When you sleep good, life is so much more joyful and easier to navigate. You just feel better about everything!
When you don’t sleep well or enough, you contend with so much more brain fog, moodiness, fatigue, immune stress and food cravings, just to name a few.
For a night here or there, getting less sleep than you need, although not ideal, you can manage. But if this happens consistently, you are on a path to increased pain, dis-ease and even a shortened lifespan.1 People who don’t sleep, don’t live as long!
Yes, it’s that important.
To give your best and to show up your brightest, you need to be well rested. This makes you a more engaged and effective student, parent, business owner, team member, athlete, staff member, teacher, minister, etc.
What happens when you sleep?
There are complete books written on this topic so this isn’t an exhaustive explanation of course. Suffice it to say, when you sleep is when your body heals, repairs, restores, and rebalances. Good quality sleep is incredible for mental health challenges ranging from high stress to depression and anxiety. It is some of the best, most potent medicine for the immune system (this is why you want to sleep more when you’re sick). It’s also important for repairing from intense exercise and/or preparing for optimal performance. Sleep is also a fountain of youth as it can slow the aging process.
What causes sleep challenges?
- Stress- We’ve all been there. You’re tired but your mind wants to take you through every possible thing that could ever happen tomorrow. You can’t seem to turn it off.
- Digestive issues- If your gut microbiome isn’t balanced, it can create interruptions in your sleep patterns.2 Also, eating late at night will cause this in many people.
- Immune stress (virus, bacteria, parasites)- Infections can interrupt sleep and poor sleep patterns can make you more susceptible to immune stress.3
- Electromagnetic fields from sleeping near phones, alarm clocks, TVs, wifi routers, etc. can contribute to trouble sleeping by reducing melatonin production.4
- Light- It is ideal to sleep in the dark. Exposure to light at night can hinder circadian rhythms.5
- Temperature can play a role in sleep for many people. A room that is poorly ventilated or too hot can make sleep more difficult.6
- Pain- Unfortunately, many people toss and turn because they have pain in one or more parts of the body which can of course have a dramatic impact on one’s ability to sleep well.7 If this is you, it’s important to understand WHY the pain is there and do what you can to reduce it.
- Other issues- Of course this list isn’t exhaustive but just covers some of the most common challenges.
Top 9 hacks for a great night of sleeping like a baby
- Avoid food and drink before bed. Of course, it’s fine to take small sips of water or herbal tea but your body doesn’t want to work all night at digestion. For most adults, avoiding food for 2-3 hours before bed is ideal. There are exceptions…if you are pregnant, nursing or for small children, you may indeed need a small bedtime snack.
- Get natural light on your face early in the day…even a few minutes can make a difference.
- Avoid electronics for at least 1-2 hours before bed…more is better if possible.
- Clean your room- Make sure your room is clean, your sheets are washed regularly and there is no clutter.
- Consume a healthy whole food plant diet. Especially avoid sugar, alcohol and caffeine (especially later in the day/evening).
- Keep the room cooler (65-70 degrees) but of course have enough blankets to stay comfortable.
- Avoid stress before bed as much as possible- right before bed is usually not the best time to have a difficult conversation, do a hard workout or watch a scary movie. Do calming activities in the evening…
- Create a wind down routine. This is important. Your body and mind need a transition from the tasks of the day to rest that will take place at night. This is a great time for an easy walk, reading, journaling, meditation or an Epsom salt bath.
- Supplements that can help include Hemp/CBD oil, Magnesium Powder, Calcium Magnesium, Calcium Magnesium Plus, Magnesium Buffered, Melatonin, Tranquinol, Lipocalm…But it’s important to remember that these are supplements. They don’t take the place of good nutrition, healthy sleep habits or a proper diet.
Sleep is medicine. There is perhaps nothing more powerful for overall health than good sleep. Make sleep a priority and see your health, mood and life, lift before your eyes!
If you have consistently been doing the things above and are still having trouble sleeping, there is likely something else going on. Don’t wait for things to get worse. Seek help now. You and your mission in life are worth it! We’d love to help you figure out what’s going on and how you can get to the bottom of it! Reach out at 269-204-6525.
1. Cappuccio FP, D’Elia L, Strazzullo P, Miller MA. Sleep duration and all-cause mortality: A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. Sleep. 2010. doi:10.1093/sleep/33.5.585
2. Hyun MK, Baek Y, Lee S. Association between digestive symptoms and sleep disturbance: A cross-sectional community-based study. BMC Gastroenterol. 2019. doi:10.1186/s12876-019-0945-9
3. Ibarra-Coronado EG, Pantaleón-Martínez AM, Velazquéz-Moctezuma J, et al. The Bidirectional Relationship between Sleep and Immunity against Infections. J Immunol Res. 2015. doi:10.1155/2015/678164
4. Dyche J, Anch AM, Fogler KAJ, Barnett DW, Thomas C. Effects of power frequency electromagnetic fields on melatonin and sleep in the rat. Emerg Health Threats J. 2012. doi:10.3402/ehtj.v5i0.10904
5. Blume C, Garbazza C, Spitschan M. Effects of light on human circadian rhythms, sleep and mood. Somnologie. 2019. doi:10.1007/s11818-019-00215-x
6. Fan X, Shao H, Sakamoto M, et al. The effects of ventilation and temperature on sleep quality and next-day work performance: pilot measurements in a climate chamber. Build Environ. 2022. doi:10.1016/j.buildenv.2021.108666
7. Finan PH, Goodin BR, Smith MT. The association of sleep and pain: An update and a path forward. J Pain. 2013. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2013.08.007
Nothing said or implied in this post is intended to treat, cure, diagnose or prevent any disease. It does not take the place of a qualified health care practitioner and is intended for educational purposes only.