A holistic approach to sleep wellness
We all know how terrible we feel when we don’t sleep well. What many people don’t know is the effect sleep deprivation is really having on our bodies.
Sleep is one of our basic human needs, right up there with air, water and food. Being constantly sleep deprived is the equivalent of eating nothing but junk food. Many people boast about how little sleep they need to “get by”. I don’t often hear people brag about all the junk food they eat. Who wants to just “get by” anyways? Why wouldn’t you want to be optimal?
We learn from an early age that we need to eat healthy food to be optimal, but somehow our sleep is often overlooked. If you understand that sleep is not a luxury but a requirement of our bodies, you can start to take steps to improve the quality of your sleep. These steps are a great place to start:
- Turn off your electronics at least an hour before bed. Most of you have probably heard this before but maybe you weren’t aware of what blue light is actually doing to your sleep. The blue light emitted from your devices (t.v., tablet, smartphone, laptop) actually stops the release of melatonin, the hormone that signals your brain and body that it’s time to get ready for sleep. When this happens, your body begins to feel stressed and you may have a hard time going to sleep.
- Drink lots of water. Our bodies repair at the cellular level when we are sleeping so it is important that we are properly fuelled. Drinking half of your body weight in ounces is ideal.
- Avoid caffeine after 2 pm. You have probably heard of people (or maybe you are one!) say that they can drink coffee and sleep right after. They may fall asleep but I can guarantee that the quality of their sleep is being compromised. Caffeine will increase your light sleep and reduce the amount of deep sleep leaving you feeling groggy the next day, even if you slept eight hours.
- Reduce stress throughout the day. If you don’t take any time to just be calm during the day, everything you have dealt with during your day will come flooding forward the minute you try to close your eyes. Meditating or light yoga right before bed is great for relieving stress but you should take relaxation breaks throughout your day so it is easier to manage a bedtime.
- Have a good bedtime routine. You should spend about thirty minutes preparing your mind and body for sleep. Washing your face, changing into pajamas, and light reading (an actual book – nothing back-lit) are great ways to signal the day’s end.
Sleep effects every process in our bodies. It is also effected by all the processes of our bodies. If you aren’t getting enough sleep it is no laughing matter. Sleep deprivation is responsible for many issues from depression to cancer.
Everyone’s sleep issues are different. If you are struggling with sleep and you can’t figure out why, or you know what is causing your sleep issues but you aren’t sure how to improve it, Sleep Wise is a great place to start!
To learn more visit: sleepwise.ca