Sleep is so important to health, but many of us just aren’t getting enough causing insomnia (difficulty in falling or staying asleep). The body needs 7-9 hours to repair and regenerate, getting less than 6 hours has been associated with health problems such as memory loss, depression, elevated blood pressure, poor concentration, headache, irritability, depressed immune function, low libido, and weight gain. For some people getting enough sleep is just as simple as getting to bed a bit earlier, but for others it can be an anxiety filled issue! Simple lifestyle changes can result in drastic changes in sleep quality. Try making the following simple changes to your daily routine to get back to sleep.
Avoid stimulants, especially caffeine-The ability to detoxify caffeine (150-225 mg of caffeine/day or 1-2 cups of coffee) from the body varies dramatically between individuals due to genetic differences in liver enzymes.
Invest in a proper mattress and pillow-If you are physically uncomfortable and your bed doesn’t adequately support your body, it will be hard to get a sound sleep.
Maintain a bedroom temperature that is slightly cool-The ideal temperature for your bedroom is 18°C. If the temperature of the bedroom is too high, this can induce nightmares in some people.
Establish a consistent bedtime-The body likes routine. When you establish a sleep and wake routine, the circadian rhythm of cortisol and melatonin release is consistent.
Exercise-Studies show that people who exercise throughout the day get better sleeps at night. Aim for at least 20 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise in the morning or early evening.
Dim the lights in your house an hour before bed-As it gets darker, melatonin (the sleep hormone) levels start to rise to make us sleepy. This process can be inhibited by bright lighting in your home.
Avoid napping-Naps during the day can impede your ability to fall asleep at night.
No screen time 30 minutes to 2 hours before bed-The blue light emitted by electronics suppresses melatonin production and negatively interfere with circadian rhythms more strongly than any other wavelength.
Do not eat or drink anything in the 2 hours before bed-It is important to give the body time to finish digesting food and to settle down.
Don’t sleep with your phone beside your bed-Firstly, the notifications, frequent buzzing or ringing will constantly stir you from sleep. Secondly, the frequencies emitted by the phones have the ability to interfere with the brain’s ability to get a restful sleep. Either keep your phone out of the bedroom or, at the very least, turn it onto airplane mode each night.
If you are doing all of the above and still can’t get a good sleep at night, there may be an underlying condition resulting in your inability to get some rest such as Hormone Imbalances, Cortisol, Progesterone, Thyroid Hormones, Melatonin, Depression & Anxiety, Medication Side Effects, Sleep Apnea, Restless Leg Syndrome & Nocturnal Myoclonus.
There are many ways Naturopathic Medicine can be used to get you sleeping better and waking refreshed. If you are having problems falling or staying asleep, please come and talk to me about it – getting that problem solved can be life changing.