Let’s face it – Sleep is beauty rest – a time for our body to restore itself. It releases all the hormones that rebuild, recover, and repair us. Sleep increases our level of energy, protects immune function, builds muscle, facilitates fat burning, reduces cravings and hunger and gives us better appetite control. A great sleep program and stress reduction plan are far more important to your longevity, health, and happiness than even diet and exercise. But of course you want to do those too!
If we take care of ourselves on the inside, it manifests through us on the outside. And this anti-aging, increased energy, and vibrant skin formula is NOT found in a bottle or a drink.
Lack of sleep is the #1 stressor that takes our body out of balance. Sleep deprivation can also cause poor concentration, decreased motivation, lower sex drive, and more accident-prone.
So how can we get the 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night naturally? The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of sleep is about 7 hours. This amount is just above the disease state, or in other words – “minimum wage sleep”.
Some women going through menopause are particularly challenged by hot flashes and night sweats that cause restless sleep. Addressing hot flashes can be complex and MAY be something your physician can help you with by prescribing bio-identical hormones. But underlying unresolved stress, anxiety, and unfinished business can also exacerbate hot flashes. (Northrup, 2001).
With this in mind here are 10 NATURAL suggestions for a great night’s sleep:
1.Make sleep your highest health and fitness priority. Understand the importance of sleep and set your alarm clock an hour before bedtime and start to power down to prepare your mind and body for bed. Turn off electronics and incorporate a relaxation routine. It’s too easy to keep working until the last minute.
2.Maintain a regular sleep routine. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
3.Eat for Balance – Follow the rules of sensible eating. Eat breakfast like a queen, lunch like a princess, and dinner like a pauper. Eat within 1 hour of waking and never go more than 5 hours without eating. Try to eat 3 hours before bedtime
4.Manage stress – Stress increases cortisol, which needs to be low at bedtime. Cultivate stress management techniques that work for you. Breath-work, restorative yoga postures, guided relaxation meditation, creative expression through art, writing, music, gardening, etc., communication with loved ones, and of course EXERCISE! Exercise in the morning or early afternoon and make it count.
5.Heal the gut – Food intolerances, yeast overgrowth (candida), fungi, bacterial overgrowth, unbalanced pH, systemic inflammation, and leaky gut can all cause sleep disturbances. Parasites love to “party” at night! Best test for these is a stool test.
a.Pay attention to light and dark cycles of your day. Live in harmony with sun/moon energy. Dim lights at night to allow body to slow down and signal pineal gland to begin making melatonin which regulates sleep.
b.Be aware of electro magnetic field (EMFs) especially while sleeping. Move clock, I phone, or computer away from bedside table.
c.Don’t watch TV or read in bed. Reserve bed for 2 things – sleep and sex.
d.Have a quiet, dark, cool bedroom.
7.Hormones and brain chemistry – Check for blood sugar imbalances, fluctuating reproductive hormones, anxiety, depression, imbalanced brain chemistry (low serotonin, dopamine, or Gaba levels) Hormones and neurotransmitters play a huge role in sleep.
8.Chronic infections – Have a complete blood panel review to check for chronic infections and/or systemic inflammation. (Gum disease, sinus infections, gut bacteria, heart disease can be silent sleep disrupters).
9.Nutrient Deficiencies – vitamin B6 (helps improve mood and reduce anxiety too), zinc (important for skin health, reducing anxiety, improving mood, helping with blood sugar balance and PMS), calcium (builds melatonin – the sleep hormone), and magnesium (the calming mineral).
10.Winding down –Fill the bathtub and add 2 -4 cups of Epson salts and a little lavender oil. Epsom salts are magnesium rich, the relaxing mineral, and while soaking it absorbs through the skin. After the bath try a restorative yoga posture (like legs up the wall above), or read a hot and sexy romance novel to help lower your cortisol – the stress hormone. If you have a partner to cuddle with, go to bed at the same time. Sex is great for lowering cortisol and sound sleep! Sweet dreams!
Happiness is the key to longevity and getting a good night’s sleep is life’s #1 pleasure!
Northrup, C. (2001). The Wisdom of Menopause. New York, NY: Bantam Books.