Sorting Out Your Sleep
Adequate sleep is essential to your overall state of health and an area we tend to ignore or manage poorly when we are trying to understand reasons behind fatigue, stress, hormone disruption and weight gain.
Why care so much about sleep?
- It makes us feel good, release stress and cope well during the day.
- It allows us to repair our DNA and cellular regeneration.
- We make hormones while we sleep.
- It allows us to consolidate memories and sort through all the mental input received during the day.
- It allows our intuitive processes to open as our thinking brain relaxes.
- It allows our immune system to restore and repair.
- It allows our nervous system to relax.
- It allows our musculo-skeletal system to rest and rebuild muscle and regenerate bone.
- It allows our liver to detoxify.
Preparation for a great sleep starts during the day
- No caffeinated drinks after 12 midday. If you are particularly sensitive, you may need to eliminate caffeine altogether.
- Alcohol has a huge impact on our ability to enter deep sleep states as does too much food close to bedtime. Ensure you eat lightly in the evenings avoiding late night snacking and dinners and remove/reduce alcohol intake.
- Adjust your exercise schedule. Exercising in the morning or early afternoon is best. Too close to bedtime is stimulating, increases cortisol and impact your ability to relax and sleep.
- Ensure your bedroom is a dust and mould-free environment.
- Where possible, avoid shift work. Where not possible, try to start preparing for sleep within an hour of arriving home. The sooner you can train your brain into a regular pattern of not staying awake for hours to unwind the quicker sleep will occur.
- If tired during the day, a 20min (max) nap can recharge your energy levels. Any longer may make impact your evening sleep.
- If you need extra support during a difficult period, seek advice from a counsellor or utilise techniques known to reduce stress such as meditation, yoga, or tai chi to address mental/emotional stress.
Tips for a great sleep pre-bedtime
- A regular routine is key. Preparing for sleep at 9pm to be asleep by 10pm is optimal. If you miss the sleep cycle around 9.30pm-10pm, you maybe find yourself staying awake until the next sleep cycle hits several hours later.
- To get to sleep, repeat a soothing routine like reading a book, crossword puzzle or meditation. Something that allows the brain to engage in repetition rather than over-stimulation is ideal.
- Ditch the mobile devices. Large amounts of artificial blue light emitting from electronics at night is disastrous to your natural circadian rhythm. The blue light suppresses melatonin production, tricking your body into thinking it is still daytime. This keeps you from falling asleep naturally and decreases the quality of your sleep.
- Darken the room.
- Ensure you are not too cold or hot and have adjustable blankets/covers.
- Where possible, avoid electric blankets which can overheat and increase electromagnetic field disturbance. Alternatively, use to heat the bed and turn off (at the powerpoint) before going to sleep.
Kate is a qualified naturopath who is passionate about helping women heal from hormonal havoc and inspiring women to know their own power, worth and wisdom.
Kate offers one-on-one Skype consults for irregular cycles, PMS and period pain, endometriosis, PCOS, peri-menopause, mood swings, fatigue and mental and emotional stress.
Simply drop me an email to see how I can help you!