When it comes to sleeping well, many of us are just not getting what we need, both quality and quantity! If you feel tired and wired or just like you could do with a bit more energy, taking a close look at your “sleep hygiene” is a must. Poor sleep, can results in fatigue, impaired memory, impaired physical performance, low motivation, poor concentration and a weakened immune system. It also negatively effects our mood, making us fly off the handle quicker, reducing our tolerance and cause depressive like feelings.
Sufficient sleep is up there with good nutrition, clean water and adequate movement. Melatonin is a hormone which regulates our sleep, its activated by darkness and is the strongest antioxidant we have. Ensuring you have enough of this hormone is essential for a good nights slumber! Sleep must be thoroughly investigated in any disorders which effect, not only energy levels, but mood problems and infertility.
Here is your sleep check list
Electro-Magnetic Fields – Remove all electronics from your room, mobile phones, TV’s, lap tops, ipads etc, these effect the production of melatonin and serotonin! Also move alarm clocks at least 3 feet away from you. Avoid use of electronics at least half an hour before bed. Ensure you are not sleeping behind a wall with electrical equipment. If you can turn your wifi off at night then do it! Sleeping with our gadgets has become the norm, even for children!
Digestion – Avoid eating 2 to 3 hours prior to bed, this will ensure that digestion is complete, and won’t interfere with your sleep.
Fluid Intake – Avoid drinking 2 hours before bed, to avoid endless trips to the toilet.
Darkness – Sleep in complete darkness, as this promotes the production of melatonin, a hormone with many benefits that go beyond its aid in sleep.
Bedtime – Try for a regular sleep time, ideally before 11pm, humans were designed to sleep with the sun and rise with the sun!
Relaxation techniques – Before bed avoid any over stimulation of the mind by avoiding TV and electronic use at least 45 minutes prior, preferably 1 hour prior to sleep. Use bath’s (lavender oil), meditation and calm reading. Listen to relaxation discs or soothing music.
Avoid caffeine – If you have insomnia, caffeine is contraindicated, trial avoiding any caffeine after lunch or none at all, to ensure this is not disrupting your sleep.
Sleep Assessment – You may need to be assessed for sleep apnea (a condition where you stop breathing whilst you are asleep for more than 10 seconds). If you mouth breathe or snore, you will require some retraining of your breathing style, consider the buteyko method of breathing.
Air Borne Allergies – Is the air you breathe clean, dust free? You may need to use an air purifier, or at least keep linen, mattresses and floor as dust free as possible.
Food Sensitivities – Can disturb sleep as they cause digestive upset, congestion, flatulence and bloating, what to learn more?
Avoid Alcohol – Whilst alcohol initially makes you feel drowsy, this is not long lasting and often disturbs sleep during the night.
Weight Management – If you are overweight this can cause sleep apnea, which has a major impact on sleep.
Menopause or Perimenopause – These hormonal changes can cause insomnia, there are great herbs, diet and lifestyle changes, which can help, directed at the liver and hormones to assist during this time.
Worrying or Over thinking – Learning to relax the mind is as important as relaxing the physical body to ensure a good nights sleep. I recommend the Mind Power Ecourse for tools and techniques in this area.
Melissa Oil – For a very gentle and non invasive approach to helping your sleep, try placing a drop of melissa oil on your wrist before bed, to induce relaxation.
Melatonin – Our sleep hormone, want to know more about it then check out “melatonin has the wow factor”
Want to know more here is another blog by Elemental Health on melatonin & sleep.