Sleep disturbances can come from many factors including an imbalance of progesterone or estrogen, abnormal cortisol and adrenaline levels, abnormal thyroid function, food intolerances, anxiety and depression, sleep apnea and poor sleep hygiene. The answer is NOT to first give a sleeping pill, because these can be very addictive in the long run, and don’t address the underlying cause. The following simple steps can markedly improve the quantity and quality of your sleep.
Improving the quality of your sleep: 17 things to do!
1. Be in bed by 10pm: just being horizontal helps to decrease levels of adrenaline and cortisol which will kick in for a “second wind” beyond 10:30 pm.
2. NO NEWS: Images have huge impact on your immune and stress response mechanism, even if you aren’t conscious of it. Ditto for intense TV dramas.
3. Earplugs: use MACK’s silicone wax kind, not the sponge kind. These not only screen out noises, but allow you to hear your own breath sounds which are very hypnotic, getting you to deeper levels of sleep.
4. Eyemask/dark room-Complete darkness improves the quality of sleep.
5. Protein snack before bed: like a slice of turkey or some nut butter. This keeps your blood sugar level from becoming hypoglycemic and waking you up.
6. Avoid ALL caffeine, alcohol and refined sugars/flour: All affect blood sugar stability and adrenal function. Especially when consumed at night. Caffeine can stay in your system for 18-20 hours!
7. Magnesium: Most of us are magnesium depleted. It is important for allowing the nervous system to slow down and for muscles to relax. 150-600+ mg as citrate, glycinate, threonate,- depending on your needs.
8. Take Calcium-if taking, use at night- ask us which ones we recommend.
9. If appropriate Progesterone (cream or oral): use at night as prescribed. It helps to make you calm, relaxed and sleepy
10. Other nutrients/amino acids: 5HTP, Theanine, phosphatidyl serine, melatonin, GABA- ask us what we recommend.
11. Other herbs: Valerian root, chamomile, lavender- ask what we recommend.
12. Warm bath before bed in winter, cool in summer.
13. Exercise daily: prior to 8pm, otherwise you kick your adrenals into overdrive.
14. Treat night sweats, hot flashes and adrenal dysfunction as needed.
15. Watch/read something inspiring, funny or uplifting just before bed. Say prayers of gratitude.
16. No electronics in the bedroom. EMF’s and blue lights are major pineal gland [melatonin]. disruptors.
17. If you wake up and can’t go back to sleep, don’t panic. Use gratitude to enjoy the fact that a least you are in your bed. Use positive visual imagery, prayers, mantras, breath work. If you have to, dump racing thoughts into a journal–use a lighted pen so you don’t wake yourself with full light.