It’s not a luxury. It’s a necessity – one you need to make sure you get enough of because it directly affects your health.
Not being able to sleep is called insomnia and it is not only very frustrating but can seriously affect your day-time performance, reduce your quality of life and increase certain states of ill-health.
Sleep problems can include: difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep or waking too early in the morning. Even over-active or intense dreams can affect the quality of your sleep. All of these factors may be the result of a combination of different factors – physical, psychological and transient or temporary events.
Psychological causes include Stress – if it causes anxiety, frustration or despair during the day, it can continue to affect you long after the lights have gone out.
Physical causes can be hormonal changes – more common in women – as well as as a partner that snores, nutrient insufficiences, caffeine excess (or too late in the day) pain and some medications. Not getting enough daylight is also a factor – your sleep hormone is made during daylight to be released at night.
Temporary events might include such things as travel, working overtime and disturbances by children.
WHY IS SLEEP IMPORTANT?
During sleep, your body is given the opportunity to rest and restore its natural energy levels. While it’s commonly thought that systems slow or shut down while you’re sleeping, your brain and body are actually still performing lots of important tasks such as repairing and regenerating tissues, building muscle and bone and strengthening the immune system. A substance called Growth Hormone is released by the pituitary gland during certain sleep cycle stages – this hormone is believed to be important in many functions associated with youthfullness – such as vitality, smooth skin, energy and resilience….. BRING IT ON!!
SOME SYMPTOMS OF INADEQUATE SLEEP
- Problems concentrating or remembering
- Withdrawal or belligerence
- Trouble staying awake during the day
- “Snort and Startle” events during the night
SIMPLE STEPS TO IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP
- Avoid napping during the day
- Avoid caffeine, or at least don’t drink tea, coffee or other caffeinated drinks after 4pm
- Don’t smoke
- Invest in a comfortable bed, preferably without an innersprung mattress.
- Keep your bedroom dark and cool at night
- Let the sun shine into your bedroom in the morning – this lets your body know it’s time to “rise and shine”
- Get out in daylight every day
- Only use your bed for sleep and sex
- Read or relax (eg take an Epsom Salts bath with a few drops of lavender essential oil just before going to bed
- Eat dinner at least 3 hours before bedtime
- Have a bedtime routine, including a regular sleep schedule
- Write down pressing matters or nagging thoughts before settling in to bed – that way you can forget about them
Often night waking becomes such a habit that one goes to bed each night “already knowing” that one will awake at 2.30am or whenever…..
Before going to bed each night, repeat the following statement three times – say it like you mean it:
“I am going to go to sleep now. I will have a deep and restful sleep for the whole night and awake at [ ]a.m. feeling well rested and refreshed”
If none of these strategies get you sleeping as sweetly as you’d like, you may have Nutritional imbalances or an insufficiency of the sleep hormone and you should make an appointment to identify what’s causing your sleep problems. We’ll help you find your way to Sweet Sleep.