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By Suja Juice

Why We Should All Get More Sleep

One of my new year's resolutions was to get more sleep. New year, new me! Sleep can no longer be something we just fit in; we must prioritize it. Why? While we’re resting, our body heals and repairs, our brain synthesizes new information, organizes it into various memories, and lets our body and brain get the rest it needs to have energy for our day to day. Sleep is critical to every human function. Without it, we feel, act, and look like zombies (let’s be honest - not good!). Studies repeatedly show that sleep loss can cause serious lasting problems with how we think and function. Brain research shows a significant relationship between getting enough sleep and improved memory and thinking. Even a tiny disruption in our sleep, like the neighbor being too loud, impacts our learning and memory. When we get enough sleep, we’re able to problem solve more effectively, bounce back from daily stress, help our bodies stay healthy, potentially live longer than we would have had we not been sleeping enough consistently - and enjoy life!

Current guidelines recommend seven to nine hours of sleep nightly. There are things we can do to promote deeper more restful sleep like turning off electronics at least an hour before bed to give our brain time to relax, lower any lights in the room to signal your body that it’s time soon for sleep, taking a warm bath to relax your muscles, drinking warm herbal tea and so on.

What you eat and drink can help too! How they connect to good sleep comes down to chemistry. Potassium and magnesium are natural muscle relaxants, and bananas, for example, deliver both. Bananas also have the amino acid L-tryptophan, which gets converted to 5-HTP in the brain, which is then changed into serotonin (a relaxing neurotransmitter) and melatonin. This key hormone helps control your sleep and wake cycles. We produce it naturally, but stress and other factors can sometimes get in the way. That’s why any help we can get from food is beneficial! (Suja banana options: Sweet Beets, Mango Magic, Green Delight). Other foods that can stimulate melatonin production are pineapples, almonds (or almond milk), and tart cherries. In fact, tart cherries are one of the few food sources of melatonin. Recent studies have found people who drank tart cherry juice daily fell asleep sooner, slept better and longer (Suja tart cherry option: Vibrant Probiotic). Researchers found that levels of a melatonin increased by more than 266% after eating pineapples! (Suja pineapple options: Fuel, Revive). Almond milk has calcium, which helps produce melatonin as well (Suja option: Twilight Protein).

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