All-day energy, sharp focus, steady moods… There are lots of wonderful payoffs to a good night’s sleep. And there are impressive health benefits too!
According to Cornell University researchers, getting seven to eight hours of shut-eye nightly activates genes that tighten blood-sugar control, cutting your risk of type 2 diabetes by 50 percent — often in 72 hours! Here’s how to get the Zzzs you need:
Sip an evening brew.
If your brain is busy at bedtime, enjoying an evening beer (regular or nonalcoholic) could help you drift off 50 percent faster, plus sleep 27 percent more soundly, Spanish researchers say. Thanks goes to hops, beer compounds that heighten your brain’s production of a relaxing, anxiety-ending brain chemical (GABA).
Bonus: Hops heighten insulin sensitivity in muscle and brain cells, cutting diabetes risk by up to 30 percent if you enjoy 12 oz. daily.
Wish upon a star.
To heighten blood-sugar control by as much as 45 percent, step outside to admire the stars for 10 minutes before bed. Researchers at the University of Texas say a blast of fresh air followed by snuggling under covers stimulates production of melatonin and serotonin, hormones that deepen sleep and help cells use blood sugar for fuel.
Massage with magnesium.
Rub your neck and shoulders with a magnesium-rich lotion, and you could fall asleep twice as fast, plus cut risk of restless sleep by 60 percent, British researchers say. The reason? Stimulating nerves in your neck prompts sleep-inducing theta brain waves, while magnesium relaxes muscles. One to try: Ancient Minerals Magnesium Lotion (Ancient-Minerals.com).
Slip on an eye mask.
Wearing a mask so that sunrises don’t wake you could cut your risk of type 2 diabetes 33 percent, say researchers. When you’re well-rested, you produce far fewer stress hormones, which hinder your body’s ability to use insulin properly.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.