Amazed at how tired you are each morning? Are you craving refined carbs, sugar and coffee during the day just to remain awake?
Let’s talk sleep. Are you getting enough? Is it restful? Not everyone requires the same amount of sleep, but for most of us it’s best to get between seven and nine hours a night of sound slumber Are you one of the lucky few? If not, you may want to take note of a troubling list of problems to which insufficient or poor quality sleep can contribute.
Poor sleep can:
* Increase blood pressure that can contribute to Cardiovascular Disease
* Contribute to Memory Loss
* Increase stress hormones setting one up for weight gain and chronic fatigue
* Decrease glucose tolerance that can contribute to type 2 diabetes
* Interfere with appetite suppressing hormones
* Contribute to depression
* Contribute to day time fatigue and lack of motivation
Take Charge to Recharge
Even though our society tends to foster poor sleep habits, we can take charge of our nights to help us recover from the day’s physical, mental and emotional stressors (the constructive and not so constructive) and recharge for the bright new day ahead! Our nervous systems alternate between two mechanisms: rest and digest and fight or flight. Most of our day is spent in the fight or flight mode. Evening time is when our systems are naturally meant to start resting and rejuvenating. However, it is all too common to extend the stressors into the evening and even right up to bed time.
Anything that stimulates the nervous system is considered a stressor. For example, T.V. not only excites us with story lines and images – be it harsh news or fun comedy – but the electromagnetic activity inhibits melatonin, our sleep hormone. Take notice of not only how well you sleep, but how you feel in the morning. In our hectic world, far too many of us have forgotten what it feels like to rest properly!
Here are a few suggestions to help ease yourself into a deep and restful sleep.
1) The sleep hormone melatonin is inhibited by light, television and computers. It’s important to minimize and even avoid those things a few hours prior to bed in order to prepare the body for good quality sleep .
2) Sleep in a fully darkened room. If that’s not possible, try an eye mask.
3) Diet is a big factor. Along with eating a well balanced, predominately organic diet, a dinner with complex carbohydrates (not refined white carbs, candy or chocolate) can help to boost levels of serotonin (the feel good, relaxing hormone) in order to help with the release of melatonin.
4) Exercise has been shown to improve sleep; however, try to avoid strenuous exercise within a few hours of bed time, as it can have the opposite effect!
5) Read a light or spiritually oriented book. Practise an attitude of gratitude prior to bed. Create a list of what you are grateful for.
6) Try to maintain the same bed time. Best hours of sleep for our natural body rhythms are between 10:00 pm and 6 :00 am.
7) Meditation, light yoga or other relaxation techniques help stimulate the rest and digest mechanism. In order to better understand the load on your nervous system, try an evening of yoga before bed verses an evening in front of the T.V. or computer.
8) If your mind is racing, get up and journal your concerns or excited thoughts instead of letting them ruminate in your head.
9) Choose to sleep in organic cotton. It is free from harmful chemicals which can stimulate the fight or flight mechanism. Best of all, you’ll rest easier knowing you are helping the environment even in your sleep!
Yours in Health,
Wellness by Design Team
CHEK II, HLC I, NMT
Yoga and Reiki Practitioner