58. Healing better.
the sleep edition
In my humble opinion sleep is the foundation of true health and wellness. 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night is the golden standard meaning, it’s a non-negotiable for me.
Our body’s need sleep to be fully functioning, healthy, and resilient. Sleep refuels, rejuvenates, repairs, and restores us. According to the Scientific American, “Sleep serves to reenergize the body's cells, clear waste from the brain, and support learning and memory. It even plays vital roles in regulating mood, appetite and libido.”
So how is your sleep?
If you’re the average client I work with, you wish you could sleep more and better at the same time you’re continually convincing yourself you can get by with 5-6 hours a night. Unfortunately this is far from the truth.
Chronic sleep deprivation puts major stress on the body. The way we live our lives in the 21st century—spending hours on the computer, checking social media throughout the day, over-scheduling our days, and not taking adequate down time for true rest and relaxation—causes our bodies to be flooded with stress hormones which in turn leads to all sorts of not-so-fun things like anxiety, brain fog, concentration and memory issues, and even insomnia. Add in the blue light from your screen and you have a cocktail of circadian rhythm disruptors.
Keep a consistent schedule. I try to go to bed around the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, even on the weekends. Initially this was hard but after doing this for over 18 months, it’s easy. During the week I am in bed by 9pm and up by 5am. On the weekend, I vary those hours by no more than an hour in either direction. This means I’m usually in bed by 9:30-10pm and up by 5:30-6am.
Unplug. There are zero electronic devices in my bedroom besides a white noise machine/alarm clock which wakes me up with daylight to promote those normal circadian rhythms. This is the device I use.
Optimize your bedroom: My bedroom is dark, quiet, dark, and night it is on the colder side. Cooler temperatures are best for sleep promotion.
Eating + drinking: I avoid caffeine after 2pm. I usually eat my heaviest meal at lunch. I do not snack after dinner and try to give myself a 3 hour window between dinner and going to bed. If I drink more than a glass of wine at dinner, I notice I sleep poorly so I do limit myself to 1 glass if I’m drinking that night.
Movement: Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.
Unwind: Use a mind-body practice—meditation or mindfulness practice—or read or brain-dump in your journal to help calm your nervous system. A hot Epsom salt bath is also a great way to promote restful sleep.
STRUGGLING WITH SLEEP?
I am here to help! I have a wonderful toolbox of resources including mind-body practices, helpful herbs/botanicals + supplements, and other supportive measures to help you invite high-quality and adequate sleep back into your life.
We can also work on creating a plan for problems like autoimmune or chronic diseases which can greatly affect the quality of sleep you’re getting. Remember, not sleeping well can make the issues you’re already dealing with worse.
Sleep can feel easy and joyful. You can wake every day feeling rested. Let’s make it happen for you!
This week’s writing prompt:
What have you been leaning on to distract yourself or help yourself unplug?
How often do you feel the need to unplug? Ask yourself: is it because you’re avoiding something? Or because you need a break?