On average, American adults only sleep 6.5 hours a night. This is far less than the recommended 8-9 hours.
“We know that chronic sleep deprivation increases our risk of almost every disease…When we sleep, our brains flush neurotoxins, we consolidate memories, we reinforce earning, we repair our bodies, we fight off infection and disease, we replenish hormones and neurotransmitters, and in general, we put our body in a physiological state to be able to thrive the next day. We have to give our bodies and minds their due rest” – Dr. Kirk Parsley.
What can you do to GET and STAY asleep every night??
Here are some some NATURAL sleep steps to help your body wind down and fall gently asleep.
- Go to bed and wake at the same time every day. This will help your body to get into a sleep rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep and get up in the morning.
- Wear light blocking glasses in the evening. Synthesis and secretion of melatonin is dramatically affected by light exposure to the eyes. Too much blue light at night (t.v., tablet, computer, phone) can disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm, potentially causing sleepless nights and daytime fatigue.
- Sleep in a dark room no light. Even the tiniest bit of light can disrupt your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin, thereby disrupting your sleep cycle. Even a small glow from your clock radio has the potential to interfere with your sleep.
- Use a sound machine (me, always!). You may not even realize it but sound can be a disruptive factor that’s keeping you awake.
- Shut down the computer and phone in bedroom. Electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) coming from phones and computers can disrupt your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin.
- Don’t sleep on your side. For sound, healthy sleep, you need to sleep on your back, with your neck and spine in a neutral position.
- Limit liquids and food 2 hours before bed. This will reduce the likelihood of needing to get up and go to the bathroom.
- Avoid alcohol. Though initially alcohol may make you drowsy the effect is short lived. Alcohol will also keep you from entering the deeper stages of sleep, where your body does most of its healing.
- Avoid caffeine. Caffeine can keep you from falling asleep at night
- Establish a bedtime routine. The key is to find something that makes you feel relaxed, then repeat it each night. This could include meditation, deep breathing, even diffusing pure essential oils like lavender in your bedroom at bedtime. Take five minutes a day and visualize your bedtime including yourself falling asleep peacefully.
Supplements and food can help with better deeper sleep. Here are a few to try.
Organic tart cherries or 100% organic tart cherry juice – one of the few natural sources of melatonin, which is responsible for the regulation of the body’s internal clock and sleep-wake cycle.
Pumpkin seeds – are rich in tryptophan, which may help with melatonin and serotonin production. Sprouted pumpkin seeds are the healthiest and most bioavailable!
Magnesium – naturally relaxes the body and quiets the mind. I take a magnesium supplement everyday. You can increase dose in the evening for sleep help.
Chamomile Tea – This herb is typically used in the form of infusions, teas, liquid extracts or essential oils made from the plant’s fresh or dried flower heads. It has sedative effects that may help with sleep,
Turkey (pastured is best)-high in tryptophan, which releases sleep-inducing melatonin.
Kale and other leafy greens- Kale, as well as spinach, Swiss chard, and collard greens, are full of calcium and magnesium. These help to boost melatonin and get your REM cycle on a nice rhythm.
Raw nuts– Nuts, like walnuts and almonds, are great sources of tryptophan, which is the amino acid that produces serotonin and melatonin (the sleepy-time hormones).
Lavender– inhalation of lavender before bed may improve sleep quality or placing a few drops on your pillow.
Vetiver essential oil is distilled from the roots of the plant. It’s rich and earthy smelling, and is a common go-to oil when you need to help your brain “shut-off”. Diffusing this oil in the bedroom at nighttime can help ease and calm the mind.
Bone broth– sipping a cup before bed can have sleep benefits. Bone broth contains glycine an amino acid. Glycine is the primary neurotransmitter that inhibits sleep cycle motor neurons during active sleep.
Glycine is thought to act in part by lowering body temperature at bedtime, signaling that it’s time to sleep. Sipping bone broth before bed provides a bioavailable source of glycine, helping us get deeper, more restorative sleep at night.
Sleep is just as important as good nutrition and exercise.
As we sleep our body repairs and regenerates itself!
Make good deep sleep a priority for better health!
Susie R. 🙂
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