Inadequate sleep is now associated with heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, among other chronic diseases. Recent investigations have helped prove that eight hours a night is optimum for cellular rejuvenation, and yet, according to one study, 71 percent of Americans get less than that—and are sleep deprived. Much of our sleep debt has been run up by choice—people just don’t want to turn out the lights. But insomnia is also on the rise. One study put the national price tag of treating it at $14 billion.
- Good Bedding
- Light Therapy
- Dark Therapy
- Behavioral Therapy
It’s the master hormone for regulation of the sleep cycle. Melatonin levels in the body rise just before you fall asleep and decline through the night, hitting a low point about two hours before you wake. (Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant that enhances the reparative function of sleep.) Studies show that ingesting the hormone as a supplement can help reset the body clock, which is why it’s used to alleviate jet lag. Melatonin can also gradually help insomniacs feel sleepy at an earlier hour: Take 1 to 3 milligrams two to three hours before the desired sleep time. Remember: While melatonin can help normalize sleep patterns, it is not a sleeping pill.
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