Nourish

On Sleep

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Sleep is a big issue that many seem to overlook it’s value and importance.

It is critical for healing. When you sleep, your organs regenerate and connective tissues and limbs heal. Muscles heal and repair and everything regenerates.

When good sleep is obtained, we feel better and our brain has more energy and we look better.

It seems as though more and more people I speak to are having trouble with sleep lately.

Insomnia or sleeplessness can be waking up in the  middle of the  night and not being able to fall back to sleep, or not falling asleep easily.

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Anyone who lacks suffice sleep knows it shows up the next day as reduced ability to concentrate , function and perform properly.

Lack of sleep leads to lethargy, fragile emotions and furthermore suppresses the immune system. Chronic sleep loss can lead to magnified problems such as depression, memory loss and risk of heart disease.

The body requires sleep just as it does water, food and oxygen to function.

Adrenal glands sit on the kidney. The adrenals pump out adrenaline, we use during the day while the nervous system is so active to go go go all day, and at night we need to recharge those batteries. Sleep is what does that.

Causes of poor sleep might be:

Going to bed at different times at night..not having approximate consistent bed times can throw off the body rhythm.

Daytime napping.. napping is okay but when napping too long, it can keep you up at night.

Poor sleep environment…too much noise and a bright lit room will interrupt the circadian rhythm and keep you awake.

Not enough exercise

Using smartphones computers TV all might interrupt to a calming state of rest.

Alcohol and medications can alter sleep as well

Caffeine ..having too much caffeine or too close to bedtime will affect sleep.

How much sleep do we need?

5 hours of sound sleep is the required imperative amount in order to have proper rest in order to recharge our batteries.

Ideally we want to get 7-8 hours to feel refreshed vibrant and optimal.

Athletes require more sleep for the high demand they put on their bodies requiring more muscle repair and recovery. Some athletes average even up to 10-12 hours.

We have our own internal body clocks called the circadian rhythm that regulates sleep patterns.

Our internal internal circadian biological clocks regulate the timing periods of sleeplessness and wakefulness throughout the day and night. The circadian rhythm dips and rises at different times of the day so adults strongest sleep generally occurs between 2-4 am and between 1am to 3am is when we are in our deepest sleep.

Circadian Biological clock is controlled by a part of the brain called the Supra schismatic nucleus (SCN). A group of cells that respond to light and dark signals. The SCN signals to other parts of the brain that controls hormones body temperature and other functions that play a role in making us feel sleepy or awake.

In the mornings with exposure to sunlight the SCN sends signals to raise body temperature and produce hormones such as cortisol. The sun also responds to  light by delaying the release of  other hormones like melatonin which is associated with sleep onset and is produced when the eyes signal to the sun that it is dark. Melatonin levels rise in the evening and stay elevated throughout the night promoting sleep. When it gets thrown off, its important to reset your clock.

Reset your clock:

Melatonin: a hormone secreted by the Pineal gland of the brain which helps us to relax so we can fall asleep.

Using a melatonin  supplement is helpful with its ability to rebalance your body clock and often used to treat jet lag. (I’ve experimented with several ones myself and I had great results with using the Benesom from Metagenics).

Food as medicine to boost seratonin. (melatonin is made from seratonin)

Raw Cacao

Fish Oils

Magnesium

Herbal Tea containing Ashwaganda, Valerian route, Lemon balm hops,chamomile or lavender.

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HOMEOPATHY:

Homeopathy has a wonderful history with treating insomnia. These are available at most health food stores and are a safe way to treat insomnia and sleeplessness.

Arcencium Album: useful when feeling anxious or fearful and aids with sleep

Coffea: When having a hard time sleep due to an activated nervous system either caused by excitement or something troubling Coffea aids in calming the nervous system

Nux Vomica:when feeling very irritable and waking before 2-4 am with racing thoughts due to stress this aids in helping calming down promoting better sleep

Ignatia : aids in sleeplessness after disappointments of grief

Passiflora: helps with restlessness and feelings of exhaustion.

HERBS: There are many herbs used to help treating insomnia and promote better sleep.

Valerian root: powerful, used in herbal teas or supplement form. Also good for changing time zones.

Kava: helps with anxiety

Scullcap: When feeling wired and feelings of not being able to slow down, Scullcap calms down the system allowing for a more relaxed state.

AROMATHERAPY: Essential oils can aid in bringing on sleep..using a quality brand of essential oils is very beneficial..Try rubbing two dabs on your wrists, back of the neck or can be massaged on the feet before bedtime.

Purchasing a diffuser is another great investment to create your atmosphere with aromatherapy.

Placing a few drops in a warm bath is also very relaxing and calming.

Lavender: known to be the “queen of calm” calms down an overactive nervous system.

SETTING THE SLEEP ENVIRONMENT:

Set your bedroom to create a sleep mood. Dim lighting, turn off any bright distracting lights, TV, computer lights, bright alarm clocks..

Power off smart phones and computer’s 30 minutes before bedtime. Try to unwind by reading, writing in a journal and or meditation with getting “quiet”.

Use a white noise machine if you are sensitive to noise and an eye mask for blocking out light.