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Did you know that your brain actually beats like your heart? It has more blood supply pound for pound than other part of your body, and how you use it during sleep affects so many health issues.

Scientific research shows that cellular cleansing, or detoxification is only possible in the deepest stages of sleep stage 3 and 4. The strongest factors that influence the occurrence and timing of these two sleep stages are nutritional and lifestyle choices.

So set yourself up for a great sleep from tonight, and improve how you sleep.

Here are my top tips:

Breathe all night long with your mouth closed

When our mouth is open we are more likely to unintentionally hyperventilate. Our breathing volume should actually decrease while we sleep. However, if the lips are open, air will flow in and out through the mouth as well as the nose. The result is a likely reduction in blood carbon dioxide levels, which leads to a reduction in oxygenation of your brain (and every other cell in your body). This is due to the Bohr Effect – meaning haemoglobin holds on too tightly to oxygen, instead of efficiently releasing it to the cells.

Check out this image to see what happens to your brain after just 1 minute of hyperventilation. Low brain oxygen like this has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

During hyperventilation, such as in excessive mouth breathing, the brain is poorly oxygenated as demonstrated by this MRI brain scan.

Keeping your lips closed at night limits the likelihood that you will unconsciously hyperventilate.

Snoring is a form of hyperventilation.

So use a sleepYstrip® Exclusive Nasal Breathing device.

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Don’t eat or drink before bed

Our bodies can either be in a catabolic or anabolic state. The body cannot effectively cleanse (digest) and regenerate (sleep) at the same time.

Research shows that brain cells may shrink to 60% of their size during the night, in order to facilitate better flow of intracellular fluid between them, thereby optimising nightly detoxification of the brain.

If you have that late night snack, or meal, the brain cannot enter a catabolic state to regenerate and detoxify. The cells of the digestive tract will take priority over “brain cell shrinkage,” so intracellular fluid movement will be restricted because you ate that snack.

Enable “Autophagy” by intermittently fasting – even if it’s just for half a day.

A process called “autophagy” or “automatic phagocytosis” happens about 10 hours after digestion has ended. This is like Spring Cleaning of the body. In a typical modern lifestyle this hardly ever happens as we eat too often. However if we don’t eat close to bed time, and introduce a low carb / high (good) fat lifestyle you will find it easier to occasionally fast.

It is eating high carb foods which makes your body constantly hungry. Eat plenty of good fats such as grass fed meats, oily fish, avocado, and coconut and you will be more able to intermittently fast. Don’t worry, your body will not be depleted of carbohydrates because it can produce glucose itself. Essentially high fat, low carb lifestyles lead to feeling fuller for longer.

Say no to excess cortisol – and lose weight the easy way

Excess weight can impact your ability to sleep well, as can chronic stress.

Cortisol is your chronic stress hormone, and it triggers high levels of insulin. Unfortunately for those struggling to lose weight, insulin inhibits fat breakdown. So to lose fat, you need to take time out to relax and reduce your cortisol levels. Take at least 10 minutes every day to smell the roses.

Practice sitting quietly with your eyes closed, breathing gently in and out through your nose. Perhaps even try meditating. So many of us do not take just a little bit of time for ourselves each day.

Do this every day and then thank yourself for doing it. Your dedication should be applauded.