We need sleep but we don’t realize how important it is until we don’t get the sleep we need. We struggle the next day, we drag, we are grumpy because of exhaustion. Co workers say go home and take a nap. Family just prays you get some rest because they head for cover every time you walk in the room. Or maybe that is just with me. If you do not sleep you do not have energy to be able to function. If you do not sleep your body will start breaking down. Science has linked the lack of sleep with a lowered immune system, weight gain, low sex drive, risk of heart disease, risk of diabetes, lack of balance, more accidents and there are more. The necessity of sleep is high.
There are ways to help you get better sleep. Yes there is medication but there are side effects. Any time you put medicine in your body, even over the counter medicine you are opening yourself up to side effects. I have personally seen the effects of medicine and how it can cause other issues and diseases. It is a whole snow ball effect. So what can you do? There are ways to hack your sleep. If you are struggling with getting enough sleep try a few of these methods that I list below and see if they work for you. On your Journey to Wellness you need to pay attention to your body. I don’t mean the part of your brain that is like a spoiled child wanting his or her own way. I mean the part of your body that God gave you as a special sense so that you can listen and help yourself become better. So start training your mind to pay attention. And why not start right here, with sleep.
In the “First” Magazine October 2017 issue it says that the average person would pay $120 to “guarantee a good night’s sleep”. This shows that the average person is desperate for rest. I believe it has become worse because in our modern age, we stay busy, we don’t relax, there are constant disrupters, we worry, there are so many reasons. You do not have to pay $120 let’s figure out if something can help change your amount of rest for a ton cheaper. We must first discuss what happens when we do not get the sleep we need. It is interesting that this subject is not that old. In 2007 research still showed that there was confusion of why we needed sleep. It seems funny to think that the scientists were trying to come up with reasons why we would need sleep. They discussed different theories, some of the theories were the inactivity theory. the energy conservation theory, the restorative theory and the Brain Plasticity theory. The last two theories have remained.
Even though I am not a scientist and I have not been studying this since the early 2000 I have noticed that the short term consequences of lack of sleep are the judgement is affected, we do not make wise decisions, mood is altered, anxiousness and fear are heightened, ability to learn and retain is decreased, accidents are increased, balance is off and there are probably more. Driving tired is compared to driving under the influence of alcohol. That is how important getting great rest is for driving. The long tern consequences are obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and early mortality.
Our bodies require sleep to restore, recuperate, rejuvenate, our memories are formed during sleep, muscles repair grow, tissue repair, hormones release and do their thing. The sleep foundation says that after you sleep what you learned before you sleep, you will retain more and you will also perform better on memory tasks. If you are in higher education or if you have children in school make sure the study before they go to sleep they will do better on tests.
There are some reasons that people can not sleep. Chronic worry and anxiety are the most common. People feel overwhelmed. They plan the next day and they worry that they didn’t do good enough the previous day. Even our children are affected. My 6 year old came home from school the other day worried that the next day was going to be a horrible day because she would have a lot of school work. She almost made herself sick over it. I had to stop everything and sit down and talk with her about not worrying about tomorrow. I told her worrying about tomorrow is bringing what may not happen tomorrow into today and making today bad. We as adults may know that we shouldn’t worry, but still we struggle with worry. Another thing that can cause some people to not be able to sleep is not having a consistent wake up and bed time. Hormonal changes, sleep apnea, depression, taking medication, eating too close to bedtime, electronic screens, noise and dust mites are all reasons that can cause lack of sleep. That list seemed long and you may have a few of these issues but don’t give up hope there are remedies and a few of these remedies may help you.
The medical practice likes to give medication for answers. If you are taking over the counter or prescription drugs I would ask you to consider weaning off them and try some natural methods. I will not give the list of medication but I will tell you that the list of side effects are long. A lot of sleep medication says the person must get 7 to 8 hours of sleep and do not drive the next day. Scary stuff. The risks outweighs the good. I have seen people come off of sleep medication with some of the remedies that are so read up to the end and hopefully you can find help instead of using sleep meds.
There are some funny methods, some great methods and a couple weird ones. I will list them so you can make a decision if you want to try them. The wake therapy is interesting. The person must stay awake for at least 24 hours and go to sleep when the chosen future bed time is met. I think the wake therapy is a dangerous method. don’t leave the house if you chose to try it. Another crazy one is to challenge yourself. The person tells their self they will not go to sleep, they drink a cup of tea, read a book but they do not watch TV or anything that cause them to be stimulated and they keep telling their self they will not go to sleep. The idea is that our body wants to do the opposite of what we say. I personally think that is dumb but maybe it works. Do a headstand was another one. I understand why they say this but I don’t know too many people who want to do a head stand before bed. It is to get the blood flow to the brain and glands. This is refreshing and causes good feelings. You could have similar results by laying on the floor with your buttocks against the wall and legs straight up the wall. Or lay down by your bed and legs up on the bed. One way suggested to cause relaxation, is go through your day backwards. Taking a mental vacation is another one, think of your ideal vacation in detail for a few minutes. Telling yourself a story, rocking, humming are all ways that were suggested to help you go to sleep. Any type of routine, example rub your belly each night or touch your nose tells your brain it is time to go to sleep . Tighten your muscles then relax them one at a time is a remedy. Also mimicking the rapid eye movement of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep is supposed to help you relax and go to sleep. Laying in bed, you close your eyes and then look from one side to the other quickly. Camping therapy is suggested, if you like the out doors. Nature is great way to return to your natural sleep rhythm. Plus sometimes in this modern age we hide from the sun. Sunshine is very important for sleep. We should have 20 minutes a day of sun without sunglasses or sunscreen. This helps our bodies to be awake during the day, with the sun and want to sleep at night. Another thing is the sunset helps for the body to respond to the correct time to go sleep. Putting away electronics would help during this time. If you are not out camping you could still mimic the sunset by having orange light in the evening and turning off or turn down the blue lights of the electronics. Hiding the clocks helps. Seeing how much sleep you are missing causes worry and the light can also cause you to stay awake. Breathing techniques can also help. Relax and breathe in through the nose for a slow count of 4 then hold your breath for a count of 4, then slowly release through the mouth for a slow count of 4 and hold for a count of 4, then start over. When you go to sleep your breathing slows so this exercise causes your body to believe it is starting to sleep. Lowering your body temperature is another way. Here are a few ways to do this, dunk your face in ice water, take a cold shower, take a warm bath, sleep naked and/or lower the room temperature between 65 to 68 degrees.
If you are a worrier, try reading the Bible or saying certain verses or up lifting sayings before you go to sleep. If you have troubles with indigestion or GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflex Disease do not eat before bed. If you have GERD you should be careful to not eat within 4 hours of bed. The average person should not eat 2 to 3 hours before bed. A few people can’t sleep if they are hungry if this is you then eat a hard boiled egg or a slice of cheese, don’t have a big meal or it just might keep you up. To eliminate dust mites wash your sheets once a week in hot water. Dust and vacuum your room weekly. Try sheets that are made to keep dust mites away. To counteract the blue light and electronics turn them off if possible, Most phones have a setting to turn blue light down. Also add orange light in the evenings to trick your body into thinking it is sunset. Salt lamps are great orange light. Wearing a sleep mask, having a fan on for white noise are also great ways to sleep.
I have read that 64% of women in their 50’s snore. Just like sleep apnea it can sometimes be because of the muscles in the soft palate becoming weak. so here is a great find, sing. Sing loud and strong for 20 minutes a day and that will strengthen those muscles. Let’s all try that. I will be singing more now. If it doesn’t work we will still have fun trying. Exercise also helps with sleep. According to sleep.org as little as 10 minutes a day of light exercise like walking or biking can improve the quality of sleep, especially if it is a long term habit. Exercise has been know to reduce sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. Eating food rich in prebiotics will help in your sleep. Prebiotics have a fiber in them that feed the good belly bacteria. Food like asparagus, lentils, chickpeas, garlic, onions and bananas are some prebiotic foods. There are great supplements that help with sleep. Melatonin in the right dose, don’t think more is better, Chamomile, Lavendar, L-Theamine, GABA, 5-HTP and Wuling Mushroom Extract. These are all great supplements to add to your nighttime routine to get the rest you need.
So why did I write this blog about sleep. If you can’t tell by now, then you haven’t watched my vlogs, I am passionate that we were made to have great sleep. God made us to restore, detox, rejuvenate and refresh when we sleep. Most people are not getting that type of quality sleep. I want to shout out IT IS POSSIBLE to have that type of great sleep. As a home 24/7 caregiver I don’t always get the amount of sleep suggested. Do you? I do get quality sleep even through the ups and downs of a 6 year old and until recently 2 parents over 80 years of age and I have to share it. So here are my personal tried and true tips. I shut out light, blue light and any type of light by using black out curtains and a mask. I have a fan going. You don’t have to get an app to play rain for white noise just turn on a fan at night. Constant noise does not keep you awake it is sudden noises. I have a salt lamp that is on until I crawl in bed to mimic the sunset, plus it supposedly cleanses the air, so that is a plus. I also try to not eat 2 hours before bed. That one is hard for me because I have a tendency to forget to eat during the day until I have everybody cared for and in bed. So I am still working on that one. Have the temperature of your room as cool as you can get it. During my short stint of menopause I would cover up and a minute later take the cover off, then in a minute put it on and then take it off. Or I would go to the bathroom and splash water and not dry off so that I could lay in bed a little wet and cool off. It is funny now, it wasn’t then. Now I don’t struggle with it as much but I like the room cool, my fan helps. Also one of my favorite ways to get quality sleep is with supplements. I need this to be simple. So I have found a supplement that adds all of the great supplements listed above and things to help with digestion, diabetes, cholesterol and more in a little package that I drink in 1 oz of water. Actually I just dump a scoop in my mouth and drink a little water after because I like how it tastes. I take it about an hour before I want to go to bed. Or when I was up every hour with my dad, I took it about 10pm and kept with my routine of getting up through out the night every hour. I was able to go back to sleep and to get the best sleep possible with that routine. And I must mention with that type of routine some people get sick, I have stayed healthy. This little scoop detoxes the body just like God made our bodies to do at night. I relax and restore. Those are my results. If you want to know more about this little power house just ask. What I want is for you to get the sleep that God planned for you to get. It is so important. Great sleep helps you to have a great day.
Love you and thanks for doing life with me,