No one knows why we sleep. But we know, we need it!
Sleep is a holiday for the body, a time when every system has a chance to relax and repair itself. Think about how much time we spend scrutinizing what we do during the day. Now think about how often do you give your overnight recharge that same attention. I’d be willing to assume you spend a fraction of the time thinking about your rest and sleep. We need about 7 to 8 hours every night. If we do not get enough quality sleep, it will have an effect on your body-mind-spirit and soul. It can lower the immune system, cause sickness, affect the mood, slower reaction time, increase weight/obesity, affect longevity, impair creativity, affect metabolic body process, and the ability to remember or learn well.
Of course, what you do with your body and brain throughout the day influences how well your body and brain sleep at night. If you put a lot of junk food, stress, and junk thoughts into your body during the day, don’t expect the resulting neurochemicals to become nicer at night. And this only leads to a vicious cycle: day junk means less quality sleep, which means more day junk and even less quality sleep. Inadequate sleep amps up the inflammatory system and causes you to store excess body fat, both of which increase your chances of getting sick and sleeping less. Not good!
Sleep is very important, and it is very critical to get enough sleep!
Stress also contributes to unhealthy sleeping patterns or sleep issues. Check out my blog on “What every person ought to know about living a stress-free life“.
You may have heard that the older you get, the less you sleep. While this is often true, it’s not optimal. We are naturally programmed to enjoy the physiologic ideal of sleeping seven to eight hours. Studies show that there is decreased blood flow to the brain of people who get less than six hours of sleep a night. Chronic sleep deprivation leads to many health problems.
To get started, try incorporating these things into your day to ensure more quality sleep
*Get exercise during the day.
*Don’t dine after nine.
*Reduce caffeine and alcohol. Even better, do not drink caffeine after noon or after 6 pm.
*Enjoy an earlier, consistent bedtime.
*Remove stressful thoughts before going to bed.
*Make the bedroom quiet, dark, cool, and airy.
*Deep breathing and relaxation-it calm the mind.
*Do something quietly before bedtime.
*No alcohol! It disturbs the normal sleep cycle.
*Take a hot/warm Epsom salt bath with medicinal grade essential oils before bedtime.
*Turn off devices 30 minutes before bedtime.
*Schedule a regular and same bedtime.
*Write down worries; write them down and let them go!
*Do not lay in bed if you cannot sleep. Get up and do something quiet (no computer or i-phone/i-pad, as it is blue light that keeps you awake); we say the bed is for sleep!
Quick Tips for more Quality Sleep
Did you know that certain foods can also play a role in the quality of your sleep? Have you heard of Snooze Foods? Snooze foods are sleep-inducing foods that are rich in tryptophan and healthy carbs. For a restful night’s sleep, shoot for an early evening meal and before-bed snack that contains roughly 300 mg of tryptophan.
All the food we eat has an effect on our health in some form. The brain is highly affected, for better or for worse, by nutrition. Some foods help boost your brain activity and energy level, while others help you get a restful night’s sleep.
Tryptophan is the amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that slows down nerve traffic, so your brain isn’t so busy. Tryptophan is also used by your body to make melatonin, which helps you sleep restfully.
At the end of the day, focus on eating foods with high levels of tryptophan and healthy carbs because they will help calm your brain, rather than make it more active. These foods are also referred to as “snooze foods.” For a restful night’s sleep, shoot for an early evening meal and a before-bed snack comprised of snooze foods.
Here is a list of some snooze foods to store in your kitchen for when you need to wind down at night:
- Whole Grains
- Sesame Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
Lighter meals at night are more likely to give you a restful night’s sleep. High-fat meals and large servings prolong the work your digestive system needs to do, and all the gas production and rumblings may keep you awake! It is best to eat your evening meal early and have a small before-bed snack if needed.
A last quick tip on how to make your bedroom sleep-friendly
Have you heard about therapeutic grade essential oils? Medicinal grade essential oils are lovely and support your quality sleep. You can use a diffuser 30 minutes before bedtime and set the tone for restful sleep with 100% pure, highly potent oils. Lavender, Cedarwood, Serenity, Wild Orange, Juniper Berry…. to name a few oils that significantly support your sleep. And the beauty of these oils is they smell so good! Contact me if you want to have a free consultation about using medicinal grade essential oils to support your health and well-being.
If you need help with finding ways to support a healthy, restful, and quality sleep, and to change your way of dealing with stress, feel free to contact me! In addition to naturopathy, yoga & meditation and functional nutrition counseling, I also offer various coaching programs. I can help you to free your life from stress and get more quality sleep.