Getting a good night’s sleep is vital to good health. Its vital for stress reduction, for increasing energy and concentration levels, and for improving memory. During sleep, our body heals, repairs, detoxifys and ‘sorts through’ the day.
Sleep is when your internal ‘admin team’ gets to work and file away the important events of the day, shredding the rest! If you are not sleeping soundly, you will begin to feel stressed, be less alert and your body will start to mimic the signs of sickness. Did you know, that after just one week of sleep ‘debt’, your body begins to mimic the signs of diabetes! So what can you do about it?
Creating a bed time routine is a critical step to helping your body recognise when it is time to start winding down for sleep. This include things like:
- Going to bed at the same time each night – for optimal sleep, you should be in bed by 10pm, earlier if possible
- Aim to get up at the same time each morning
- Stop using devices, such as computers, phones, television, at least 1.5 hours before bed
- Avoid eating heavy meals late in the evening
- Have some ‘golden milk’ or a chamomile tea before bed (recipe below)
- Burn calming ‘pure’ essential oils such as lavender in the evening / in the bedroom. Use only ‘pure’ essential oils, not ‘synthetic’ versions to ensure a relaxing, physiological effect
- Ensure your bedroom is quiet, dark and cool. For optimal sleep, aim for 19 – 20degrees
- Avoid electric blankets
- Practice mindfulness meditation / focus on deep breathing as a way to relax in bed
- Make your bedroom an electronic-free zone. Eliminate digital clocks, laptops, tvs, fitbits etc.
- Use alarms only in flight mode and ensure these are situated as far away from you as possible
Melatonin is our body’s sleep hormone. Bright lights (think computers, phones, tv, etc) prevent it from kicking in. In fact, exposing your body to ‘blue light’ emitted from such devices can push your melatonin back by 1.5hours! This natural cue for sleep is simply not functioning well if you use these devices just before bed! One way to help counteract this, aside from turning off all electronica of course, is to wear coloured glasses that ‘block’ this disturbing blue-wave light. We stock these at Saltuary, thanks to our resident Chiropractor, Mark Uren. Mark specialises in treating ‘Sympathetic Dominance’ – basically a state of stress throughout the body, and often prescribes these to his clients to help them overcome stress – another major sleep disturbing issue.
Other important tips to be aware of, especially if you suffer with sleep problems include:
- Ensuring you don’t drink caffeinated drinks (coffee, soft drinks, energy drinks, etc) after 2pm. Some people can’t consume these at all without affecting sleep.
- Avoid heavy exercise after 7pm
- Avoid daytime naps if you can, but especially so after 4pm
- Do not smoke within 2 hours of bedtime
Circadian rhythms are our body’s natural rhythms that dictate many of our body’s processes, including sleep, or our ‘sleep wake’ cycle. Almost every single physiological event in our body displays a circadian rhythm – think hormones, sleep, etc. Particular organs and functions happen at particular times of the day. Our melatonin for example, is at it’s ‘natural’ peak at 2am. Our circadian rhythms are disrupted by jet lag, shift work, late nights, stress, etc. Environmental cues, such as bright light or darkness, are an important part of synchronising these rhythms so it’s advisable to get your sleep hygiene right, especially if you suffer with sleep problems.
If you wake at the same time every night, you may be interested in the ‘Chinese body clock’. Google this and you’ll see which organs are at their busiest at which hours of the night. As an example, if you are waking at the time when the liver is busiest, perhaps some liver loving practices – e.g.: minimising drinking, late nights, heavy foods, etc. – may help.
For anyone suffering sleep ‘debt’ such as those with newborns, or those experiencing a lot of stress in their lives, or regularly flying between time zones, float therapy can be a way of catching up on that all important sleep. One hour spent floating, is akin to 4 hours of restorative sleep in your body. We offer an Introductory Pack of 3 floats for just $153 for those who’ve not tried it before. We also have a range of herbal tablets that can be very beneficial for those struggling to sleep.
The other therapies offered at Saltuary can also benefit those with sleep concerns. Come in and speak to us if this concerns you and we’ll guide you through the most appropriate therapies for you.
Committing to good sleep hygiene practices is your first step to overcoming sleep problems. It isn’t always a quick road, but with the right practices and therapies, you can begin to turn things around.
Golden milk recipe:
Ingredients: Coconut milk, a dash of turmeric, a dash of ginger, a pinch of pepper and some honey/pure maple syrup all to taste.
Throw this all into a blender– heat, mix, drink! Voila! If you don’t have a blender, cut everything up and simply boil on the stove. (You may wish to omit the pepper as it can be a little stimulating for some)