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Oh, summertime; the days are longer, the nights are warmer and sleep can unfortunately become a rare commodity.
Why does summer seem to be the worst season to get a good night’s sleep?
While everyone is unique, the longer, hotter days may have a lot to do with it…
Humans are creatures of schedule with every aspect of our existence influenced by natural rhythms and cycles. Circadian rhythms are our biological response to the oscillations of the natural world, the 24-hour solar cycle, and these natural rhythms can have a profound impact on our bodies and overall health.
Ignoring circadian rhythms can interfere with melatonin production, a hormone that is governed by the cycles of light and dark, controlling our sleep patterns and other important metabolic functions. On top of that, melatonin is a powerful antioxidant, and we need sufficient darkness for our pineal glands to produce it.
Circadian rhythms also affect the hormone cortisol, which is activated in response to stress. Cortisol is produced early in the morning to help us wake up. So you can see how disrupting the natural rhythms governed by light and darkness can be affected by our sleeping habits.
What to do
Obviously, we can’t turn off the solar cycle. When summer comes, days get longer (especially the farther North you live) and we tend to stay awake later. But by understanding the powerful impact these external changes have on our bodies, we can take steps to harmonize ourselves with nature’s rhythms and hopefully get a good night’s sleep.
While there are many pharmaceutical solutions available, they come with a long list of side effects, and can be habit forming. These sleep aids aren’t designed to be gentle, but rather to put you out like a light. However, these powerful drugs can extinguish other critical health functions in the process.
Healthy relaxation solutions
Many health practitioners are now recommending honokiol, an extract from magnolia bark that has long been used in Eastern herbal traditions. Honokiol is earning a reputation among health professionals for its many benefits, including healthy relaxation and a good night’s sleep.
Honokiol performs many useful tasks in our bodies. It provides excellent support against abnormal cells, and as a result offers protection for numerous areas of health. In addition, honokiol is a powerful antioxidant, demonstrating free radical scavenging abilities that are a thousand times more powerful than vitamin E. It also promotes immune health and healthy responses to inflammation. But most importantly for this discussion, honokiol provides a natural calming effect that supports a healthy mood and can aid the transition to sleep.
For best results…
Like most biological processes, sleep is complex. So for best results, it’s important to take a holistic approach. Start with your diet and eat healthfully. Engage in regular exercise. And finally, minimize light exposure, both natural and artificial for a few hours before bed. Dark curtains which block out light are helpful. Turn off electronics.
Having a hard time sleeping can be very unpleasant and affect numerous areas of life. But prescription pharmaceuticals for sleep often do more harm than good. Alternately, regular exercise, healthy diet and supplementation with natural solutions such as honokiol, can help you regain your innate sense of calm and ease you into a good night’s sleep.