Better Sleep and How To Achieve It!

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Better Sleep and How To Achieve It!

Bella Nani - Better Sleep and How To Achieve It

We all need sleep, it is essential to life.  Statistics show that we just aren’t getting it.  For some this is a symptom of parenthood.  Others may suffer from insomnia, sleep disturbances or just not having enough hours in a day.  Achieving better sleep may seem a myth for most people and that is why we feel that bringing you this article is so vitally important!  Better sleep should be something that you are constantly striving for.  It will help you achieve so much more in your life.  And it could improve your health in ways that you never imagined.  If you are ready for better sleep now, then read on for our tips!

Better Sleep Matters!

Sleep is actually a hormone dependent process.  This can seem daunting when you realize that there are many variables that can affect proper hormone balances such as foods, toxins, artificial lighting and much more.  It is easy to see where many people without insomnia or other sleep disturbances can fall into this pattern of not getting enough sleep.  It is also important to point out that hormone changes can also interrupt your sleep pattern negatively such as menopause, puberty and pregnancy.

Many, many people think that reaching for pharmaceutical options is the only way to achieve better sleep.  This should be carefully considered as, generally speaking, augmenting the hormone system artificially with these drugs is not without their own problems and are often discovered to have other impacts on other hormone functions as well.  We feel that it is important to address potential lifestyle causes of poor sleep as these can also have a negative impact on more than just your sleep.

The Sleep Problem

If sleep is dependent on hormones and you are having hormone balance issues then it is easy to understand that these problems don’t start just at bedtime.  Therefore these issues cannot just be fixed at bedtime.  Proper sleep hormone, melatonin, depends on your daytime hormone functions to be in check.  If your endocrine system in not functioning properly due to a hormone imbalance such as PCOS or Endometriosis for example, then you may find that proper sleep is hard to come by.  Treating the root cause of the hormone imbalance is often the key to solving the better sleep puzzle.  We would also like to point out that the stress cycle is also a big factor in your sleep.  Lack of sleep can cause stress and stress can lead to lack of sleep.

Lack of sleep = stress on the body = weight gain, premature aging, hormone imbalances, lower immune function, etc.  

What Happens When You Don’t Sleep?

Sleep is super important.  We have established this fact by now.  But you may be wondering how important it is.  Well, let’s look at what happens when you do not sleep.

  • Physical Health- when you sleep your body gets to work repairing tissue such as tissue in your heart and blood vessels.  Long term poor sleep is linked to increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.
  • Obesity- lack of sleep in and of itself can make you fat.  Studies have shown that with each hour of sleep lost, your odds of becoming obese went up.
  • Hormone Health- we don’t thing much more needs to be said here but there are a few other things that can be said.  Sleep helps maintain those pesky hormones that make you feel hungry.  If you are not getting enough sleep, you may feel that you are hungry all the time for no reason.  This can lead to weight  gain itself as you will feel the need to eat when you are not hungry and not be able to stop when you are actually full.
  • Insulin- sleep impacts how your body handles insulin.  Insulin is the hormone that regulates your blood sugar level.  Being sleep deficient will result in a higher than normal blood sugar level, which will lead to many more serious problems!
  • Growth and Fertility- deep sleep is what growing children and teens need in order to trigger the hormones needed to grow.  The hormone produced by this deep level of sleep will boost muscle mass and work on repairing those cells and tissues as they do in adults.
  • Learning and Memory- have you ever gotten a poor night sleep and couldn’t remember the keys you were looking for that were right in your hand?  Yep, sleep is the reason here too!  Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory in a process known as consolidation.

Where Does Better Sleep Start?

The best way to optimize your sleep is to start while you are awake!  You will need to look at a few factors such as your diet, any supplements you take and your exposure to artificial light and the outdoors.

Diet

Food can impact so many areas of your life and health, it’s no surprise that it can also impact your sleep.  Here are some suggestions on some good food choices for optimal sleep:

Healthy Fats such as coconut oil, quality meats, eggs, avocado and butter (but not too much) all help to provide you with the building blocks that are necessary to promote better sleep.

High antioxidant foods are important not just for good sleep but also the removal of toxins in the body.  Removing toxins is also an important step in improving sleep!  So, when the doctor tells you to eat your veggies, high nutrient fruits and herbal or green teas, heed their advice.  It is not without reasoning to include these items in your diet.

Quality proteins especially at dinner time.  First, stop eating at least 4 hours prior to sleep.  In a perfect world this would be prior to 6 pm every night and your evening meal would consist of proteins, vegetables and healthy fats.  These proteins are important to help prepare  your body for sleep.

Conversely you should look to avoid sugars, grains and vegetable oils.  Sugars at night should be avoided as they will spike and crask your blood sugar levels and lead to difficulty falling and staying asleep.  Grains can cause physical stress in your body if you have an intolerance to grains and this will alter the hormone cycle and impede your sleep.  Lastly, vegetable oils are artificial fats and these often cause problems in new skin formation as well as cause problems in the hormone cycle.  Also, hormones need saturated fats in order to be properly built, when we give them vegetable oils and other low quality building blocks, we are just asking for troubles in hormone production.

Supplements

It is always recommended to get all of your minerals and vitamins from your foods as these are the best and most high quality that you can get.  However, it is often impossible for us to achieve as our soil is becoming depleted of these nutrients to be passed into your foods.  Also, foods are being picked before they are ripe to be shipped all over the world for consumption.  So it is easy to see how you are no longer getting all of the needed vitamins and minerals in your foods and how you need to focus on secondary supplements to help you reach your daily needs.

Quality Omega 3’s are vital to your overall health and will greatly help your sleep.  Magnesium deficiency can have a big impact on your sleep quality.  Some people find that taking magnesium 30 minutes before bedtime can reap major benefits to your sleep.  Gelatin can help balance the amount of meats that are consumed.  Most people do not consume enough bone broths, organ meats and marrow to get enough natural gelatin and this can lead to problems in your sleep cycle.  To correct this, you can make yourself a good cup of chamomile or other herbal tea and add a tablespoon of gelatin to dissolve into it a few hours before bed to help promote better sleep.

Tips For Better Sleep

From routine to improving your sleep environment, here are a few tips to help you achieve better sleep!

  • wake and go to bed at the same time every day, even on the weekend.  This helps to train your body when it is appropriate to wake and go to sleep.  This will also help regulate your hormone cycle.
  • Drink enough water every day and stop about 2 hours before bed.  Proper hydration is so important for so many reasons.  We cannot stress this one enough!
  • Get at least 30 minutes of sunlight each day.  Listen, we are not saying to slather on the oil and lay out in the sun year round.  What we are say is that you need to expose yourself to the wide-spectrum light available from sunlight to help boost seratonin levels.  You will reap the rewards by improving your melatonin levels at night.
  • Practice meditation, prayers or other ways to help reduce your stress levels.
  • Keep the temperature in your sleeping environment below 70 degrees, generally around 65-68 degrees.
  • Add soft white noise such as falling rain or ocean sounds to soothe yourself to sleep.
  • Avoid artificial light 30 minutes prior to bed.  Television, tablets, phone screens and computers all emit blue light which stimulates a part of your brain that will keep you awake longer.  If you stop using these items prior to bed and opt for light reading, you will reap better rewards for sleep!

In the end, we just want to help you create a happy, healthy, productive lifestyle.  Starting with overhauling your lifestyle to promote better sleep is a great place to start!  You will see that these steps that we have outlined can have tremendous results!  Make sleep a priority and you will see how much better you feel!

We understand how tough this challenge can be, especially if you have a new baby in the house but if you can try a few of the tips we outlined, you may also be able to teach your children healthy sleep habits that will last a lifetime.  If you would like help in reducing your stress levels in order to achieve better sleep, we do offer excellent reiki sessions and massage services!  We are always here to help if you reach out and contact us, we will be more than happy to help you in your journey!

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