A good nights sleep is one of the most important gifts we can give ourselves. In my experience I have found we don’t value sleep very much in our society. Sleep researchers say that 50 to 70 million US adults, about a quarter of our population, have a sleep problem.
Occasional sleeplessness can happen for many reasons. Stress is one of the biggest culprits. Years ago when I was struggling with my business and marriage I had so much stress my body couldn’t decrease stress hormones like cortisol at night and I would lie awake tossing and turning.
Sleeplessness can be related to blood sugar imbalance. When blood sugar is unstable you can’t sleep through the night. When your blood sugar crashes you wake up. To encourage uninterrupted sleep, you must have stable blood sugar and be a good fat burner. Fat is the slow burning fuel that allows you to sleep through the night.
A deficiency of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine can result in restless sleep or the inability to fall asleep. The most common cause for a serotonin or dopamine deficiency is poor blood sugar control.
Ironically, if you are overtired your body is too depleted to calm itself down to fall asleep. You need energy to soothe yourself to sleep.
Whatever the case, not enough sleep has the same effect as not eating the right kinds of food to get the minerals and vitamins you need. Sleep is a nutrient and like any nutrient you eat, if your body is deprived of it you are not going to thrive.
You need the nutrient of sleep to have a healthy body and mind.
We heal when we sleep. Sleep is the foundation of your health. You could be taking all the right steps to creating health but if you are missing your sleep it’s all out the window.
Sleep is the foundation to all the major systems in our body. Lack of sleep has a profound effect on your gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, hormonal and immune systems including your moods, behaviors and therefore our relationships.
Your immune system does its major repair work while you sleep. This is when your body’s cells regenerate, rejuvenate and detoxify.
Benefits of Getting Enough Sleep:
- prevents weight gain, especially around your belly
- prevents you from getting sick,
- prevents premature aging
- helps you have more focus and energy to manage stress
- helps to fight off hypertension and heart disease.
Research shows just one night of less than 7 hours sleep stresses your adrenals and increases your cortisol. It causes you to crave sugar and carbohydrates. You get moody because your hormones get out of balance. Since you can’t focus adequately you are more likely to have an accident and make a mistake.
Sleep is the safest and cheapest restorative therapy you can find.
Lets talk solution….How do you sleep better and wake up refreshed? For most people a few changes in daily routine make a big difference.
Tips to Set Up Your Environment For Better Sleep
- Go to bed at the same time every night. Maintaining consistency will maintain your circadian rhythms, (those biological changes that happen every 24 hours) steady. A regular sleep schedule allows your body to naturally understand and crave sleep at that hour.
- Aim to go to bed between10-11 pm. Head in the direction of bed around 9:30 to wind down. The hormones in your body follow a natural circadian rhythm. Melatonin secretion starts around 9pm and ceases around 7:30am with your period of deepest sleep at 2am. Between 11 and 1 is when you get your most restorative sleep.
- Go away from the TV or computer 30 minutes before bed. The blue light from the TV or computer is a stimulant and will suppress your melatonin.
- Remove your phone and other electronics from your bedroom. The EMF (electromagnetic force) causes chemical changes in your brain that interrupt your sleeping patterns.
- Sleep in a cool room. Studies have shown that a room temperature between 62-68 degrees will help you sleep more soundly. If you are hot you are likely to wake up in the night.
- Darken your bedroom, TOTAL DARKNESS. Any light your body senses and will suppress your melatonin. Use drapes or blackout shades and cover any glowing boxes like an alarm clock.
- Comfortable Mattress and Pillow – You spend 7-8 hours every night in bed. Get the most comfortable mattress you can afford. Find a pillow that supports your head. When I changed pillows, my shoulder pains went away.
Tips to Prepare Your Body and Mind for Better Sleep
- Get Bright Sun Exposure During the Day – Getting 10-15 minutes of morning sunlight sets up your pineal gland to produce melatonin when it gets dark. If you don’t get enough light your pineal will not make enough melatonin.
- Relaxing Bath with Epsom Salts – Dissolving 2 pounds of Epsom Salts in a nice warm bath helps improve your sleep. The magnesium in Epsom saltis absorbed through the skin to replenish magnesium levels in the body. Magnesium helps promote a feeling of calm and relaxation. Put a few drops of lavender into the water and play soothing music for additional relaxation.
- Legs Up the Wall Pose For 5-10 Minutes – This restorative pose triggers the relaxation response, slowing the heart, breath, and brain waves. This is one of the easiest ways to deeply rest your body. It also benefits your adrenals, circulation, organs, heart, legs and nervous system. Try this restorative yoga pose and experience it for yourself. After 5 minutes of relaxing with your “legs up the wall”, you’ll feel so much better. All you need is a floor and a wall. Blankets and cushions are optional extras.
- Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana) – If you have trouble falling asleep or wake up in the night unable to go back to sleep, this breathing technique settles your body, mind and emotions. Do it for 5 minutes and notice the calm feeling that lets you fall asleep. Click here for directions.
- Take a walk after dinner – A short 5-10 minute walk after dinner helps digestion. You will have a deeper sleep if your body isn’t digesting food while sleeping. When I take a walk after dinner I sleep though the night without waking up at all, not even to pee.
- Tapping for Sleep – It is nice to do a few rounds of tapping at the end of the day to clear your energy. You will relax and sleep better. Tapping works very well especially if you are wound up and have a lot on your mind.
Here is one of my favorite tapping scripts to sleep better and wake up refreshed…
Tapping for Sleep
Start by taking 3 deep breaths. Tune into your body and notice any tension. Where is it? Is it in your shoulders, stomach, neck? Just notice without judgment. Whatever is showing up there for you to give it attention. With tapping we give it the attention it wants which helps it release.
- Even though I have some tension built up from the day and I feel it in my body I deeply and completely accept myself.
- Even though I have had a stressful day I choose to let go of all of my worries now and relax completely
- Even though I didn’t get everything done I wanted to today, that’s ok I am just going to forgive myself for that and honor myself for what I did today.
Tapping Through The Points
- EB: I feel stress in my body from the day
- SE: All this tension in my body (or put in the part that feels tight)
- UE: So many things to think about
- UN: I didn’t get everything done
- C: It’s hard to let it go
- CB: I feel some tension in my body
- UA: All these thoughts in my head
- TH: There is still so much to do
- EB: Letting go of all the tension in my body
- SE: It is safe for me to let go of my worries
- UE: Trusting the universe to take care of the details
- UN: I honor myself for what I did accomplish today
- C: It is safe for me to let go of my stress
- CB: I give myself permission to relax, unwind and sleep
- UA: I am grateful for this wonderful day and the good things I experienced
- TH: I can relax now and trust that all is well
- EB: I find peace in this moment
- SE: Peace in my body and mind
- UE: Peace in my heart and soul
- UN: I choose to release any tension
- C: I feel the stress leaving my body
- CB: Letting the stress go from every cell in my body
- UA: Letting it go
- TH: Letting it all go..
- EB: I am so grateful for this day
- SE: I am letting go of any tension right now
- UE: It has been a good day
- UN: I appreciate all the people I encountered today
- C: I appreciate my body and all it does for me
- CB: Thank you for this incredible day
- UA: I appreciate being alive
- TH: I find peace in this moment
- EB: I relax and let go
- SE: I allow myself to get a good nights sleep
- UE: As I let go of the day, I am calm
- UN: I rest peacefully tonight
- C: My body and mind relax completely
- CB: I activate my body’s ability to sleep well
- UA: I am grateful for the love I felt today
- TH: Tomorrow I will wake up full of love and gratitude
At this point you will probably feel a little calmer. If you still feel wound up or stressed, keep tapping specifically on what is bothering you. Focus specifically on what exactly is bothering, in as much detail as possible. The more DETAILS you tap on the better and longer lasting your results are going to be.
I don’t use all these tools every day but it is good to have them available when needed. Most evenings I get into bed around 1 hour before I sleep, I’ll turn off the TV or computer, dim the lights, wash up, relax in bed and read a book.
Let me know if you have any questions or if you have trouble sleeping. I am happy to help. Type a comment below I always love hearing from you.