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Sleep Secrets

SLEEP: The Most Regenerative Part of Your Day

By: Karl Zarse, MD

If I said to you there is a segment in the day where the majority of repair and regeneration occurs, would you agree that we should devote some effort to that part of the day? It makes sense, but very few people view sleep as something to prepare for and maximize. If you are someone who agrees and wants to get better sleep, read on.

There are a variety of physiological things happening, but think of it as maximum repair and clean up. The immune system is scavenging dysplastic cells and modulating inflammation, the brain is releasing growth hormone and mediators of testosterone, estrogen and progesterone. Metabolically it’s a high demand session of the day- here are some tips and ways I maximize sleep each day.

I take my second dose of vitamins each day in the early evening, with an emphasis on melatonin and magnesium. Both exert a calming effect and are critical during sleep.

I then spend 30-minutes on deliberate pre- sleep activities:

  1. Shut off all devices. No more mental input from the world
  2. Hot shower or hot tub. The warm ritual will settle your mind and loosen muscles. I also do some very gentle stretching. Nothing to get my heart rate up, just a soft and smooth set of movements to loosen up a bit before bed.
  3. 10-minutes of reflecting on one positive aspect of the day and really focus on mentally preparing your mindset for the next 8 hours. It may sound hokey, but you are taking advantage of the neuroplastic aspects of the brain and by teeing it up every night, you will absolutely notice a difference in the quality of your sleep.

We’ll add more and build upon this later, but let’s first make it so simple that you are primed for success and can easily add this to your daily routine. You will feel better and be much healthier in the long run.

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