Are you getting enough sleep?

Do you toss and turn for hours every night before you finally fall asleep? Do you wake exhausted even though you have had plenty of sleep? It is essential to get enough sleep to maintain healthy mood, concentration and energy to perform our daily tasks. Lack of sleep can lead to not only fatigue and brain fog, but also food cravings, weight gain and inflammation.

  • Most people need 8 hours sleep per night to rest, restore and recover both mentally and physically. It is not only the physical body repairing and detoxifying at night but the brain is also improving its connections and removing those that are no longer needed. This means it is important to be be in bed before 10pm. If you stay up later than that you may not be getting adequate time for the body to rest and restore.

  • Your body goes through 90 minute sleep cycles and four different sleep cycles through the night, and having a regular bedtime helps keep this healthy sleep cycle. Parents always have a sleep routine for babies and this should be no different for adults. Turn the bright lights down after dinner, have some quiet time before bed reading or listening to a meditation. Go to bed at the same time each night in your bed, not on the couch, and wake at the same time each day.

  • Exercise is important to help control stress levels, blood sugars and improve general health, but is also important to help sleep. If you exercise later in the evening though you may find this is too stimulating and have trouble falling asleep. You may be better keeping stimulating exercise for the mornings and do exercise like yoga, walking and pilates in the evenings.

  • Look for any medical reasons you could be causing problems associated with sleep. Many people suffer from sleep apnoea, diabetes, blood pressure issues, thyroid conditions, mineral and vitamin deficiencies, chronic pain problems, hormonal issues or even reactions to medications and this may need to be treated or dealt with first before good sleep can occur.

  • Make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary. Keeping the room cool, having dark curtains or blinds to keep light out and removing all electrical devices including televisions and computers from the room. Even on standby the television and computer can affect sleep quality. Some people can be sensitive to electromagnetic radiation and by turning phones off or to aeroplane mode, WI-FI routers turned off and not sleeping with the bed head behind the homes electrical box can improve sleep.

  • Avoid stimulants and other foods or beverages that may lead to poor sleep quality. These include caffeine, alcohol, MSG and artificial sweeteners. Caffeine can stay in the system for many hours so it is best to not consume caffeine after lunchtime if you have trouble sleeping. Alcohol may help you fall asleep but the quality of deep sleep is greatly reduced so its not only a hangover that leaves you fatigued the next day but the lack of good quality deep sleep.

  • If you are not able to use lifestyle techniques to get adequate sleep you can look into using nutrients and herbs to help decrease the time it takes to fall asleep, help to prevent waking during the night and improve the quality of sleep. Essential oils such as lavender and cedarwood, herbs such as zizyphus, passionflower, sour cherry and lemon balm or minerals such as magnesium and potassium.

In Health and Happiness

Kirsty

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