Dr. Maia Love, MD
"I sincerely hope that you enjoyed the webinar on sleep. I like the quote: "A ruffled mind makes a ruffled pillow" from Charlotte Bronte, and hope this might inspire you to take care of your mind, and your sleep, for greater well being. Below are some key tips from my contribution to this webinar. Please note that the information below is for your wellness only, is provided from my capacity as a wellness consultant, and is not for treatment, and does not replace advice from a medical professional."
Wishing you the best, always - Dr. Maia Love
The 3 key learning objectives from Dr. Love's 15 minute presentation (slide available here):
1) The science of how deep sleep supports your brain to be healthier.
- When you have a deeper sleep in the first third of the night, you allow time and space for little brain cells called astrocytes to clean the brain. This process has been linked scientifically to prevention of dementia.
- In the early part of the evening when sleeping, blood flow to the brain decreases substantially, and this allows for the beautiful clear cerebrospinal fluid to pool in two little "lakes" in the centre of the brain. These little "lakes" are called the third and fourth ventricles, and scientific researchers believe that this process may allow for a further cleaning of the brain.
- We now know that deep sleep also supports your learning and memory consolidation in the evening. You can improve deep sleep through several techniques - one of these is by heating the body through a reasonably hot shower or bath, or a sauna, in the early evening.
- To expand your understanding of sleep, sign up for one of our wellness workshops on sleep, entitled Sleep for Success, or or take the online self directed mini-course Sleep for Success Mini-Course.
2) Learn how the scientific benefits of specific mindfulness practices can increase sleep.
- Mindfulness done in a specific and structured way can help to activate your relaxing part of your system. One way to "turn on" this relaxation system is by doing diaphragmatic breathing, which causes your vagus nerve to relax your nervous system.
- Mindfulness has been shown to help reduce something called "cognitive arousal dysregulation". By settling the mind through the use of mindfulness, you can ease into a more restful sleep and have less thoughts running through your head as you try to fall asleep.
- Mindfulness using a technique called yoga Nidra is being shown to improve sleep, even in people suffering with a disorder like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. You might try yoga Nidra from a variety of resources, including the resources available at irest.org.
- To develop a practice of mindfulness and relaxation techniques that you enjoy, sign up for one of our wellness workshops for mindfulness, entitled Master Stress.
3) Review how changing sleep habits can improve your memory, mood, and concentration and reduce anxiety.
- The brain likes consistency and regularity. By choosing to have a specific set of things that you do, in a specific order before you go to sleep, you can teach the brain to fall asleep with more ease when you are in bed, and in this way improve sleep for better concentration the next day.
- Following a circadian rhythm causes pacing of neurochemicals and neurohormones in the body, which leads to a more stable mood. By keeping a specific circadian rhythm, ideally by falling asleep before 11 pm at night, you can be more resilient to stress, and this may help to reduce anxiety.
- Alcohol significantly disrupts deep sleep. By avoiding alcohol, you can support a deeper sleep and thus better mood and less anxiety the next day.