5 Tips for Restful Sleep
5 Tips for Restful Sleep
A good night's sleep can solve so many problems. During sleep we mentally process our day and our body heals and repairs.
A lack of good, restful sleep can result in lethargy, poor digestion and low mood. Perpetual poor sleeping patterns may result in, or be an indicator of bigger health issues.
I have listed here just a few ideas about your sleep - how to do it better and how to get the most out of it. I'd love to know if you have other top tips or if any of the below suggestions work for you - post your thoughts in the comments below.
1) Be asleep by 11pm
As a Systematic Kinesiologist, I work with a back-drop of basic Chinese Medicine theory. According to Chinese traditions, the body has natural rhythms that work on a 24 hour clock, rotating from one body system to the next. Between 11pm and 1am the body gathers energy for the following day. This is why, if you are awake at this time, you will often get a “second wind” and feel a boost of energy. But this energy is being robbed from your resources for the next day.
Get to bed and wind down around 10pm so that you are well asleep before 11pm.
2) No bright lights
Before going to bed you should be restricting bright lights including TV, computer and phone screens. The pineal gland is a tiny rice grain-sized, pine cone-shaped gland nestled in the brain. It controls the natural body clock and is light sensitive and will release hormones appropriately according to the time of the day. The pineal controls the release of melatonin – the hormone that helps you to sleep. But it won’t do this if bright light is coming in through the eyes indicating that it is “daytime”.
Also make sure you don’t have any colour LED lights in your bedroom, such as battery lights, or standby lights. These small but bright lights can disrupt your sleep. Blue has been found to be the worst for disturbing the light receptors in your brain as you try to sleep. If you have any that you can’t remove then cover them up.
3) Don’t over-heat
It’s important to sleep in a cool (but not cold or uncomfortably drafty) environment. Your body warms up as you sleep so being slightly cool when you get into bed is a good sign that the temperature is OK. Resist using a thick duvet unless it is really required. Layer blankets that are cotton or other natural fibres so that they don’t cause you to over-heat and sweat. That way you can add or remove blankets easily in the night if you need. This is super helpful if your temperature goes up and down a lot, if the heating in your bedroom changes drastically over night or if you sleep with a partner as their sleeping temperature may be different to yours and you may want a different combination of blankets. Women often warm up during sleep more than men, especially at certain points in their menstrual cycle.
4) Be Calm and reduce the stimulants
Coffee, alcohol, sugar, nicotine... we all know that these things do not help our sleeping pattern. Consuming sugary or fatty foods within several hours of going to bed will affect the insulin levels in your blood and, as they yo-yo up and down, you will either struggle to get to sleep or your sleep will be disturbed. These foods cause stress on the adrenal glands, causing that “wired” feeling as Adrenalin courses through the body. This will also encourage the production of cortisol, the hormone associated with stress which directly disturbs your ability to fall and stay asleep.
Adrenal fatigue is a major cause of insomnia so treating your energy and stress levels is key to being able to relax. Here’s some more tips about how to avoid or sooth adrenal fatigue.
If you think you suffer with adrenal fatigue then see a Natural Health Practitioner such as a Systematic Kinesiologist or an Acupuncturist who will be able to address the route of the problem and help you to find a healthier balance.
Having a calming bed-time ritual can help to alert your body and mind that it is time to slow down and rest. For example Qi Gong, breathing exercises, gentle stretching or a foot massage.
5) Limit electrical / energy devices
Unplug and keep all electrical devises away from your sleeping area. Especially devices that use wifi or radio waves such as phones, computers, printers, TVs etc. The electromagnetic fields surrounding electrical devices and also power lines etc, disturb your sleep patterns and can disrupt your natural energetic balance. For more information about how electrical devises and electromagnetic fields can disturb your sleep and general health, see my previous blog about EMF.
If you find you are having problems sleeping then you may find that simply changing the position of your bed, even by just a foot, can help as you avoid or come in line with particular energetic elements that can disturb sleep.