My nightly thoughts are as follows: Is this really happening? Is it Capitol or Capital? Where is the Constitution right now? Try to meditate. Breath in 4, hold 7 and out for 8. Did I wash my face? Maybe watch some news. No not the news. How do I explain this shit show to the girls? On and on and on…
Are you in my head too? Or is it just me?
This week was yet another whopper on the national news scene and in turn robbed me of some valuable sleep. I thought some of you may be struggling to fall asleep or many have trouble staying asleep. So let’s talk about making sleep a priority even in the most stressful times.
The average adult should get 7-9 hours of shut eye each night for optimal health and well-being. According to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) sleep isn’t just about getting your beauty sleep. Restorative sleep allows:
- Increased energy (so you can do all the things like exercise, self-care, taking care of work or family),
- Strengthened immune system (have you heard about COVID-19?),
- Heightened alertness, focus and creativity,
- Improved mood by reducing anxiety, irritability and mental exhaustion, and
- Increased libido (that may or many not interest you).
When I talk to my health coach clients, sleep is always a topic of discussion. If a client is experiencing weight gain, trouble concentrating, increased anxiety or feeling very emotional we talk sleep patterns and how to improve your rest. I wish we could make sleep as exciting to talk about as a sweaty, gritty workout!
How we gonna do it? Some things to consider:
- Nutrition support including:
- limit sugar and caffeine intake,
- have a light evening meal,
- crowd out late-night snacking with gentle yoga or meditation, journaling or reading, and
- get the big water gulps in early as ingesting liquids right before bed often leads to a dreaded middle-of-the-night bathroom run. Who actually can sleep after that happens?
- Create a relaxing environment by:
- Removing electronics from your room. Not only can the content keep you “glued” to the TV, but the blue light TVs, computers, laptops, cell phones, etc. can affect your body’s production of melatonin.
- Maybe even put your phone on “Do Not Disturb” (Gasp!).
- Make your bedroom like a dreamy spa!
- Reduce exposure to light and sound by hanging black out curtains to keep light out of your room or use an eye mask.
- Cancel noise with a sound machine, or fan, or
- use an essential oil diffusor with lavender. Getting sleepy just thinking about it!
- Routine bedtime. Just like with the kids.
- Try to go to sleep around the same time each night to allow your body to expect sleep. Set an alarm on your phone to alert you to Go To BED!
- If you can go to bed before 10 PM (good luck with that) you can avoid a cortisol spike which gives you extra glucose to stay awake.
- Consider a supplement (Discuss with your healthcare practitioner first).
- Drink chamomile tea before bed
- Adaptogens such as ashwagandha, lion’s mane and reishi mushrooms
- Melatonin is commonly used but research suggests we only need 1/2 or 1 mg to bring sleep so consider halving your dose
- CBD is an option for anxiety sufferers, but speak to your HCP or natural pharmacist
- Magnesium Glycinate – there are many types of magnesium as a supplement. This one promotes calming properties and may help reduce anxiety, depression, stress, and insomnia. A dose of 200-400 mg is recommended 30 minutes before bed. *It’s always a good idea to consult your healthcare provider before adding any dietary supplements to your routine.