Tips For Getting A Good Nights Sleep

Getting A Good Nights Sleep

There are many pieces to the wellness puzzle. Sleep, exercise, nutrition, supplements, hormone balancing, toxin exposure, and mindset all affect each other and our overall health. Feeling your best involves addressing every single one, so I advise starting somewhere and making progress over time. In this article, we explore sleeping and how it affects your well-being.

Getting restful sleep is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Waking up rested and ready for the day is a great way to start each day.  But what if you are not sleeping well?  What if you are waking up tired?  Not getting enough can cause you to think less clearly, feel depressed, gain weight, have high blood pressure, have elevated blood sugar, and have a weakened immunity.  This is not a fun place to be.

Proper sleep is essential for feeling energetic and functioning correctly. Unfortunately, sleep disorders are common, and medication is prescribed at alarming rates. While a small percentage of people may need prescriptions to combat their sleep disorder, a large majority of people do not require these medications. Often, there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

How To Improve Your Sleep

Problems with getting enough nighttime rest can arise for various reasons, whether you struggle with going to or staying asleep. Many environmental factors can interfere with a good night’s rest. This can range from work stress to illnesses, making quality rest hard.

You might not be able to control all the factors that interfere with your rest, but you can introduce habits that encourage better sleep at night. Below are simple tips for promoting good, quality rest.

Manage Your Mindset

One of the significant causes of sleep disorders is our mind. Often, the mind is full of thoughts about what must be done or worries about events in your life. Or you may be the kind of person who pushes yourself late into the night to get things done, not allowing yourself to rest. Today’s world also stresses our minds with a 24-hour news cycle, phone calls, texts, e-mails, financial worries, work issues, traffic, and more.

When you feel stressed and worried, it can affect your sleep. The great news is that you control your mind. You may not be able to control the things around you, but you can control what you watch, what you read, what time you go to bed, what you think about, and how you react. Everything is a choice, whether you wish to admit that or not. You can say no to anything that keeps your mind racing at night, but it is a choice.

The best thing you can do for your mental health and sleep is to avoid watching the news. It is often visually disturbing and only reports on negative stories. There are ways to stay informed without watching the news. You can receive summaries of news worldwide or mindfully choose to interact with news outlets on your own time.

Regular exercise also helps decrease stress. Journaling, or writing out your concerns, can get them off your mind, too. Consider working with a life coach who can provide guidance, help with your mindset, and give you skills in handling stress. You can also manage stress by using calming essential oils, regular meditation practices, and establishing a self-care routine. 

Avoid Technology

Another great thing you can do to benefit your sleep is to keep your phone on silent or vibrate and turn off alerts. Check your cell phone when you want, not at the whim of whoever is calling you or texting you. They will survive, and so will you. Turning off your cell phone at a set time each night can help you sleep without interruptions. You can even pick a day a week when you keep it off. I like keeping my cell phone off on Sundays as most people respect that day as a day to rest, but pick whatever day works for your life.

If your job requires you to be contacted after hours, have a separate phone for after-hour work emergencies so you can turn off your primary cell phone when you desire. Take control of your time; you deserve it! With all this freedom from technology, spend some quiet time each day and focus on your breathing. Turn off the TV and computer at a set time, allowing you time for your mind to relax.

Treat Deficiencies In Minerals, Vitamins, And More

Sometimes, sleep disorders are caused by deficiencies in the necessary vitamins, minerals, or other key hormones in our body. One necessary component for sleep is gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA. This amino acid is a calming neurotransmitter in your brain, working to reduce the activity of brain cells in preparation for sleep. Unfortunately, stress can negatively affect the production of GABA in your body. Enhancing your body’s natural production of GABA with a supplement can often help quiet the brain down. I like NeuroCalm – we carry this at the office if you can’t find a good GABA source.

Melatonin is another necessary hormone that acts as your body’s natural sleep aid. When your body struggles to produce enough melatonin, you might have insomnia or other sleep disorders.  The addition of sublingual (under the tongue) melatonin can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep. Your body also requires a dark environment to produce melatonin properly, so keep your bedroom as dark as possible.

Magnesium is another key component in regulating your sleep cycle. It is a mineral that helps regulate melatonin in the body and enhances GABA activity. Unfortunately, many people are deficient in this mineral without realizing it. I advise 200-300 mg of chelated magnesium to help calm the brain.

Improve Your Diet

Yes, diet affects everything! What you eat affects how you look and feel, including your rest. Certain foods can significantly impact your ability to slumber soundly. Aged meats, cheeses, nightshade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers), and refined sugar can all give you a poor night’s sleep. Eating a heavy meal before bed can also impact how well-rested you are the next morning.

Don’t Eat Late

Eating later in the evening (i.e., less than 3 hours before bedtime) or drinking caffeine in the afternoon or evening can also affect your sleep. You may think it does not, but it does. Excess caffeine intake is often a sign you are not getting enough rest and can result in a vicious cycle where you feel tired, so you reach for caffeine but cannot rest because of your afternoon coffee. Caffeine stimulates your adrenal glands, causing them to overwork and create a cortisol imbalance, affecting overall energy and quality. The advice is to limit yourself to 1-2 cups of caffeine in the morning and avoid all caffeine in the afternoon and evening.

Establish A Consistent Bedtime

Staying up late and pushing past fatigue is common. It seems like you get more done, but in the long run, you are hurting your body and are less productive. To stay awake, you may get energy from a cortisol spike, impacting your ability to calm down and get to sleep.

You may have been able to get away with this when you were in your 20s, but as we get older, this becomes more difficult. Ensure you go to bed at a reasonable time to give your body the rest it requires, generally 7 to 9 hours. This becomes easier if you set a bedtime and stick to it. You will find that you will wake up feeling much better and have a more productive day. This might take some trial and error, but you will know when you get enough rest when you wake up without an alarm.

Quit Smoking

Not only is smoking bad for your health, but it is also bad for sleeping. Smoking is a stimulant and can cause you to have a bad night. It can also throw off your circadian clock and significantly reduce the quality of your rest, even if your last smoke was hours before bedtime. The best thing for your sleep and your overall health is to stop smoking. Hypnotherapy is a proven method with a high success rate if you need assistance. Some medications may also help.

Create An Ideal Environment For Sleeping

Late evening exposure to artificial light, primarily TV and computers, can give our bodies the false signal that it is daytime. To combat this, turn off electronics at least an hour before bedtime. Wear blue-blocking glasses when the sun goes down. These glasses block the blue light emitted by electronics, which is especially disturbing to your brain’s ability to fall asleep appropriately. You might also consider investing in blackout curtains to keep any other forms of artificial light entering your room, such as streetlights.

Another factor to keep in mind is that when you are sleeping, your body aims to achieve a specific internal temperature. It is hard on your body if it is too cold or hot in the room. However, having the room on the colder side does induce the body to sleep vs. a hot temperature, which does not. Typically, the optimal temperature is between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit, but each person is different. Adjust the temperature in your room until you find the optimal temperature for you.

Sleep Disorders

Sometimes, the quality of your nightly rest is due to something you cannot control. Disorders such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome can affect your rest without you realizing it. Pain can also be a factor. If you cannot get comfortable, how are you supposed to fall and stay asleep?

Pain can keep you awake. If you have pain in your body, seek help to alleviate the pain. If it does not need surgery, there are many natural and effective treatments for pain: acupuncture, craniosacral, Prolozone, CBD, hypnotherapy, massage, chiropractor, physical therapy, and more. Get your pain adequately evaluated and treated, and you should rest much better.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can also affect your ability to get quality rest. This disorder is when the airflow to your lungs is obstructed at night. A common symptom is constant snorting throughout the night. If you are told you snore, I highly advise a sleep study to evaluate whether you suffer from the disorder. A sleep study can even be done in the comfort of your home and reliably detect if you are sleeping poorly due to nighttime oxygen deprivation.

Mild sleep apnea can often be treated with weight loss, avoiding alcohol at night, and sleeping on your side. However, if it is significant, you may need a BiPAP or CPAP machine and a specialized mouthguard. Many people ignore the symptoms, but it is critical to get it treated. Swallow your pride and have a proper evaluation and treatment for sleep apnea.  Your life is worth it!

Restless Leg Syndrome

When it comes to other sleep problems, several factors could result in you suffering from poor quality rest. Restless leg syndrome is a disorder where legs may move involuntarily while you sleep, which wakes you up at night. This issue might also happen during long car or plane rides. Often, optimizing iron and magnesium levels can alleviate this issue. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine may also help. In severe cases, you may be prescribed medication.

Improve Your Sleep Today!

You are important; taking some time to ensure adequate, restful sleep will pay off with increased energy each day. Be aware of your thoughts and activities and consider their effect on your rest. Make changes to your routines to find the right balance so you can get the rest you need.If you try these tips and still struggle with sleep, we have various wellness practitioners to assist you. An Optimal You specializes in helping everyone achieve optimal health, including sleep. You can make an appointment by calling our office.

Posted In - Hormones, Sleep