A lot is actually happening when you're asleep; it's the time to recharge our internal "battery", help balance our stress levels and encourage healing from the inside out. If we’re not sleeping optimally, it can lead to serious consequences both short and long term.
Sleep problems can be broken into mind, body or environmental “noise,” and yes, it can even be a combination;
- Mind—We’ve all lost sleep over excitement, but a mind full of worry? Fear? Despair? Hate? What’s the cause?
- Body—Are you restless? In pain? Itchy? Heartburn? Snoring? Headaches? Why are these thing happening instead of sleep?
- Environmental—is it too hot, too cold or just right Goldilocks? Can you hear your neighbors or traffic outside? Is a light busting its way into your bedroom? Dogs or cats keeping you awake? Can you change any of it?
Take a look deeper if you’re struggling with getting a great night of rest. We definitely don’t encourage just covering it up with medication or supplements or something else...get to the root if you’re looking for real, lasting results.
- Sleep Routine—create a routine of things you do (or don’t do) for the last 15 to 60 minutes before and keep it consistent. Keep a similar bedtime each night, your body will develop a rhythm making the PM more routine.
- Don’t Take it Lightly—Lights at night aren’t a bright idea! Minimize light exposure after the sun goes down, try to sleep in complete darkness in your bedroom. Finally, find direct sun exposure upon waking for 10 to 15 minutes (leave out the sunglasses!) to help promote proper circadian rhythm for waking and sleeping.
- Keep it Cold—Drop that thermostat and bundle up! Keep it around 70 degrees and put on your socks; some studies have shown both to reduce night time wakings.
- Watch out for EMFs—Close proximity to cell phones, WiFi, alarm clocks, smart meters and even wall outlets can disrupt the pineal gland and nerve system function, even inhibiting proper melatonin and serotonin activity.
- Nutrition Tips—Things like sugar / grains / alcohol create inflammation and sickness in the body. No caffeine after noon, try a small and clean protein snack before bed mixed with some chamomile tea.
- Screen Time—TV, cell phones, computer and other forms of artificial light can really mess with melatonin production. Many devices have built in filters (night mode or night shift), but turning them off would be better yet!
- Mindfulness—Incorporate essential oils (lavender, chamomile, vetiver), meditation, prayer, reading, deep breathing, relaxing music, or journaling to help calm your mind and body and signal rest to your system.
- Hormones—stress can be a real bugger and chronic elevated cortisol drive our system into a “wired but tired” state though sympathetic dominance. Get your levels checked via Heart Rate Variability (HRV) or urine testing.
- Supplements—adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha, holy basil, rhodiola, Schisandra, wild oats, and hops in supplement form can work wonders. Adding lemon balm (daytime only!), chamomile, L-Theanine, GABA, 5-HTP is a precursor to your body’s own production of melatonin.
CBD is a great addition to any of these strategies. Cannabidiol works to balance excitatory neurotransmitters to promote sense of peace and serenity. Is there anything else you like to incorporate into your "sleep hygeine?" Let us know!