"ANCIENT SAGES, MODERN SCIENTISTS, AND LUMINARIES RECOGNIZE THE POWER OF SLEEP"
About 1 in
have at least mild insomnia. Many poor sleepers have developed poor sleep habits. In the long run, taking sleeping pills isn't effective. To improve sleeping habits and make lasting changes, we need to address the chemistry of the body, mental-emotional aspects, and the environment where we sleep.
When we do not sleep well, we are not going to function optimally or feel our best. Good quality sleep is crucial for the restoration of the physical, mental and emotional parts of us. If a person does not sleep well or long enough, they cannot lose weight, they cannot keep the immune system at its highest level, the connective tissue cannot repair itself, and we are going to have stressful dreams. Chronic sleep deprivation leads to mood changes, depression, low energy level, poor judgment, and being prone to accidents and injuries.
Here are 3 facets of getting a good night's sleep:
Chemistry of the Body
- Chemistry of the body and specifically regulated blood sugar has a high impact on proper sleep patterns. Unregulated blood sugar level will affect anxiety levels, insomnia and restless sleep patterns. Having a regular diet with proper amount of protein will maintain the blood sugar at its desired ranges. Eating a healthy balanced diet and eating some proteins before going to bed will regulate blood sugar. In fact, a few nuts like almonds, Brazilian nuts or sipping bone broth before sleep will have a very sedative effect on the body.
- Taking minerals that have a sedative effect on a body will improve the sleeping pattern as well. Calcium and magnesium have a very calming and relaxing effect on our body. A 20-minute hot bath with Epson Salt, or taking magnesium supplement will help you to sleep better. Most recent studies show that many people have significant magnesium deficiencies.
- Adding some essential oils will also enhance our restfulness at night. I have been personally using Peace and Calming, Lavender, Lemon, Clary Sage, or Frankincense and rubbing them to the bottom of my feet before going to bed. You do not have to use all of them, but all those oils have very relaxing and sedative effect. You can also use oils with your hot bath and give yourself a permission to fully relax and let go of your thoughts.
- Limit the amount of liquids that have a stimulating effect on the body, like coffee, black tea or alcohol.
- As they say, do not go to bed with your demons or unresolved emotions. One of the best ways to cultivate inner peace and restfulness is to learn how to express your emotions to others in a calm and peaceful way. So much of our internal turmoil is related to the emotional situations with people closest to us in our lives.
- Relaxing the mind and the thoughts is another part of our peace or turmoil. If we tend to over-think about things at night, a good practice is to write a list of all those things on a piece of paper and leave it on a kitchen counter or outside your bedroom space. If you have heavy thoughts or feelings that are weighing you down, enter them in a journal and let them be, then ask your higher self/God/Universe to help you unconsciously decide, better keeping you calm and relaxed.
- Deep, diaphragmatic breathing, focusing your attention on a breath and relaxing your body is a combination of ways to redirect your attention from patterns of thoughts and feelings. If you develop a habit of spending 5-10 min on deep, relaxing breathing, you will bring more oxygenated blood to your system which has a very calming and relaxing effect on the body and the brain.
Environment where we sleep
- All the rooms in our house have a specific function. The bedroom is a space where we rest, sleep and rejuvenate our body. It should be a sacred, cozy and orderly space. Make your bedroom a special sanctuary. Keep it clean, neat and beautiful.
- Removing all electronics from the bedroom may be necessary. TV, Laptops, Cell phone severely disrupt our electromagnetic field, our energy system and circadian rhythm. When we go to sleep, we want more of a calming and sedative atmosphere rather than a stimulating one.
- Keeping the bedroom dark, using proper shading system in windows and removing artificial lighting from your bedroom. Excessive lighting has a suppressive effect on Melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland, which regulates sleep and wakefulness. Melatonin lowers blood pressure, glucose levels, and body temperature - key physiological responses responsible for restful sleep. Artificial lighting unnaturally elevates cortisol levels at night, which disrupts sleep and introduces a host of problems relating to body-fat levels, insulin resistance, and systemic inflammation.
I wrote this BLOG because many of my patients talk about their nighttime unrest. We spend 1/3 of our life sleeping to restore and rejuvenate our mind-body-soul so we can be healthier and more present in our lives. Understand your body chemistry, take into account mental-emotional aspects, and beautify your sleeping environment. I wish you all sweet dreams! - Izabela Adamus