A Sweet Night of Sleep

 

 

{yawn!} It’s nine o’clock on a Friday night and I’m ready for a date with my pillow.  Yup, you read that correctly. I’m all about the nine o’clock bedtime, even on the weekends.  Because my kids don’t understand that on weekends, I’d love a few extra zzzz’s in the mornings.  Maggie is up before six, regardless of what day it is.  So, late nights are a rarity for me.  And not only do I want an extra hour of sleep, but I want it to be “good” sleep.

Good quality sleep.  Ideally, 7-8 hours of sleep per night is ideal and I can bet many of you don’t get close to that on a regular basis.  It’s something we all want and yet up to 35% of us don’t get on a regular basis. That’s a third of our population, walking around like zombies most days.  Or worse, these people are so used to a lack of quality of sleep, that they don’t even recognize how tired they are and how that exhaustion is affecting their health.

  • Inflammatory response is heightened
  • Decreased memory
  • Emotionally stressed and lessened ability to control emotions
  • Higher incidence of accidents (driving is as impactful as driving with a .08% blood alcohol level)
  • Weak Immune System
  • Higher risk of heart disease
  • Risk of high blood pressure
  • Cognitive function is impaired
  • Increased incidence of depression
  • Cardiovascular stress
  • Higher risk of respiratory distress, heightening chance of getting a cold or flu virus
  • Obesity
  • Infertility

While one night of lack-lustre sleep won’t affect you too much, did you know that after just seven (7!) nights of too little sleep, scientists have noted more than 700 genetic changes that could lead to health complications such as obesity, heart disease, inflammatory response, and immunity?  I don’t know about the other Mamas out there, but I’m pretty sure I had up to eight years straight of less than quality sleep until I finally slept through the night soundly.

So, while good quality sleep may be hard to come by, there are a number of things you can do in order to give yourself a better chance of getting some.

  1. Get a LOT of good sun exposure per day.  Natural daylight is measured at 2000 lux and an average work environment with indoor lighting is no more than 1000 lux.  Human beings need a lot more natural light (higher lux) to be able to regulate our natural sleep rhythms.
  2. Exercise in the morning, not in the late afternoons or evenings.
  3. Eat smaller meals in the late afternoon or evening, saving your larger meals for earlier in the day.
  4. Avoid caffeine after 4PM.
  5. Avoid Limit Minimize Try for just one drink of alcohol before bed.  {ok, this is honestly advice from a lot of sleep expert heavy weights but I would be totally lying if I didn’t admit to a glass of wine at least three five nights a week}
  6. Tone down your environment a half hour before bed.  Turn off the TV and stop scrolling Facebook and Instagram.  Instead, play some soft music, breathe deeply, read something mindful, and enter into a quiet space before bed.
  7. Stick to a similar routine each night so that your body is prepared for bed.
  8. Go to bed in a cooler room, but with comfy blankets.  Drop the temperature of your room by a couple of degrees than what you’re used to during the day.
  9. Shut down all electronics and anything emitting light.  Sleeping in the dark is much better than with even the dimmest of night lights.

As much as we try to impact our environment for a most positive sleep, sometimes we need a little help in that department.  Here are two natural ways you can support your body for a better night.

  1.  Get adjusted by your family chiropractor.  In a 2005 study of 221 chiropractic patients, one third of the subjects who completed the required interview reported immediate effects on their sleep after a chiropractic adjustment. From this group of responders, a whopping 98% recorded improved results with chiropractic versus those whose sleep patterns did not get better.
  2. Diffuse essential oils.  I have a diffuser in each of our bedrooms which sends certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils while we sleep.  There are many oils that help with a better night’s sleep, including Lavender, Cedarwood, Vetiver, Grounding Blend, Calming Blend, Frankincense, Sandalwood, Bergamot, and Ylang Ylang. 2-4 drops in total {create your own blend, it’s fun!} and see how if affects your sleep!

Rest up, my friends!

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