What can I do to improve the quality of my sleep and why does my insomnia cause so many health problems?
One of the biggest mistakes people make, AND the easiest thing to fix for optimal health is SLEEP. In our fast paced society, full of 12-hour work days, over-scheduled kids activities, deadlines and late night TV, it’s safe to say, SLEEP is not always given the importance it deserves. Sleep is often the missing link in a lot of things such as weight loss, skin ailments, disease, immune deficiency disorders and more.
Humans can actually go longer without food than sleep and missing just 1 night of sleep can be a detriment to your health having negative effects on several hormones in our body, organ health, skin, joints, muscles and most importantly the brain.
Our bodies runs on a natural 24-hour cycle based on the light and dark from our planets. This system is known as the circadian system and works greatly with our physiology and the proper functioning of our brain and hormonal systems. Whenever light hits our eyes, our bodies are stimulated to think that its morning and the hormone cortisol, as well as other stress hormones are released so your body starts to prepare to wake up and begin the day. These stress hormones produced with the rising of the sun, should be at its highest between 6 am to 12 pm, at which point it starts to decelerate and beginning at about 6 pm will begin to decline to its lowest to allow the body to unwind and get ready for bed.
The most important part of this cycle takes place when we are supposed to be sleeping. The circadian cycle continues into our sleep and between 10pm-2am, physical repair in our body takes place and between 2am-6am, mental repair takes place. If you miss your sleep during any one of these time frames, you are missing out on the immune and repair energies needed to “heal” what your body needs.
With all this understood, it’s pretty clear how Insomnia can cause a long list of health problems. Even sleeping during the day does not allow proper recovery, physically and mentally that the body needs. Our body is a system of systems that all intricately work together to maintain homeostasis and keep us healthy and respecting that process, including sleep will definitely keep health problems at bay and prevent future doctor visits.
Here are some TIPS for improving your Quality of Sleep each night:
- EXERCISE 3-4 days per week and exercise hard so that you sleep well through the night (but don’t exercise 2-3 hours before bed)
- Allow for full recovery days from your exercise so that you are not over producing stress hormones and so that you provide for anabolic (tissue building) and not just catabolic actions.
- Eat well throughout the day, including real food and eating right for your own system.* (A protein type will sleep better and wake rested if they eat a meal higher in fat and protein within 2-3 hours to bed time)
- Watch your night time snacking as certain foods and drinks high in sugar and caffeine (i.e. chocolate, alcohol, soda) will keep you up and prevent you from getting a full night sleep.
- Set a bedtime every night and stick to it (Before 10 pm).
- Get in bed by this bedtime and read by low light. Avoid bright lights.
- Stretch & ELDOA’s** Right Before Bed
- Do not use cell phone, computer, tv or other electronic device 1-2 hours before bed and do not keep these items in your room while you sleep.
- Make sure it’s as dark as possible in the room you sleep in.
- Get rid of your high frequency alarm clock and avoid alarms that start off very loud.
- Train your body over time to sleep from 10:00 PM – 6:00 AM.
Remember, if you’ve been regularly experiencing Insomnia, and perhaps watch TV when you can’t sleep, be patient….these changes will not happen overnight. You have to give yourself time to adapt to the changes. With the right diet of whole foods, proper water intake, proper movement and rest, your hormones will start to work together properly and allow the 24-hour circadian clock to work its magic.
Contact me below for your assessment to get started.
*Primal Pattern Diet Assessment offered by Coach Seana at EarthFIT
** ELDOA’s offered by Coach Seana at WholeFIT