Sleep and Your Health

A good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health and well-being.

I know I’ve touched on this one before, briefly, but it is really such an important issue that a lot of us face. And can be life altering! Really? Yes, Really!

A lot of people take this subject as “not so important”, but when you realize just how vital a good night’s sleep really is, you might just change your thinking.

Life altering? Yes! If you do not get enough sleep at night it can have serious repercussions with your health – weight gain, foggy brain, chronic fatigue, heart issues, hormonal imbalances, adrenal fatigue, depression, chronic sleep deprivation,  insomnia, to name some. Try just about every bodily function you have is affected.

Do you own a – laptop computer or desktop computer, tablet, iPad, iPhone, other smartphone, reading device, or TV? Then you are probably robbing yourself of some very valuable sleep. Why? Because if you are either working on your computer, reading on a device whether a tablet or Kindle reader, are playing games or Skyping on your phone, or watching TV past 10 pm (for most people) or at least 1 hour before bedtime, you are causing your circadian (sleep) rhythm to be disrupted.

OK, I know for some people, this might not seem to be an issue, but believe me when I say, you really could use better sleep. And you won’t be able to achieve it if you continue in your old/new ways.

How can you help improve this situation? Well, first off, try going to bed at least a 1/2 hour earlier and work up to an hour earlier at night. Put away your devices and turn off the television at least an hour head of when you are going to bed. I know that’s a big one for many of us, but it is achievable.

If you can’t seem to turn them off, buy yourself a pair of amber glasses like these at Amazon.ca/.com, Canadian Tire, Loews, Home Depot, or Walmart – they’re not that expensive. Start wearing them while watching TV or playing on your devices in the evening hours. This will signal your brain that it can slow down and you will be able to get to sleep and stay that way longer.

What do they do? These glasses actually block the Blue Light that makes your body think that it’s still daylight, suppressing melatonin production that makes you want to go to sleep. These glasses are particularly helpful for people who work shift work and aren’t able to sleep during the night like most others, but are for all people suffering from sleep disorders.

What other ways can you avoid Blue Light at night? Put up blackout curtains in the bedroom will help create a better sleep environment. Remove electronic equipment that emits any type of light during the night – or at least turn it away from view (you know the alarm clock that has a digital display). You can download this free app for your devices called F.lux here, that turns down the brightness on your screens at night and will help you achieve better sleep.

What about during the daylight hours – what do I do? Make sure you get at least 15-30 minutes first thing in the morning of bright light to signal -your brain that it is daytime and you need to get up and going. You can either go outside, or use a bright light in the house to get your quota of slight first thing. Get some exercise during the day – about 30 minutes three to four times a week should help. Set a time during the day that you STOP drinking any caffeinated beverages. Have a Epsom Salt bath at night to help relax you for sleep. Even though you might think alcohol helps, it really doesn’t. So perhaps reduce the amount you drink, or at least have it earlier in the evening as alcohol will help you get to sleep, but it really interrupts the quality of your sleep by inhibiting the melatonin secretion. If you like scents – get yourself an essential oil diffuser for your bedroom, like this one (Amazon.ca/.com, any health and wellness store, Costco, or Walmart) and diffuse any combination of Lavender, Cedarwood, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Roman Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, Marjoram or Bergamot at bedtime to help you sleep better. If you have trouble getting to sleep you could also try meditating and deep breathing to help you relax to get there.

Your body needs at least 7-9 hours of good sleep a night. If you aren’t getting this kind of sleep your stress levels in your body will spike. You might become irritable, start gaining weight, send your hormones on a triage, affect your heart in unhealthy ways, start to have signs of fatigue, become depressed, or actually develop insomnia. None of these are things I’m sure any of you want or need in your life.

Make sure you turn off your WiFi at night and make sure your cell phone is not in the bedroom with you (unless you turn on the Airplane mode). EMF (Electromotive force) exposure during sleep time can be and is very disruptive to your bodies healing process.

Try to make sure you are asleep during the hours of 10 pm and 2 am, as these are the prime times for your body go through its natural healing process.

Something else you could try if you are having problems with your sleep at night is to drink 2 glasses of Tart Cherry Juice a day. It seems it has an affect on your sleep quantity as it contains melatonin and can help you sleep up to 90 minutes more at night.

I think I’ve covered most of the benefits of you getting the right amount and quality of sleep with some things to help you with any sleep problems. I hope if you have insomnia, or are having problems getting to sleep at night that this information will help you.

Have a wonderful day and week ahead.

Louise