Did You Khow that Lack of (Good) Sleep can lead to Cravings, Weight Gain, Anger, Bad Decisions and more? Sleep is a vital pillar of Health, Healing and Well-being. Adults need 7-9 hours good quality sleep per night. Discover tips & strategies for a deep, restorative sleep every night. Pick 1-2 you can try today!
- Create a regular sleep schedule (even
Your body’s circadian rhythm, responsible for the sleep/wake cycle is very sensitive and responds well to routine! So be strict with waking up and going to bed at the same time each day, even on weekends. It may take a few weeks to take effect but stick with it and your body will respond. Your adrenal system does the majority of its recharging between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m and your gallbladder dumps toxins during the same period. If you are awake, the toxins back up into your liver, which can disrupt your health.week-ends)
- Increase light exposure during the day
Sufficient light exposure during waking hours is crucial for the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep/wake cycle. Try to get at least 30 minutesin sunlight each day. If this isn’t possible, consider investing in a light therapy box. See: http://sleepfoundation.org/insomnia/content/light-therapy-insomnia-sufferers
- Create the optimum sleeping conditions
- Total darkness – Even the tiniest bit of light during sleep disrupts your internal clock and your pineal gland's production of melatonin and serotonin. Light signals your brain that it's time to wake up and starts preparing your body for ACTION. So cover up windows (blackout shades or drapes ideal) , display lights (eg clock radio), close your bedroom door, and use an eye mask if necessary. Refrain from turning on any light even when getting up to go to the bathroom.
- NO Sounds – cut out even the smallest sound that may disrupt your sleep (eg clock, dishwasher en route etc), and use ear plugs if necessary.
- Right Room Temperature - no higher than 21°C/70°F. When you sleep, your body's internal temperature drops to its lowest level, generally about four hours after you fall asleep. Scientists believe a cooler bedroom may therefore be most conducive to sleep, since it mimics your body's natural temperature drop.
- Move digital alarm clocks, wifi, any electrical devices/electro-magnetic fields (EMFs) as far away from your bed as possible (mobile phone on airplane mode or away!) - these can disrupt the pineal gland and the production of melatonin & serotonin.
- Avoid loud alarm clocks - it is very stressful on your body to be suddenly jolted awake. You could use a sun alarm clock: alarm combining the features of a traditional alarm clock with a special built-in light that gradually increases in intensity, simulating sunrise.
- Bedtime rituals
- Avoid bright lights an hour before bed – turn the lights down or use candles. This will help melatonin secretion to make you sleepy.
- Avoid mental stimulation – stop using your phone, laptop and other devices 1-2 hours before bed. Even watching TV hinders melatonin production, so try swapping to reading before bed.
- Reserve your bed for sleep and sex! Do not do work or do other activities in the bedroom so that you can create the right associations with bed and sleep, allowing your body to wind down.
- Wind down – most people cannot go straight from on to off! Give your body time to unwind from the day and gradually prepare itself for sleep by having minimum 30 minutes downtime to relax before going to bed.
- Don't drink 2 hours before bed (at least) and Go to the bathroom right before bed - this will reduce the need / frequency of getting up during the night.
- Exercise regularly
Minimum 30 mins exercise per day can improve your sleep. Studies show exercising in the morning is ideal where possible. Not too close to bedtime as it may keep you awake. The best pre-bed activities are gentle stretching or yoga.
- Eat & Drink right
- Eat well throughout the day keeping your blood sugar levels balanced – inconsistent meals during the day or calorie deprivation can keep you up at night. Avoid having a big meal within a few hours of going to sleep, but do not go to sleep hungry! Try to eat your evening meal 2-3 hours before bed and if you need a small evening snack then have proteins & some carbs (eg almonds/berries).
- Reduce or eliminate caffeine (coffee, regular/green/black/regular tea, chocolate) and stimulants (sugary foods, alcohol, red bull, other energy drinks) at least stopping by 12pm since caffeine can cause sleep problems for up to 12 hours after consumption! Be aware that some medications contain caffeine (eg diet pills).
- Alcohol will also keep you from entering the deeper stages of sleep, where your body does most of its healing.
- Eat a Protein-rich snack with a bit of carbs several hours before bed – Proteins will provide the L-tryptophan needed for the production of serotonin & melatonin and carbs will help tryptophan to cross your blood-brain barrier (tryptophan rich foods: Chia Seeds, avocado, beans, lentils, peas, turkey & most meat/eggs/Oily Fish, almonds & derivatives, Flaxseeds). A few co-factors are required for this conversion to happen Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Magnesium. Snack suggestion: Turkey/Avocado/Fresh Organic Raw Baby Spinach on oatcake + Turmeric Tea in almond milk.
- Meditation/Deep breathing
Try Meditation (different style for different people) and Deep breathing rituals to return the body to a state of relaxation.
On Youtube, search for: “Deep Sleep Meditation” such as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Msn-FkcodkI or “Sleep Easily Meditation”
or “So Hum Meditation” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_O1R9T0Uu4
or download Headspace App on https://www.headspace.com/
or Try Vedic Meditation and discover your unique mantra. I successfully tested the following one for a couple of clients: https://www.willwilliamsmeditation.co.uk/
- Before bed tips
- Magnesium flakes or Epsom salt baths– Have a warm bath with 1-2 cups (or as per instructions on the bag) and soak for 20 mins
- Use essential oils/sprays to calm the mind – try lavender, chamomile, or ylang-ylang. You could also apply 5/10 sprays of “Magnesium Oil Goodnight” from Better You at least 30mins before bed (test on a small area of your skin first, you may experience slight tingling sensation upon initial use which will disappear as your magnesium levels improve).
- Simple Yoga Stretches in Bed – not only relaxing for the mind and body but can regulate your sleep/wake cycle. Doing 15 minutes before bed each day will have huge benefits.
- Listen to soothing music - sound of white noise or nature sounds (ocean or forest). An excellent relaxation/meditation option is the Insight audio CD. Another favourite is the Sleep Harmony CD, using a combination of advanced vibrational technology and guided meditation to help you effortlessly fall into deep delta sleep within minutes. The CD works on the principle of "sleep wave entrainment" to assist your brain in gearing down for sleep.
- Avoid before-bed snacks, particularly grains and sugars. These will raise your blood sugar and delay sleep. Later, when blood sugar drops too low (hypoglycemia), you may wake up and be unable to fall back asleep
- Socks/Hot water bottle to bed - Feet often feel cold before the rest of the body because they have the poorest circulation. A study has shown wearing socks reduces night waking. You can aso place a hot water bottle by your feet.
- Journaling - If you often lay in bed with your mind racing, it might be helpful for some people to keep a pad of paper by your bed and nd write down your thoughts, ‘to-do’s’ or worries before you go to sleep to free your mind of concerns.
- Other Lifestyle Suggestions
- Reduce or avoid drugs - Many drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, may affect sleep.
- Lose excess weight - Being overweight can increase your risk of sleep apnea, which can seriously impair your sleep.
- Avoid foods you may be sensitive to - particularly true for sugar, grains, and pasteurized dairy. Sensitivity reactions can cause excess congestion, gastrointestinal upset, bloating and gas, and other problems.
- Have your adrenals checked with Audrey. Scientists have found that insomnia may be caused by adrenal stress.
- If you are menopausal or perimenopausal, get checked out by Audrey. The hormonal changes at this time may cause sleep problems if not properly addressed.
If All Else Fails
- Sleeping Herbs & Supplements - before spending your money do your own research or check with Audrey which one is best for you and has less side-effects.
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): check this out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWu3rSEddZI. Most people can learn the basics of this gentle tapping technique in a few minutes. EFT can help balance your body's bioenergy system and resolve some of the emotional stresses that are contributing to your insomnia at a very deep level. The results are typically long lasting and improvement is remarkably rapid.
- Increase your Melatonin (hormone made by your body). It is best to increase levels naturally with exposure to bright sunlight in the daytime and absolute complete darkness at night. However if that isn't possible, you may consider a Melatonin supplement. Check the right dosage with Audrey as most commercialised products are over-dosed. In scientific studies, melatonin has been shown to increase sleepiness, help you fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep, decrease restlessness, and reverse daytime fatigue.