Updated: Oct 28, 2020
Tossing and turning all night?
Waking up tired and groggy as though you have not slept at all?
Who else has felt this before?
For several years leading up to my wellness journey, I felt like I wasn’t getting a good night's sleep one night after another. Worse, most nights, I felt like I didn’t sleep at all. Being a high performer by nature, it was tough for me to see my results slip. My memory was not what it usually was. The importance of sleep is well documented and plays a crucial role in:
Brain functions, such as problem-solving, learning, and response time.
Emotional wellness, such as coping with daily life situations, problem-solving, and control.
Physical health such as cell restoration, healing and restoration of blood vessels, Hormone balance, weight control, immune system, and more
When my energy level was at its lowest point, the lack of restorative sleep impacted many areas in my life.
My workouts started suffering too. I went from feeling like a powerhouse in the gym to feeling like I had lost strength overnight.
It was hard to get motivated to do everyday things that I love, like walking, hiking, yard work, etc.
Memory and problem solving were impacted too. This also led to overthinking things I would generally decide and move on from.
At the same time, stress and anxiety were at an all-time high in life. Something needed to seriously change. I took action in several areas. One major one included what I was doing to get a better night's sleep. Here are some steps that have helped me to continue to develop to keep improving my sleep.
Determine if you have an underlying cause that may be preventing you from getting a good night's sleep. Several health conditions can often interrupt sleep. These can include but are not limited to Menopause, depression, or other emotional issues, cardiovascular issues, Asthma, and thyroid issues. It is essential to check with your health practitioner to help identify causes. My preference is holistic care through a Holistic Chiropractor. To learn more about Holistic Chiropractic care, Visit here.
Journal before you go to bed. One study concluded that our brains process nearly 34 GB of information each day. Often all of that information can be processing as you lay your head at night. I have found the simple act of journaling before I go to sleep gets the happenings of the day out of my head and allows me to sleep more restful. One study of college students found that journaling before bed reduced worry, stress and increased sleep time and sleep quality.
Stretch before sleep. One review of studies showed that stretching before bed can improve quality of life, physical performance, and depression. Stretching helps me feel better rested in the morning, more focused the next day, and helps maintain low levels of stress and anxiety.
The temperature of the bedroom. One Study found that the temperature when sleeping is the most important aspect of sleep quality. Many reports suggest a temperature of 65 degrees for optimal sleep. My personal experience on this one continues to be a work in progress. I have noticed remarkably different sleep quality when it is a cooler temperature. The secret is getting the temperature down. My practice has been to turn down the heat at night in the house to 60-62 degrees. I’ll often open a window too. We also added a room-sized air conditioning unit to the room to further cool the air. Black and Decker provide several good options. There are small portable units like this one from Ontel Products.
Calm down with some tea before sleep. My two favorite types of tea at night are chamomile or Turmeric. Studies show that Tumeric can protect against oxidative stress and sleep deprivation. Personally, I have tried several. Because of its very unique taste, I have a hard time tolerating most except for one, which I regularly enjoy in the evening. This one by Organifi is smooth and calming at the end of a long day. Chamomile tea is widely thought to help sleep.
Get off your devices at least an hour before bed. In today’s world of connectedness, I know personally how hard it can be to disconnect. Blue light emitted by most electronic devices impacts the production of melatonin at night. This hormone helps control our sleep/wake cycle, also known as the Circadian rhythm. Blue light blocking options are now becoming more prevalent in the market to help reduce the impact too.
Getting a restful, restorative night sleep is possible. Start taking one step today and see what it does for you!