By Alane Palmer, ND, CNC, and Annah Gillette
Sleep is a must have for ultimate health. Start with creating a relaxing sleep environment; your bedroom should be a place of sanctuary. Make this space a sleep space only, keep it de-cluttered. If you have a TV in your bedroom, a smart idea is set a time limit to go off 2 hours before bed. Light exposure is imperative before sleep, during deep sleep, and gently waking up. Your hormones are tied directly to your circadian rhythms.
Go pitch black! Subtle light emissions can cause sleep disruption. Alarm clocks, electronic lights, DVD and cable boxes. If lights on electronics cannot be turned off completely; use double thick electrical tape to cover them. Don’t worry I have an alarm for you. Try using a light alarm that gradually gets brighter to end your sleep cycle. Being disrupted from seep sleep from a blaring alarm creates a rise in the stress hormone cortisol. Not the best way to start a day.
Stick to a schedule. Start your nighttime routine at the same time every night. Your body will naturally go through 8-9 (90 Minute) sleep cycles, and you will wake up on your own. Use you light alarm as a backup. Before technology kept us awake all hours, our work day rose and set with the sun. Turn off all screens whenever possible or use an app to use more of a yellow light on your devices or read a book. Avoid reading emails right before bed; anything stressful can disrupt your ability to sleep. Stop work and then engage in something peaceful and calming.
The Magic sleep number is YOUR number. As a rule of thumb 8-10 hours of restful sleep with deep sleep occurring around 2 am or 3 am. You will know if you are getting enough sleep by how you feel in the morning. If you are burning the candle at both ends and trying to play catch up on the weekends, you will continue to hit the fatigue wall. Set your schedule and stick to it even on the weekends.
Here are a few more quick tips for a great nights sleep:
1. Sleep cold- your body and brain need to cool down at night.
2. Clean your sheets often- and make your bed, daily.
3. Take a relaxing Epsom salt bath by candlelight.
4. Use a humidifier in drier seasons.
6. Eat protein before bed if you are hungry after dinner, 90 minutes prior to lights out.
7. Get your cortisol and hormone levels checked
8. Try to exercise each day to use up your energy levels so your energy does not prevent you from getting to sleep.
Be patient these techniques will help align your circadian rhythms again, but it takes consistency over time to reap the benefits. Restless and interrupted sleep; put jelly on the belly.
Are you still struggling to get a good night sleep? A simple hormone and cortisol saliva test can give you some insight into your hormones and how they are affecting your sleep.
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Medical disclaimer: Our test kits cannot be used to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. All test results are to be used as educational materials and as a guide to help support your overall health and wellness. Always discuss health concerns with your medical doctor.