I WANT TO LIVE A HEALTHY AND PAIN FREE LIFE, NOW!
March 14, 2021
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Sleep affects everything we do and everything our body does to protect and heal us.
Sleep affects our risk for cancer, chronic illness and our immunity. When we can’t sleep our bodies cannot grow and repair and this can lead to illness and even death.
We take sleep for granted until we’re unable to sleep. About ⅔ of all adults in developed nations are having trouble sleeping and most of them are reaching for pharmaceuticals to be able to sleep. Unfortunately, this is not the answer because the root cause of your sleep disturbance is not addressed.
Everyone is different and your root cause for not being able to sleep may be related to anxiety, diet, environment, medications or any myriad of factors.
The following are sleep strategies that may help you find the reason WHY you can’t sleep and they may help you find a solution to your sleep disturbance.
Make your bedroom a sanctuary: Make the bedroom the special place for sleep, snuggles and activities conducive to sleep. No TV, gaming or other activities that would decrease sleep. Make sure your bedroom is cool so you don’t have to wake up trying to adjust your temperature in the middle of the night.
Plan a sleep schedule and stick with it: Go to bed and wake at the same time, even on weekends. Set an alarm for bedtime and develop a soothing nightly ritual that helps calm you down.
Exercise earlier in the day: Keep exercise to no later than 2-3 hrs. before bedtime, as it may keep you from sleeping well at night.
Avoid caffeine and nicotine: Caffeine is found in coffee and other drinks, as well as in teas and chocolate. Its half-life is seven hours, meaning that half of the caffeine you ingested is in your brain seven hours later. This is affecting your adenosine receptors, which are in charge of giving you sleep pressure and your sleep. Nicotine is a stimulant and its withdrawal keeps you from sleeping soundly.
Avoid alcohol before bed: Alcohol may make you relax at first, but it will give you interrupted sleep, keeping you from going into the deep REM sleep. Once the effect of alcohol is gone it wakes you in the middle of the night.
Avoid large meals before bed: The liver has to work hard to process heavy meals and fats at night. Indigestion will keep you up at night.
Check medicines for ingredients that may interfere with sleep: Check with your healthcare provider or your pharmacist to find out if your medications are interfering with your sleep.
Don’t nap after 3:00 pm: Sleeping after 3:00 pm interferes with sleep at night.
Make your bedroom pitch black: make the bedroom as dark as possible (if blackout shades are not an option, try using a sleep mask!). Turn off all lights, including blinking alarm clocks and any other unnecessary lights that are telling your brain it’s daylight.
Get sunlight exposure: If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, be sure to go outside in the morning light at least 30 minutes per day, to re-set your circadian rhythm. Follow the sun when it comes to sleep. Turn down the lights at night and allow your sleep to come naturally.
Catch the wave! This is what we call it when you follow the natural circadian rhythm, going to sleep by 10:00 or 10:30pm while cortisol levels are naturally decreasing, and melatonin is at its highest.
Calm down — come down from the high intensity of the day and get the body into proper relaxation mode by reading, listening to music or meditating.
And the #1 way to avoid insomnia is to keep your blood sugar balanced! If you’re eating a lot of carbs before bedtime you may be waking in the middle of the night with low blood sugar, which triggers a cortisol surge which wakes you and gets you wired up! Try eating a tablespoon of no sugar peanut or almond butter before bedtime so you can sleep better tonight!
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