Are you having trouble sleeping at night? Your not alone. Insomnia help is here.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), sleep plays a vitally important role in our physical health. Sleep deficiency increases the risk of obesity and other compromising health conditions.
The experts at the NIH say that quality sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that regulate hunger and satiety. When you don’t get enough sleep, those hormones get out of balance causing many people to overeat.
NIH also reports that sleep affects how your body reacts to insulin, the hormone that controls your blood glucose (sugar) level. Sleep deficiency results in a higher than normal blood sugar level, which may increase your risk for diabetes.
Unfortunately, many of us are not getting quality sleep.
Create Your Sleep Hygiene Routine
It is essential that you create a sleep routine or “sleep hygiene”
Sleep hygiene refers to the habits, environmental factors, and practices that may influence the length and quality of one’s sleep. These include bedtime, nighttime rituals, and disruptions to one’s sleep. These are typically represented by simple guidelines meant to effectively promote a good night’s rest.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This allows your body’s natural clock, called a circadian rhythm, to help initiate and maintain our sleep.
- Be sure your bedroom is cool and comfortable. Research indicates that sleeping in a cool environment helps us to sleep more deeply. For menopausal women it’s essential we set the thermostat lower at night. Invest in high quality cotton sheets and soft, loose, comfy cotton night shirt. Be sure you have a very comfortable pillow and a good quality mattress.
- Eliminate all light from the bedroom. When our body detects light, it sends messages to the brain that cues chemical action in the body. For example, as evening approaches and the light in our environment dwindles, the hormone melatonin begins to rise and body temperature falls, helping us to become less alert and more sleepy. When morning light creeps in, melatonin levels lower, body temperature begins to rise, and other chemical shifts, such as a rise in the activating hormone cortisol helping us feel alert and ready for the day. In order to have our bodies get to a state of deep sleep and healthy rest rhythms, we need to darken the bedroom.
- Eliminate all electronics from the bedroom. Research tells us that electronics emit light and energy that can disrupt sleep, because they send alerting signals to the brain. Our circadian rhythm seems to be especially sensitive to the kind of light emitted from electronic devices, delaying the release of the hormone melatonin.
- Ensure an hour of wind-down time prior to bed with no electronics. Try reading a book, take a warm bath, do some gentle yoga instead. Let your body chemistry settle for the night.
- Don’t take naps. The longer we stay awake, the more we want to go to sleep. By taking a nap we can relieve this desire to sleep, but it will also make it less likely that we will be able to easily go to sleep later. Adults should have a consolidated period of sleep at night without additional naps. If there is excessive daytime sleepiness and desire to nap, in spite of adequate sleep time, this might suggest a sleep disorder warranting further evaluation.
- Exercise every day, but avoid doing it 4 hours before bedtime. Research tells us that staying active is an excellent way to ensure a good night’s sleep. Be sure, though, you take your exercise earlier in the day, however, as exercising too close to bedtime may actually cause difficulties in getting to sleep.
- Do not Toss and Turn. If you have trouble getting to sleep and you toss and turn in bed you may find you experience growing anxiety of not being able to sleep which only makes matters worse. If you are unable to get to sleep within 20 minutes of lying still and breathing in a relaxed manner, get up and change your location. Go to another quiet, dark place and lie down there until you feel sleepier and then return to your bed to sleep.
- Avoid eating or drinking 3-4 hours right before going to bed. This gives your body a chance to digest your food so that you will be able to get a deeper state of rest.
Observe these guidelines every night of the week and within 2 weeks you will likely see a huge difference.
Some women still have trouble sleeping even with a solid sleep hygiene. I was one of those people.
When I went through surgical menopause, I suffered from insomnia despite all of my training and resources with meditation, yoga and relaxation.
I found that taking a product with melatonin and niacin helped me reach a deeper level of sleep. I have many clients who also benefit from a special essential oil blend called Serenity applied to bottoms of the feet and inhaled at bedtime. Other clients benefit from drinking a tea with Kava or Valerian or Chamomile
Our bodies were meant to be at deep rest at night and most of us don’t allow ourselves enough time to sleep.
Lack of sleep is one of the quickest ways to age your body and set yourself up for diseases and illnesses.
Sleep deprivation is a serious health issue in the US today.
Reclaim your sleep …. and your health! Create your sleep hygeine routine and arm yourself with some gifts of nature that will help your body drift into a deep state of rest at night.