Wellness, general

Sleeping problems – a holistic view

sleeping puppiesIt’s one o’clock in the morning and you still haven’t fallen asleep, or it’s three o’clock in the morning and you woke up to go to the bathroom but you can’t get to sleep again.

You are tired, exhausted and even frustrated! You already know that if you go to the family doctor all he will do is give you sleeping pills, so you feel stuck. Is there a better way to get a good night’s sleep?

In our high paced society, far too many people see sleep as a luxury rather than a necessity. What are the consequences of regularly getting poor sleep? Since your body does most of its repair work at night when you sleep all body systems are at risk. The immune system for one will fail you more, but the brain is the system mostly affected. Imagine starting the day with a decreased brain function?

My favorite definition of stress is:” THAT which is greater than your ability to adapt, in the moment.” Think deeply about that statement. When the body and mind are compromised by poor sleep you lose your adaptability and so it is expected that you will experience greater mental and physical stress during the next day.

OK, point is well made that sleep is a true NECESSITY.
So back to the problem of getting good sleep.

One sleep researcher suggests a light snack that combines proteins and carbohydrates; so eat half a banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter, or a whole wheat cracker with some cheese about 30 minutes before sleep.

Of course there are lots of natural or herbal remedies: Melatonin tops the list, Magnesium and Valerian root are next, or try a hot bath with Lavender. Or just drink a warm glass of milk for its Tryptophan content.

Wrong lifestyles also affect your sleep. Exercising late increases body temperature and the body needs to cool at night so exercise earlier in the day. Turn off the TV or any other screen that shines light in your eyes. The natural sleep cycle (Circadian cycle) is activated by lower lights after sunset, so keeping your eyes focused on TV, laptops, tablets, phone screens or other gadgets interferes with this normal cycle, making it harder for the brain to trigger the right hormonal levels that support drowsiness, like serotonin.

Truth is people permit themselves to start preparing for sleep too late every night. Working aged adults need 7-8 hours of sleep; seniors can get by with 6 hours; and school aged kids need 9-10 hours every night. Making excuses for allowing wrong lifestyles that keep you up too late will hurt you in the long run and affect your performance tomorrow! Make proper sleep a priority for you and teach your kids to prioritize sleep. It’s called “good parenting.”

Yours in Real Life,

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