It can be difficult to ensure you’re getting enough sleep to function at your best.
When your sleep quality is poor, every part of your body suffers, and it can be difficult to diagnose what exactly is the cause behind common sleep issues.
Whether you wake up frequently during the night, have difficulty falling asleep, or feel fatigued after a long night’s rest, you can benefit from these natural tips to improve your sleep.
In the meantime, let’s investigate why quality sleep is necessary for your health.
Why Is Sleep Important?
Sleep is an essential measure of your overall health.
If you’re not getting a good night’s sleep every night, it may be affecting how you can perform daily tasks.
Lack of sleep, poor sleep quality, or inconsistent sleeping schedule can affect your mood, energy levels, clarity of thought, and overall brain function.
How Much Sleep Should You Be Getting?
Although it’s hard to pinpoint the exact number of hours you individually require, the National Sleep Foundation states that adults need about 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
Insufficient sleep is extremely problematic for your wellbeing, and is proven to interfere with brain function.
This 2012 study conducted by the CDC analyzes the sleep habits of over 40 million working adults, showing that those working in certain industries – such as manufacturing – have consistently short sleep duration.
Considering how an estimated 20% of automobile crashes are linked to drowsy driving, this study concludes we must do more to ensure that we are getting more – and better – sleep.
Although this is an American study, there is no reason to believe Canadian statistics are drastically different.
This study proves sleep directly affects how you interact with the world around you, and a lack of sleep is problematic for health and safety reasons.
What If You Have Trouble Falling Asleep?
Insomnia, a common sleep disorder that makes it difficult for you to fall asleep or stay asleep, can cause immense frustration and restlessness.
When you can’t sleep properly and don’t know why, everything about your day changes – from your energy levels to how well you perform daily tasks.
There are many factors that may be causing your insomnia, including:
• Stress – An active anxious mind does not lend itself well to resting. Worrying about family, work, or anything else may be the cause of your sleeplessness.
• Irregular sleeping schedule – If you’re going to bed or waking up at a different time each day, this may be affecting how well you can fall and stay asleep.
• Evening snacking – Unfortunately, your midnight snack may be worsening your sleep. Eating too much before bedtime may cause discomfort, acid reflux, or heartburn, which can keep you up.
What If You Wake Up Feeling Exhausted?
There’s nothing more frustrating than feeling exhausted, no matter how many hours of sleep you had the night before.
If you experience this or something similar, you may suffer from chronic fatigue.
Chronic fatigue is a condition defined by its unknown cause – if you’re suffering from chronic fatigue, you don’t know what’s causing it and it doesn’t improve with rest.
There are many potential explanations behind chronic fatigue including stress, hormonal imbalances, and immune system issues.
How To Optimize Your Sleep
Whether you’re suffering from insomnia or chronic fatigue, or you just want to ensure you’re getting the best quality sleep possible, there are many steps you can take to improve your sleep health.
1. Sleep In Complete Darkness
Even the smallest instance of light in your bedroom may be interfering with your sleep, whether it’s from your night light or the light in your hallway.
Sleeping in absolute darkness will make certain your body’s internal clock won’t be disrupted.
2. Keep Your Room Temperature Low
Your body naturally drops its temperature when you sleep.
Therefore, keeping your room at a low temperature – between 15 to 20 degrees Celsius – may improve the quality of your sleep.
3. Avoid Caffeine Before Bed
You may think the effects of your afternoon coffee or tea will be long gone by the time you go to bed, but that may not be the case.
Everyone metabolizes caffeine differently, and your body may not process it efficiently enough to make sure it isn’t impeding your sleep.
Be cautious of other potential sources of caffeine, such as diet pills and other medications.
4. Avoid Blue Light For 2 Hours Before Bed
It is increasingly difficult to avoid blue light in today’s society, considering how surrounded we are by electronics.
Blue light is a type of high-energy visible light emitted by electronic devices such as smart phones, computers, and lights.
Although it sounds scary, blue light isn’t always bad – exposure to blue light is shown to boost energy levels and alertness during the day.
However, it is problematic when you’re trying to sleep.
Blue light exposure can disrupt your circadian rhythm (known as your “body clock”) and suppress melatonin production, severely impeding the quality of your sleep.
The best option is to avoid using any screens before bedtime, but if that is unavoidable there are options to limit your blue light exposure.
F.lux is a popular computer program that automatically adjusts the colour and brightness of your screen depending on your location and time zone.
Additionally, using red light to counteract the blue light can be beneficial.
Red light can improve stress and melatonin production, leaving you with a good night’s sleep.
If you’re the type who likes to read a book before falling asleep, consider using a light with a red hue to it. A Himalayan salt lamp is a good option for this.
5. Drink Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea is not just a delicious, relaxing treat – it is also a powerful sleep aid.
Chamomile has been used for hundreds of years as an herbal remedy to treat insomnia.
Not only is it effective, but it is also a highly accessible and safe treatment.
You can find chamomile tea in most grocery stores and health food stores.
6. Eat Valerian Root
If you’re looking for something with a bit more punch, valerian root may be the herbal supplement for you.
Valerian root is used as treatment for insomnia, anxiety, and nervousness.
Although it is available in many forms, from tea to tincture, the most effective form is through oral supplements.
It is not recommended to take valerian root in addition to other sleep medications.
Contact Annex Naturopathic
The quality of your sleep effects everything about your daily life, from your mood to how efficiently your body functions.
Improving your sleep can greatly improve your quality of life.
There are many easy steps you can take to ensure you’re sleeping your best.
If you want to improve your sleep health, contact Annex Naturopathic.
We can help investigate the potential causes of your insomnia, chronic fatigue, lack of energy, restlessness, or any other sleep issues that are causing you trouble.
You don’t have to live with the stress that comes from having poor sleep quality.
Together, we can get to the bottom of your fatigue and figure out natural treatment solutions that work for you and your body.
Contact Annex Naturopathic today – we can help.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Marnie Luck, N.D
Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND