Sleep has amazing benefits to our body, our brains, and our bones. It can help you live longer, enhance your memory, ward off disease and protect against bone loss.

According to the research:

  • Sleep disruption can alter bone metabolism and decrease bone formation leading to bone loss and bone fractures

  • People with sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, have an increased risk of osteoporosis

  • Postmenopausal women who sleep less than 5 hours a night have a high risk of osteoporosis

There is no doubt that for our bones to be healthy they need sleep!

When we are fast asleep at night, our bones are busy repairing and rebuilding themselves. Our special bone cells called osteocytes are hard at work regulating the body’s calcium levels, repairing microscopic cracks in the bones, and orchestrating the bone remodeling process. If we aren’t getting good quality sleep at night, none of these processes can happen.

I know as we get older, as our hormones change, it can tougher and tougher to get a full night’s sleep. But there are a couple of things you can do to encourage slumber.

10 sleep strategies to help you get a good night’s sleep:

1. Get morning sunshine in your eyes. The morning light helps to set your daily circadian rhythm or that internal clock that regulates our sleep-wake cycle.

2. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule 7 days a week. Going to bed and waking at the same time every day helps to solidify your sleep-wake cycle. Staying up late to finish a work project and then trying to make up for lost sleep on weekends will only further disrupt your body’s natural clock.

3. Limit evening tech time. Turn off all electronics 2 hours before bedtime. The blue light emitted from your computers, pads, and phones is very similar to the sun’s rays and can confuse your brain into thinking it is still daytime.

4. Establish a bedtime ritual. Having an evening ritual of taking a warm bath, reading a book, meditation, prayer, a warm cup of tea can help you wind down and single to the body and brain that it is time for sleep.

5. Keep your bedroom as dark as possible. Cover sources of light that you can’t turn off or consider wearing a nighttime eye mask to block out the light.

6. Keep your bedroom cool. Sleep usually begins when our body temperature drops, so a colder room can encourage us to fall asleep faster.

7. Beware of electromagnetic frequencies. Keep your phone and electronic devices away from your body at night, or in airplane mode. This includes the use of sleep-tracking devices like Fitbit.

8. Be conscious about what you are eating and drinking in the hours before bedtime. Caffeine and alcohol can have negative effects on sleep. Although alcohol makes you feel sleepy because it is a sedative, it does not induce a night of natural, restorative sleep. So it can lead to waking up more frequently at night and interfering with your normal sleep cycles.

9. Don’t nap too late in the day or for too long. 20-30 minutes is the ideal length for a power nap.

10. Reserve your bedroom for 2 things…..sex and sleep!

Many wonderful natural sleep remedies can help promote a good night’s sleep. Herbal teas with valerian root, chamomile, lavender, and lemon balm are a good place to start since they can help calm your system and encourage sleep. The other popular sleep remedy is melatonin, which in some studies has been shown to help with sleep and bone density.

If you are struggling to sleep, reach out and let me help you determine what sleep remedy might best suit you.

Sleep is really too important to your health, your bones, your body, and your brain to be neglected!

 

 

References:

  1. MediLexicon International. (n.d.). Short sleep may harm bone health in older women. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327076.
  2. Preidt, R. (2014, April 15). Sleep Apnea May Be Linked to Poor Bone Health. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-apnea/news/20140415/sleep-apnea-may-be-linked-to-poor-bone-health#:~:text=Over%20six%20years%20of%20follow,apnea%2C%20according%20to%20the%20study.
  3. Swanson, C. M., Kohrt, W. M., Buxton, O. M., Everson, C. A., Wright, K. P., Orwoll, E. S., & Shea, S. A. (2018, July). The importance of the circadian system & sleep for bone health. Metabolism: clinical and experimental. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5994176/.
  4. Xu, X., Wang, L., Chen, L., Su, T., Zhang, Y., Wang, T., Ma, W., Yang, F., Zhai, W., Xie, Y., Li, D., Chen, Q., Fu, X., Ma, Y., & Zhang, Y. (2016, August 2). Effects of chronic sleep deprivation on bone mass and bone metabolism in rats. Journal of orthopaedic surgery and research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4970273/.

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8 Lifestyle Changes for Better Bone Health

by Susan Brady

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