I am not sleeping well lately and during the day I am paying the price for that. Although when my head hits the pillow at night I fall asleep immediately. Now according to Dr. Michael Breus from thesleepdoctor.com that could actually be because of sleep deprivation. Well, I can believe that. Numerous nights of getting up in the middle of the night to check on my anxious child and making sure he is still in his bed combined with hormonal changes due to menopause leaves me utterly sleep deprived.
Things that affects your quality of sleep
Alcohol keeps you out of your deep sleep which is the restorative stage. If you struggle with headaches and migraines then it is better to cut down on the alcohol. It is a diuretic which makes you dehydrated and you need to be hydrated for good sleep. Alcohol is really taxing on your liver. This is a very hardworking organ and deals with a lot of metabolic processes, so easing up on the alcohol helps your liver to cope better.
Caffeine can affect you for up to 10 hours. Now that being said, some people, like my own sister, drinks a cuppa before bedtime. Me on the other hand, will toss and turn the whole night if I try that.
Although there is not enough data on the effect on your sleep, I can tell you that I sleep better the nights when I don’t have my phone in the room, even though it is on airplane mode.
Your bedroom environment can affect your sleep. Dust, mold and mildew can seriously affect the air quality. I know I will probably get a better night sleep as well if I do not have the fur baby on the bed.
Who doesn’t know the feeling of struggling to fall asleep when you are angry? Our emotions have a huge impact on our ability to unwind, fall asleep and stay asleep. Worry can keep you awake or wake you up in the middle of the night or early hours of the morning.
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Things you can do that will improve your sleep
1. Improve your sleep environment
Regular dusting and cleaning of the bedroom can help.
Changing your pillow every year.
Changing your mattress every 8 years
Getting block out curtains if you have a neighbor who leaves their outside light on.
2. Diet and probiotics
Our diet and the food and nutrients that we put into our bodies have a direct effect on how well we function during the day as well as impacting our sleep. Digestive issues can impact your sleep quality.
Dr Michael Ruscio, author of Healthy Gut, Healthy you unpacks the benefits of probiotics in his book. As the digestive symptoms improve, then the sleep quality can improve as well. You can find the book on Bookdepository.
3. Exercise and lifestyle adjustments
The benefits of exercise on your energy levels and overall health has been proven many times. Daily exercise is necessary to get your lymphatic system going. Your lymphatic system does not have a pump. You are the pump. The more you move the better your lymphatic system can eliminate metabolic waste and toxins.
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4. Using essential oils before bedtime
Often when we think of essential oils we think calming, good for sleep. Well, diffusing some Lavender and Chamomile oil before bedtime is very helpful to calm your mind. Your sense of smell is really powerful. A note on that though, if you do not find Lavender oil pleasant than pick another soothing oil. For instance Vetiver oil is a very sedative oil but I personally find the smell unpleasant. Well, I put a mixture of Lavender, Chamomile and Vetiver mixed with a carrier oil and put it on the soles of my feet before bedtime.
A topical application of essential oils before bedtime is almost more effective to calm the nervous system.
Dilute 1 drop of Lavender oil in 5 ml of carrier oil like Sweet Almond and apply it to your abdomen before bedtime. Or you can mix up a larger amount and use that before bedtime.
5 drops Lavender oil
5 drops Sandalwood oil
5 drops Clary Sage oil
Mix with 20 ml of carrier oil.
Apply to abdomen or bottom of feet before bedtime
You can also get synergy blends like this one which is specifically design for sleep. I often find it easier to use essentail oils if I have a blend on hand already.
Sleep Aid Essential Oil Blend 30 mL
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Melatonin does not induce sleep, it is a sleep regulator. It takes about an hour and a half to work. So take it 90 min before bedtime. It can be very helpful if you are struggling to fall asleep or wake up super early. I normally get my Melatonin from iHerb. You can use code LIZ0326 for a discount.
Magnesium spray before bedtime can help to soothe tired muscles but also to improve your sleep. You can take a bath with a cup of Epsom salts. You can add a couple of drops of Chamomile oil to the bath as well.
8. Weighted blanket
My daughter has a weighted blanket and absolutely loves it. So the principle of weighted blankets are that it feels like a gentle hug due to the weight of the blanket. This increase your serotonin and melatonin production and decrease your cortisol levels. So a very practical way to improve sleep.
9. Herbal teas
Sleepy time teas such as Chamomile or lesser known ones like Motherswort and Goodnight sleeping tea can be very beneficial. It is also great to just unwind at the end of the day before bedtime and just reflect back on the day.
10. Meditation and prayer
Starting and ending your day with prayer is not only a good way to communicate with your Creator but to increase your own humility and awareness that there is so many things that are completely out of our control. God in his goodness has given us sleep – to restore us physically and mentally on a daily basis.
11. Get to bed earlier
Between the hours of 11 pm and 4 am there is a lot of biochemical processes and restoration that your body is doing, Try to hit the pillow before 11 pm for sure. You will find that the hours that you sleep before midnight is more valuable. What I mean is you can sleep the same amount of hours but you will feel a lot more refreshed if you sleep say from 9:30 – 5:30 than when you do 11-7.
Take care of you so that you can take care of those you love