Did you know that adequate sleep can actually improve your life span? It can reduce inflammation, help your metabolism and your heart and encourage creativity! So why is it SO hard to get enough or to wake up feeling rested?
In honor of National Sleep Comfort Month I thought I would address what so many are asking for-a good nights rest! Pharmaceutical companies are raking in over $2.7 billion every year on sleep medication! So let’s get to the bottom of this key issue.
There are many factors that can contribute to a restless night. For me personally, if I am on my phone past 10 pm I will definitely be up at least an extra 45 minutes at night. If I have anything with caffeine-even dark chocolate, after 9 pm I will also be up later. In addition, if I get home late from work and I eat dinner quickly, and I get into the mode of returning phone calls from the day-forget it-I am up until midnight. I definitely need time to unwind and without that down time, my body can not rest.
If you think back to when you were a child bedtime was a process. First there was a bath, then a story, then perhaps a special drink or lullaby. It takes my nieces at least an hour to actually go to sleep because their bedtime ritual is so long!
Although lifestyle habits can contribute to restlessness, there can be underlying health reasons causing you to toss and turn. First off, your liver and your gallbladder detoxify from 10 pm-1 am each evening. So if those organs are in need of some cleansing, it can be more difficult for you to fall asleep each night. Also a blood sugar imbalance can cause you to wake up frequently during the night. Cortisol, an adrenal stress hormone, can also cause sleep disruption. Food allergies can also wreak havoc on your sleep, as well as digestive imbalances. In addition, your thyroid hormones control how rested you feel in the morning. Finally calcium and magnesium deficiencies can also contribute to a lack of sleep.
But this issue can also relate to your chakras, energy centers in the body. Sleep in particular relates to the Crown Chakra. On a physical level this energy center is related to the Pineal Gland, which directly controls our sleep. But the Crown chakra connects us to each other and to spirituality, to faith, and to something greater. If we are bogged down with concerns in our world, it clouds this chakra and makes it harder to sleep. This energy center is all about escaping our reality because maybe something about it is too difficult to face. Yet in the quiet of the night those thoughts that you may have been running from oftentimes resurface, making it harder to rest.
A restful night’s sleep is possible!
So, here is a list of tips to help you enjoy a sweet night's sleep a little more:
1-Start your bedtime routine at least an hour before you want to fall asleep. Turn off electronic devices and do not charge them near your bed. Perhaps do some gentle stretching, read a book, listen to soft music, or take a warm bath.
2-Incorporate essential oils. Lavender is especially helpful as it can lower cortisol. You can add a few drops to a bath or burn it in a diffuser.
3-Try to add in flower essences. These remedies work on the subtle body and if there is an emotional piece keeping you up at night, it can help to calm the mind. Journal your thoughts, your lists and your worries before you attempt to sleep.
4-Give to others. I know this isn’t a traditional item on a sleep list but this is actually an activity that connects you to your Crown Chakra by uniting you with others and filling your heart with love.
5-Perhaps try Melatonin or Valerian to help you rest more soundly. I prefer the time released melatonin so it slowly releases during the night. (Consult with your practitioner)
6-Consider a cleanse if your liver might be a little sluggish. (Allergies, weight gain, age spots, lethargic, headaches, digestive issues)
7-Try adding in calcium/magnesium before bed
8-Consider your sugar consumption and how often you are eating? Are you eating frequently enough? Are you getting protein, even a vegan source, with each meal?
9-Have your adrenals and your thyroid as well as your sex hormone levels checked to see if any of them could be playing a role in your sleeplessness.
10-Practice deep breathing. Take a few minutes each night to inhale to a count of 10 and exhale to a count of 10. Also incorporate meditation. This can be the traditional form, or any activity that makes you completely present and quiets your mind.
Sometimes you might need an even deeper reset - which is when a retreat (such as our Aurora Retreat) is just what the body and mind are calling for.