Are you getting enough sleep?
We’ve all felt the effects of poor sleep- fatigue, decreased cognitive function, craving for carbohydrate foods and caffeine, low motivation and mood.
Let’s face it- everything’s compromised when we are not sufficiently rested.
Most often, it’s the small lifestyle changes that improve your sleep the most.
As naturopaths, the following are our top five recommended ways to help our patients increase the quality of their sleep.
Top 5 Ways to Improve the Quality and Quantity of Your Sleep
1. Maintain a consistent wake-up and bedtime.
We can help establish a regular circadian rhythm by encouraging a healthy cortisol pattern. When our body is used to winding down at the same time each night our cortisol level drops appropriately. When we rise from bed at the same time each morning our cortisol level spikes to give us energy.
2. Eliminate the use of electronics (mainly anything with a screen) for 1-2 hours before falling asleep.
Many people spend their hours before bed doing work on their laptops, watching Netflix or catching up on social media on their smartphones. These activities can be very stimulating to the brain (and it’s stress response). While at the same time, the blue lights coming from the screens themselves decrease the secretion of melatonin which is essential for restorative sleep.
3. If possible, make your bedroom and electronic free zone.
About 8 hours of your day, or 1/3 of your life, is spent sleeping. The time you spend asleep (where there isn’t any need for gadgets) is a great time to reduce exposure to electromagnetic fields- the frequencies/signals that are emitted by our electronics. Additionally, you won’t have to lay beside a phone lighting up, buzzing or beeping with notifications.
4. Buy an old school alarm clock.
To respond a common rebuttal for the last point – “but my phone is my alarm clock” – you can buy a good old simple alarm clock to wake you at a consistent time everyday. Furthermore, if you wake up to check the time- you’re not checking it on your phone where you may be tempted to check your notifications.
5. Write out what’s on your mind.
Going to bed anxious and cycling through lists of things to do and open loops in your mind can undoubtedly reduce sleep quality and quantity. Getting what’s in your head out on paper allows you to rest assured that you won’t forget anything and you can look at it the next day when it is a more appropriate time to take action.
Although these recommendations are simple, creating new habits requires time and perseverance. The rewards of these habits, waking up refreshed and having improved health, are worth the effort!
Yours in Health
Yours in Health,
Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND