, and going to the bathroom. Sleep deprivation impacts everything from your physical health, your mental health, your mood, your cognitive function and your safety to name a few.
Create a bedtime ritual
One of the biggest obstacles to falling asleep is the struggle to slow or turn down the volume of your thinking before bed. Winding down your mind and body with a bedtime ritual starting an hour before bedtime can really get your body and mind into the right state. Some wind-down activities could be:
- Turning off electronics and reading a book
- Meditation or yoga
- Listening to relaxing music
- Hygiene habits (skincare, brushing, flossing, etc.)
- Sex or cuddling
- Enjoying your Mood Magnesium and taking a Mood Chew and probiotics from the Best Sleep Ever bundle!
4. You’re consuming sleep-disrupting food, drinks or substances close to bedtime
Many people “wind down” with a glass of wine or cannabis, and while it can feel like these things relax our minds and bodies, they actually greatly interfere with the quality of our sleep.
Alcohol’s sedative properties cause people to fall asleep quickly, but after its initial effects fade, the body spends more time in lighter sleep stages, interfering with REM and deep sleep, which are paramount for restorative sleep. The same goes for using cannabis before bed.
Though you might not be consuming it before bedtime, caffeine can still have a big impact on your sleep, even if you drank it hours ago! This is because caffeine has a half-life of six hours, so try to have your last cup before 12pm.
Foods to support sleep are typically those that serve as precursors to hormones important for sleep quality, like human growth hormone, melatonin, and serotonin. To support your sleep, try focusing on these nutrients and vitamins:
- Tart cherry juice: Tart cherries contain melatonin and also encourage the body to produce melatonin. Tart cherry juice pairs great with our Mood Magnesium powder for a delicious sleepy time mocktail!
- Foods with magnesium: Dark chocolate, flax seeds, lima beans and leafy greens.
- Vitamin D: Salmon, mackerel, oysters, and egg yolks
- Omega-3 fatty acids: pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, olive oil and Mood Omegas
Our Mood Biotics and Mood Chews, part of the Best Sleep Ever bundle, also support the production of serotonin.
5. Your bedroom is telling your body to stay awake
In order to fall asleep, we need to feel safe at a nervous system level. Certain cues in our environment can tell our body that it’s time to be alert and active, triggering our sympathetic responses (fight or flight), rather than parasympathetic (calm and restful). Here are a few of those cues:
This one seems pretty obvious, but a lot of people still fall asleep with the TV on and leave it on! Even if you’re “sleeping”, your body is not fully dropping into that deep REM sleep because of the noise, keeping your nervous system on alert. Things like street noise and noisy neighbors/roommates obviously impacts us as well.
Blue light from screens and sleep just don’t mix. Blue light sources emit wavelengths with similar effects as sunlight, which signals our brain to keep producing cortisol rather than producing melatonin. Try turning off electronics at least 90 hours before bed or wear blue light blocker glasses. Turn off any fluorescent lights and replace them with red light or dimmed light.
Sneaky sources of light:
Did you know that even if you close your eyes and it feels dark to you, your skin can actually sense light? So even if there is some light coming through your window from the street light, or there are power lights from electronics such as the wifi router or electronic clock, your body is still sensing that. Work towards creating total darkness in your bedroom by getting darker curtains to block street light, and turn off (unplug) any electronics.
When the sun sets, your body releases hormones that cause your core body temperature to drop. This temperature drop is a main way our bodies transition into sleep. Hot environments can therefore disrupt sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, the ideal temperature for sleep is between 60 to 67 degrees F.
To summarize, if you want to get better sleep without having to rely on melatonin supplements, you’ll want to implement consistent sleep and wake times, give your body natural sleep aids like magnesium, probiotics, and amino acids, create a bedtime ritual, and set up your environment so that it is conducive to sleep.
We know this sounds like a lot, so have compassion for yourself! You don’t have to get it all down at once. Try implementing one thing, one night at a time. Sweet dreams!