There are times when I just can not get enough sleep. Everybody varies with the number of sleep hours necessary for them to function at their optimum but it is imperative that we get the right amount of sleep as it is well known that the body repairs itself during periods of sleep. In the evenings the production of the hormone Melatonin slowly increases, peaking at about 3am and then decreasing again in the early hours of the morning. Having a healthy sleep routine is essentially connected with a healthy production of melatonin and allowing the body to trigger this natural process. Problematic, broken or unrefreshing sleep leads to a variety of health symptoms and disease so if you need assistance to improve your sleep health then these tips are for you.
- Avoid screen time for at least two hours before bed. Electronic devices from TV’s, radios, iPads, smartphones, iPhones, and lights all emit blue‐enriched polychromatic light known as blue light (colour range on the visible light spectrum, defined by a certain wavelength range) that interferes with natural sleep. It has been found that “acute exposure to evening blue‐enriched light impacts on human sleep” via affecting non‐rapid eye movement and slow wave activity. Data has indicated that exposure to two hours of evening blue light impacted significantly on the temporal dynamics of sleep and production and secretion of melatonin 1.
- Change your light globes. You may not even be aware but your light globes may be too stimulating and contain bright cool blue light waves. Whilst this is fine during the day, finding softer bulbs with a warm red hue may help create a sleepy ambience for the evening. Mimic nature’s light patterns; cool in the morning, warmer in the evening during and after sunset. Swapping over your bedroom bulbs with options that are of a reddish hue will assist in promoting melatonin, the bodies sleepy hormone. There are many options on the market, Salt lamps can be beneficial as they are a warm, mellow light and they also assist with balancing electromagnetic pulses and positive ions improving the health of your household environment. There is a light bulb that mimics a sunset’s light wavelengths, even NASA has developed a special light bulb for astronauts who travel in space, as they require 8 hours of sleep too.
- Make sure you do not oversleep in the morning. Open the curtains and the windows (clearly, leave the windows shut if there are blizzards outside), but natural light and fresh air can assist with resetting sleep cycles and improve sleep health. Our body uses the NATURAL BLUE LIGHT from the sun to help promote a healthy daytime circadian rhythm and wakefulness throughout the day.
- Avoid alcohol, our bodies have a natural body cycle. Ever wondered why your toilet habits become regular? Or that you feel a certain motion or function at the same time every day? This is the bodies clock, referred to in Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as the Chinese Clock. The theory endeavours that the bodies organs follow a natural 24hours cycle. According to this TCM theory, the liver is working at around 1-3am. This is when the body is trying to neutralize toxins and create more blood, commonly alcoholics tend to report waking from sleep during this time period.
- Make sure your room is dark. Either use block out blinds or invest in an organic eye mask. Darkness stimulates the hormone melatonin to rush into your neural synapses and trigger sleep. Eye masks are not only relaxing and beneficial for yoga practices, but they also relax the ocular (eye muscles) which are directly connected into the Central Nervous System and can bring about a sleepy feeling over you. Have you ever noticed how when you’re tired you rub your eyes? Find an eye mask with the added benefits of aromatherapy oils, but make sure you find a natural or organic product that does not use synthetic fragrances as that could have negative health impacts when inhaled or when in contact with your skin.
- Avoid dietary stimulants before bed; alcohol, caffeine, smoking and processed foods
- Herbal Teas || preferably organic to avoid any pesticide residue affecting the therapeutic quality of the teas. Whilst you sleep the body is regenerating, therefore, the less the body needs to detoxify toxins or pesticides whilst sleeping, the more healing and recuperating your body will be doing.
- Organic aromatherapy oils || Relaxation oils such as Lavender 2, Neroli, Sandalwood and Sweet orange may assist with preparing the body for sleep. Always use good quality oils from a trusted source to ensure the oils have not been adulterated so therapeutic qualities are achieved.
- Get into a good sleep routine. Program your body to know sleep is coming. Try and go to sleep around the same time every evening. Eat dinner early and have enough time to wind down before having to jump into bed. Yes, this is not always achievable, but if you try and have a few consistent routine-like activities that are the same every night, your brain will acknowledge that its nearly time for bed and hopefully send your body the correct messages that sleep is on its way.
If you find sleep is still unachievable, contact your health practitioner to go over other factors that may be interrupting your bodies natural ability to sleep.
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Get a good night sleep || Jivana Health and Wellness
- Chellappa, S et al 2013, Acute exposure to evening blue‐enriched light impacts on human sleep, Journal of Sleep Research, Volume22, Issue5, Pages 573-580
- Cho, M-Y et al 2013, Effects of Aromatherapy on the Anxiety, Vital Signs, and Sleep Quality of Percutaneous Coronary Intervention Patients in Intensive Care Units, Hindawi Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2013 https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2013/381381/