Sleep. It's something we all want and crave more of, but we just aren't getting enough of it. Whether it's a racing mind, a crying newborn, last-minute project, work deadlines, or you're up laughing with friends, we are not getting enough sleep. Many of us tend to medicate with alcohol, melatonin supplements, Tylenol PM (when we're not sick), or lavender essential oil. Be aware, there are side effects with alcohol and Tylenol PM that can do more harm than good when used long-term or in larger quantities.
Now, even though we are highly aware that we want more sleep, we should note we also really want good, quality sleep! The quality of sleep is just as important as the amount of sleep for one reason: it's vital for good health. Your body goes into "healing mode" when it hits REM. If you're not getting the proper sleep, your body is not physically able to heal the damage from life each day.
So, let's break down a few health issues that result from sleep deprivation...
- increased hunger hormone (grhelin) which increases food cravings
- increased stress hormone (cortisol) which leads to weight gain, diabetes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, depression, osteoporosis, decreased immune system
- causes increased blood pressure in people with hypertension, which could lead to cardiovascular disease and/or stroke
Learning and practicing how to improve your sleep is not an option - it's a necessity!
How do I get better sleep??
Follow these 7 tips, and I promise you'll start to feel more refreshed than you thought was possible after consecutive nights of better sleep!
1. Adopt regular sleep patterns by going to bed and waking up around the same time each day.
2. Create total quiet and darkness in your bedroom (no falling asleep to the TV).
3. Avoid/reduce intake of caffeine after noon as it dramatically affects sleep.
4. Get regular daylight exposure (at least 20 minutes a day) because sunlight triggers the brain to release melatonin (vital for healthy sleep).
5. Eat no later than 2 hours before bedtime. Eating a heavy meal before bed disrupts your body's natural overnight detox process.
6. Write down your worried/anxious thoughts before bed, so you can free up your mind to go into a deep, restful state.
7. Take a hot shower or an epsom salt/aromatherapy bath. Raising the body temperature before bed helps induce sleep. Another way to increase your body temperature (without the sweat factor) and help shut down the chatter in your brain is to do a short Bedtime Yoga session. I love doing this sequence from Yoga With Adriene - it works every time!
In my coaching practice, I help you implement these tips for better sleep and more, so that you can be in the healthiest, highest-functioning body possible! Feel free to reach out if you or someone you know could use my help.