Insomnia is at epidemic proportions in America and many other countries where the push to go, go, go is driving the body into overdrive. This is not normal, this is not natural and worst of all, this is not healthy.
Getting enough sleep is important for many things including overall health and wellbeing. Sleep is as essential as air to life and without enough, we put tremendous strain on both our body and our mind.
Although you may think that everything on the inside comes to a stop when you sleep, in reality it is a time of great healing and regeneration. Some really important things are happening within us while we are asleep and without time to sleep these things are compromised.
While we are asleep our memories are consolidated – the brain takes in a tremendous amount of information during the day, and it has to be logged and recorded, processed and stored. They need to move from short-term memory to long-term memory. We also require sleep in order grow and restore muscle, repair tissue and synthesize hormones.
If you have a hard time getting to sleep at night or find yourself tossing and turning, there may be some things that you are doing that are making it very hard for your body to wind down before bedtime.
Here is just a sampling of some of the things that may be ruining your sleep…
9 Things That May Be Destroying Your Ability To Sleep
Exercise: Research shows that vigorous exercise up to two hours before bedtime can excite the body into a state that makes it difficult to fall asleep. Strenuous exercise releases adrenalin and noradrenalin. Both of these are stimulants that elevate your heart rate and body temperature. This kind of exercise can cause you to be alert and awake.
Computer, Tablet of Smartphone Use: Electronic devices emit a blue light that can disrupt sleep patterns as it prevents the production of melatonin that is necessary for the body to become sleepy. This would include computers, tablet, phones or even television.To get the best night’s sleep, don’t use a device at least an hour before bed. If you must use your tablet or smartphone before bed, be sure to turn down the brightness so that it does not interfere with your sleep.
Drink coffee (decaf also): One cup of coffee can contain anywhere from 80 to 100 milligrams of caffeine. Even though you may stay away from coffee right before bed, it could still bother you as caffeine stays in the body up to twelve hours. Surprisingly, decaf coffee may also contain up to 20 milligrams of caffeine. You can purchase decaf coffee that contains valerian (that promotes sleep) instead of caffeine. Also, stay clear of black or green teas and tea blends that contain caffeine. Choose herbal tea such as chamomile that will promote good sleep.
Eat chocolate: Chocolate is another source of caffeine that you should steer clear of before bed. Also, it has been found that chocolate contains a stimulant known as theobromine, which can increase heart rate and promote sleeplessness.
Drink alcohol: Although you may feel yourself relaxing when you drink alcohol and may even fall asleep easily, once your body start to metabolize the alcohol REM sleep is interrupted. REM sleep is the time when the most work is done to restore and rejuvenate. Because alcohol is a diuretic, you may wake to use the bathroom throughout the night. A couple of drinks with dinner are generally ok, just not right before bed.
Drink large amounts of water: Instead of drinking a ton of water right at bedtime, be sure you are getting enough to stay hydrated throughout the day. If you drink a lot right before bed, it is likely that you will have to get up to use the bathroom. This will disrupt your sleep pattern, and you may find it hard to get back to sleep after you get up.
Turn up the heat: Even though you may like a toasty house, you will sleep better when the temperature is between 60 and 70 degrees. The cooler your room, the better. Just be sure you have some cozy blankets to get under.
Take a shower: Hot baths are one thing, but a shower may just make you super alert right before bed. If at all possible, take your shower in the morning when you need a little help waking up!
Snacking: Filling your belly right before bed could be a recipe for disaster. Especially if your snack is processed or unhealthy in any way. Have a light, healthy snack about an hour before bed and you will find that you sleep better.
On the flipside, here is a short list of some things you can do to help your body wind down for the best night’s sleep ever…
9 Things You Can Do To Get The Best Sleep Ever
Meditate: Meditation helps you to get your mind right before bed. Take some time to relax, breathe deeply and empty your thoughts. This clears the distractions and gives you peace before going to sleep.
Take a warm bath: A nice warm bath with some soothing lavender essential oil is a great way to pamper yourself before bed. Just don’t fall asleep in the bath!
Stick to a routine: The body loves a routine. Try to go tot bed and get up at around the same time each day/night. Don’t stray too much or you will through your sleep schedule off.
Listen to soothing music: Put on your headphones and listen to some quiet and soothing music before bed. Especially music without lyrics. It will lull you to sleep.
Drink herbal tea: Drinking a cup of herbal tea can help you relax and fall asleep. Be sure not to overdo it, one cup should do the trick. And, don’t forget to use the bathroom before retiring so that you don’t have to get up to go.
Stretch: A few, very gentle stretches will help release some toxins and relax your body. You can even do them in bed.
Dim the lights: You will sleep best in a very dark room. Be sure to dim the lights before hopping in bed.
Write in your journal: Emptying your thoughts for the day can be very beneficial to a good night’s sleep. This is especially true if you end your day on a good note – remembering all the things that you are grateful for.
Use essential oils: Learn how to use essential oils to help ease you into restful sleep. This article will put you on the right track.
Are you sleepy yet?