Ask someone how they slept last night, and the answer is likely going to be a complaint of some sort: not enough, not deep enough, tossed and turned, was too hot, too cold, couldn’t fall asleep, couldn’t stay asleep, woke up too many times, couldn’t get my brain to shut off, on and on….
A good night’s sleep plays a critical role in many of the body’s important systems doing their jobs properly and efficiently. From metabolism, digestion and weight loss to mental clarity, memory and emotional well-being, sleep enables the body to continue functioning properly day after day. Unfortunately, there are dozens of factors that can inhibit regular, restful sleep, such as chronic pain, stress, health conditions and poor habits. If you struggle to get enough sleep on a regular basis, your health is depending on you to address and correct the problem. Fortunately, there are simple steps anyone can take to help make a good night’s sleep a common occurrence.
Start By Ruling Out Serious Medical Conditions
Many people struggle to sleep at night due to preexisting health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, thyroid issues and gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. It’s important to maintain annual wellness visits with your primary care physician and to seek medical care when new symptoms arise or change. This can help to diagnose or rule out the possibility of a serious medical condition. It is also possible that you may have a sleep disorder, such as insomnia or restless leg syndrome.
Take Better Care of Your Body
If your body is in poor health, it will definitely affect your sleep habits. One of the most important parts of a healthy lifestyle that is neglected by most Americans is routine, rigorous exercise. While just walking daily is a great place to start, elevating your heart rate and breaking a sweat have much more overall health benefits, including more restful, deep sleep. It’s known that certain foods, especially those with caffeine and high amounts of sugar, can keep you awake for hours. Avoid these types of foods and beverages after lunch, and try to eliminate them from your diet entirely. Choose a healthy, plant-rich diet for better digestion and better sleep.
Attack Stress Head-On
Stress is a truly dangerous enemy of good health and wellness. If stress is robbing you of your much-needed rest, be bold in your approach to stop it in its tracks. Eliminate the source when possible by cutting back on every commitment that isn’t truly necessary in your life. Seek counseling or the confidence of a close companion to help you manage life’s demands efficiently, even if you feel as though you can handle them on your own. Find outlets, such as exercise, creative arts or intentional self-care to help you release the tension your body builds up while under stress. Most importantly, give yourself some time every day to be alone and tech-free in the quiet. Start with just five minutes at a time and work your way up to longer periods of calm relaxation.
Set Yourself Up for Success
It’s critical to prepare for a good night’s sleep, especially if it’s typically a problem for you. Start by making your room as dark as possible and try to establish an average temperature of 67 degrees. Consider investing in a new mattress or even a mattress topper for extra comfort and support. Next, establish a nightly routine that you can follow in chronological order every single night. Make sure to avoid electronics for at least half an hour before bedtime to calm your mind. Over time, the repetition can help condition your body to prepare for sleep before you even lay your head on the pillow.
Utilize Natural Therapies and Supplements When Possible
There are many safe and effective options for people who need help falling asleep at night. Start with essential oils and aromatherapy to help induce sleep. Lavender, vanilla and sandalwood have been known to have relaxing properties, so enjoy them in a warm bath, soothing lotion or a diffuser before bedtime. Melatonin can be extremely effective in helping you drift off to sleep. Be sure to consult a physician before taking this or any other supplements to help you sleep. In some cases, medication may be recommended for more serious conditions, but natural products may be an effective first choice.
There are many approaches to better sleep, and they should all be addressed for the best possible outcome. With this holistic approach to rest, you can help restore your physical, emotional and mental health through better sleep.
Need more help, contact me today.
In Good Health, Wellness and Love,
-Donna – Registered Holistic Nutritionist