Beautiful, fulfilling sleep. This pillar of health is easy to mention but the reality of actively honouring a full night’s rest comes as a struggle to many. And the consequences of lack of sleep are heavy:
- lowered immunity
- less able to adapt to stress
- digestive issues
- compromised methylation
- altered moods, cognition, and concentration
- augmented pain perception
- …and more depending on individual circumstances
So why do you come short of a full night’s rest? There is a multitude of reasons:
- Life transitions and changes such as parenthood, menopause, a new job, moving, school/work responsibilities
- Stress: you name it, whatever the current cause of worry and concern, it may cost you sleep
- Trauma; almost unnoticed, unresolved past traumas can cause an avoidance of sleep
- Physical distress
- …and more.
Trying to function without sleep can destroy one’s life, and may even be lethal to others. Driving without proper rest parallels inebriation. It is imperative that we examine this facet of health to truly understand it and dedicate an improvement to sleep.
Here are some guided suggestions on getting to bed and obtaining a solid and refreshing sleep.
Pillow and bed: Invest. Investing in a high-quality bed and pillow is an advantageous edge that cannot be underestimated. Your bed and pillow serves as your safehold during your sleep cycle. Feeling comfortable in both temperature and body position can make a major difference in awakening without the pains of sleeping in awkward, twisted positions. Take note of whether or not you sleep on your side or back and which is preferable for you to decide on purchasing a side or back sleeper pillow.
Melatonin (and vitamin D): Firstly, melatonin is a hormone that your pineal gland produces. The levels produced are responsive to light and may have a proportional balance with the amount of vitamin D you create/intake (be sure to take vitamin D supplements upon awaking, for night shift workers, that may be in the evenings). Melatonin is mighty powerful for the small amount secreted. It functions as an anti-oxidant to help repair and heal your body and is linked to healthy longevity. Take 20 to 30 minutes prior to sleeping.
Herbs: Passionflower, lemon balm, valerian, oats – there are many herbs that supply the body with a variety of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that exact responses of gentle sedation. Many plants are fantastic nervines that support the nervous system and support healthy stress responses. Do ensure that there are no contraindications with any medications you may be taking.
Inner Child work: This work is integral for everybody. As a child, you were faced with situations that may have been beyond your means of coping appropriately with emotional demands. As an adult now, those altered coping mechanisms become ingrained survival techniques that no longer serve a healthy approach for problem-solving. Therapy, medical care, self-help books, support groups, and workshops are some viable options to consider to do the inner work on healing past wounds. Taking care of this side of your healing can help immensely with sleep. Connect with Nicole Reilkoff, ND to find out more.
Reflexology: This modality provides deep healing through relaxation via work done on the feet. Using pressure points, soft meditations, original locally produced piano music and focused attention to your comfort. Reflexology makes sleeping easy; in fact, Nicole Reilkoff ND, delved into studying and applying the art of reflexology when she recalled massaging her feet nightly before going to bed for its soothing therapeutic effects.
Meditation: Sleeping poses little effort with a clear and calm mind. With a little focused effort, you can discover the sentiment of trust and faith with every intake and output of the breath. If you have a hard time with the concept or practice of meditation, find out how to overcome common obstacles in our blog on meditation.
Lighting: Dim lights prior to going to bed; if you don’t have a dimmer, arrange a scarf over your lampshade a gentle dimming effect. Avoiding bright lights and stimulation means closing off the TV, computer, phones, and other devices. Blackout curtains do shut out a lot of outside brightness.
Sleep hygiene: Lighting is a part of your sleep hygiene routine, so some of these tasks, you will want to do before you dim the lights. This is the routine you want to follow nightly so find the pace and the order that works best for you.
- Bathroom: Brushing your teeth, washing your face, moisturizing, and pyjamas.
- Stretch: Whether it’s gentle yoga or a few standard stretches, let go of tension with stretching.
- Quiet Time: Take 12 minutes for quiet contemplation, journaling, prayer, and reading.
Last but not least, if you find yourself tossing and turning, you can calm yourself by laying on your back and massaging your belly deeply, on and around the intestines. In no time you’ll sleep well.