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Sleep

The Importance of Sleep

The amount of sleep each person needs varies by person. Most adults need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night. Newborns sleep between 16 and 18 hours per day. Pre-school children sleep between 10 and 12 hours each day. School aged children and teenagers need at least 9 hours of sleep per night.

In humans, the metabolic activity of the brain decreases significantly after 24 hours with no sleep. Sleep deprivation results in a decrease in body temperature, a decrease in immune system function, and a decrease in the release of growth hormones. Sleep deprivation can also cause increased heart rate variability.

Animal studies have shown that sleep is necessary for survival. Sleep deprived rats live for only about 3 weeks while their normal life span is 2-3 years. They also develop abnormally low body temperatures and sores on their tails and paws. The sores probably relate to weakened immune systems.

Sleep is necessary for our nervous systems to work properly. Lack of sleep makes a person drowsy and unable to concentrate. It leads to impairment of memory, physical performance, and reduced ability to carry out mathematical calculations. Long term sleep deprivation may lead to hallucinations and mood swings.

Release of growth hormones in children and young adults takes place during deep sleep. Most cells of the body show increased production and reduced breakdown of proteins during deep sleep. Sleep helps humans maintain optimal emotional and social functioning while awake by giving rest during sleep to the parts of the brain that control emotions and social interactions.

Sleeping Problems

We instinctively know the importance of a good night’s sleep. Our sleep patterns are effected by something known as circadian rhythms. Today’s fast paced lifestyle can interfere with our circadian rhythms causing sleep interruptions and the inevitable fatigue we feel the next day.

There are numerous daily influences that can disrupt our sleep patterns and cause us to have difficulty either falling asleep or staying asleep.

  • Emotional stress
  • Poor diet and erratic schedules
  • Lack of routine physical activity
  • Stress and anxiety about work, children, social pressures, financial burdens and uncertainty

           
Many substances can disrupt a sound night’s sleep as well.
Try to Avoid:

  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Caffeine
  • Eating large meals late at night

Adopt a routine that is conducive to winding down in the evening
Avoid the following:     

  • Reading emails before bedtime
  • Watching action movies right before sleep
  • Exercising too soon before bedtime
  • Argumentative conversations particularly in the evening.
  • Overeating at dinner
  • Watching TV in the bedroom

Tips For Better Sleep

We instinctively know the importance of a good night’s sleep. Our sleep patterns are effected by something known as circadian rhythms. Today’s fast paced lifestyle can interfere with our circadian rhythms causing sleep interruptions and the inevitable fatigue we feel the next day.

Take a moment before going to sleep to contemplate 3 POSITIVE things to be thankful for that occurred today. Positive thinking eases personal tension and stress allowing for a better night's sleep.

If possible, adopt a daily exercise routine to burn off anxiety, but not too close to bedtime. Regular exercise can result in fewer sleepless nights. Exercising in the morning or afternoon for at least 30 minutes 3-4 times per week will give you more energy during wakeful hours and allow you to sleep more soundly.

Limit alcohol consumption to no more than one drink per day. Drinking alcohol before going to sleep may give you the desired sedative effect putting you to sleep, but it will disrupt the second half of your sleep cycle. This disruption can make you wake up before you want to and weaken your sleep's value causing you to be less alert during wakeful hours of the day.

Quit smoking. Recent studies find that smoking before bed can cause you to sleep less soundly. Additionally, quitting smoking promotes overall health and improves your ability to exercise daily, as recommended above.
 
Give yourself at least one hour before bedtime to relax and wind down.

 
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product
is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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