Proper sleep is one of the simplest ways we can improve our health and quality of life. Sleep impacts our immune function, hormone balance, our ability to cope with stress, weight management and our mood. In fact poor sleep is linked to being a contributing factor to many chronic diseases making this an extremely important aspect in overall health. Are you getting enough sleep? Chances are not likely. Many people today are sleep deprived and poor sleep quality is impacting health for even those as young as infants. Being that it is such an essential component to overall health and well-being I have provided you with a few recommendations to help encourage you to get some zzz’s. Just get through this article first ;).
Natural health tips:
1. Consistent bed time: Going to bed at the same time every night positively impacts our health. Our body’s love consistency especially for proper hormone balance. Ensuring that your bedtime is not too late is also important, 10pm is what we should be consistently aiming for.
2. Dark room: Did you know that your room needs to be dark so that your body can produce appropriate levels of our sleep hormone, melatonin? So having the television on or falling asleep with a reading light on can prevent you from having a deep restorative sleep. Getting darker blinds, removing electronics and sleeping with a sleep mask are ways you can ensure your body produces adequate levels of melatonin.
3. Magnesium: Increasing your dietary intake of or supplementing magnesium can be very helpful in improving sleep quality. Magnesium is a smooth muscle relaxant and it can be just the thing we need to get our body into a nice relaxed state before bed. Good sources of magnesium are pumpkin seeds, spinach, soybeans, sesame seeds, black beans and quinoa. If I do supplement a patient with magnesium I always have them take it before bedtime. Speak to an ND to see if magnesium supplementation would be right for you.
4. Herbal Tea: There are great teas available now that contain herbs that make you sleepy so if you are having difficulties unwinding from your busy day, give one of them a try. Chamomile tea is also very easy to find and might be exactly what you need at the end of your stressful day. What I also love about daily tea drinking is for it’s ritualistic quality. What I mean by this is that you can have tea as your daily reminder that it is time to shut off your t.v., laptops, ipad, cell phones and just relax. Use this time to have fun with your family, read, meditate or a nice calming bath by candlelight.
5. Deep breathing: A great way to shift from multi-tasking mode to sleep mode is to do some deep belly breathing when you get into bed. Try 10 slow deep breaths to help you relax, just remember that the belly gets bigger on the inhale (this may take you a few times before you get it right). And if thats not enough to get you ready for sleep then try jotting down all your thoughts and tomorrow’s to do list in your journal. Often times if we can get our thoughts out of our head and onto paper we can let our mind relax.
Wishing you a wonderful sleep and great health as a result!
In great health & happiness,
Dr. Michelle Peris is a Naturopathic Doctor whose goal is to inspire health through educating, motivating and empowering people. She has a family based practice out of a clinic in Oakville, Ontario.
Contact Dr. Michelle today to book your 15 minute complimentary consult.