Do you find it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep? Getting good sleep is so important for overall health. When we're asleep, our bodies are busy doing lots of things. This is the time the body is repairing and detoxing. Every tissue in the body is renewed faster during sleep than at any other time. So, it makes sense that good sleep is something we need to get more of.
Have you noticed how many sleep clinics there are these days? Is there something going on with people's sleep patterns?
Several of my clients have difficulty falling and staying asleep. One of them (well, he's not actually a client -- he's my husband!) is the reason I began researching the importance of sleep on good health as well as the detriments of not getting enough sleep. What I have found is that we could be doing things better to promote a good night's sleep.
Here are a few of the things you might want to consider to help insure quality sleep:
- Make sure the room you sleep in is dark. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland (located in the brain) and is responsible for helping us to fall asleep and stay asleep. It is secreted into the bloodstream and is highest at night. So, if there is any light coming through your windows, buy "black-out" shades. We actually put them over our window treatment! If this is not an option, wear an eye mask. Make sure you try it on first to make sure it's comfortable.
- Relax before bed. If something is bothering you, think about ways to relieve the stress before you get into bed. Cortisol is the hormone produced by the adrenal glands and is definitely beneficial when we need it -- which is not at night! Cortisol is produced in response to stress. Cortisol levels should be lowest at night so we are able to enjoy better sleep.
- Keep the lights dim. Studies show that exposure to dim light before bed has much less impact on melatonin levels than regular room light, which can shorten melatonin secretion by 90 minutes in 99% of people (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism).
- Reduce the amount of electromagnetic radiation in your bedroom. Think about TV, clock, radio, etc. Remember the old fashioned battery operated clock? Do you really need another TV in the bedroom? Keep your cell phone in another room. If you want your electronic devices in your bedroom, try unplugging them at night. It just might help you to sleep a little better.
- Soak in a hot tub. Combine 1/2 cup Epsom salts with a few drops of Time To Relax essential oil blend in hot water and soak for 20 minutes. Everything feels calmer when you step out of the tub.
And, of course, exercise and eating nutrient-dense foods play a major role in getting a good night's sleep.