Improving Your Sleep Dilemma

Mike from South Carolina 

Sleep has been an issue for me for the last couple of years. I have been going to school, working, and supporting a family. My doctor has put me on medication, but I would like to see if there are any other options for me to improve my sleep. Can you help?

Dear Mike,

Just know that you are not alone in this journey! Sleep is a major health hurdle for so many people today. There are nutritional reasons for this and emotional factors as well. Sleep is one of our most important assets for optimal health. The average adult needs between 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep per day to fully rejuvenate and be ready for the next day. So many physiological processes happen during our different stages of sleep. Our hormones recharge, our immune system kicks in, and our digestive tract takes a break. Most of all it allows our brain to recharge and refuel to be ready to take on the following day. Many people collapse into bed each night and their mind is spinning of what to do the next day. Your body is exhausted and your mind is going 100 mph. Sound familiar? So what do we do? There are proven natural ways to get your body sleeping again. Let’s look at a few proven natural ways that can help you win this battle of the shuteye.

1. Create A Calming Environment For Sleeping.
This is vital. Our bodies are designed through a circadian rhythm to wind down in the evening. When we are in a house full of bright lights, computers, and TV screens, our pineal gland can not wind down. After 8pm, switch to mostly lamps in your rooms and limit TV and computer time. This will allow the pineal gland to begin to produce melatonin, a powerful hormone to help you get to sleep.

2. Reserve Your Bed For Sleep And Sex
This will get your mind to associate the bedroom with only these activities. Many sleep experts recommend avoiding playing on the computer and watching TV while in bed.

3. Drop The Temperature
It is know through various studies that keeping the room temperature between 64-66 degrees will get the core body into a place to induce better sleep.

4. Avoid Late Day Caffeine 
This includes coffee, tea, soda, chocolate, and any sugary type desserts.  Caffeine stimulates our brain to be in overdrive and increases excess production of hormones from our adrenal glands. 

5. Workout Earlier In The Day
Any vigorous workout in the evening is going to curtail your sleep patterns. When we exercise, we increase cortisol, a stress hormone. This hormone must be decreased in order for us to have sustained, quality, sleep. Keep our hard workouts to earlier in the day before 5pm. A casual walk after dinner , however, can calm the mind and reduce stress for a peaceful nights sleep.

6.Keep A Notepad At Bedside
When your mind is racing, write it down. Studies have shown us that writing our thoughts will help eliminate the clutter and allow us to drift off to sleep.

7.Be Regular With Your Sleep Schedule
The body likes a routine. Most experts agree that if you can go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, you will be more rested and productive during the day. This includes weekends. Remember, that there is no real “catching up” on your sleep. For the best results, create a routine and do your best to stick with it.

8.The 20-Minute Sleep Rule
If you haven’t fallen asleep within 20 minutes of laying in bed, then go find a spot to sit and read. Avoid watching TV or the computer, this will only increase brain activity. Reading helps to calm the mind. As soon as you feel drowsy, you can return to bed.

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