How cool would it to be a cat or a dog???
Having a good nights sleep will help to balance your hormones. While we’re sleeping, protein synthesis takes place, enabling cell repair & growth. Overnight our body is recovering from the damage caused by stress, cortisol release & UV rays…all whilst keeping our immune system in check too.
Sleep protects the brain, fights cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease & much much more. Melatonin is released whilst we sleep, which has a calming effect on our reproductive hormones & protects us against ovarian, endometrial, breast & prostate cancer.
Lack of sleep can lower our leptin levels….which makes us hungry. Plus we all know when you’re tired & grumpy you tend to make poorer food choices & are less motivated to exercise. Insomnia can also affect insulin resistance & type 2 diabetes. In one study 34% of women suffering with insomnia were more likely to develop symptoms of diabetes than women who slept 7-8hrs night.
Lack of sleep leads to persistently high cortisol levels…maybe you feel like you have a bit of a ‘muffin top’ or ‘love handles’ going on. And with fewer than 5hrs sleep, you’re more likely to gain weight. This is often a sign of excess cortisol & stress…maybe we really can ‘sleep it off’??!
Tips you can try today:
- Eliminating caffeine including coffee, chocolate, soft drinks & tea. The sensitivity to caffeine varies from each person, which is based on how quickly the body can eliminate caffeine.
- Eliminate alcohol before bed as not only does it stimulate the release of adrenaline but impairs the release of tryptophan to the brain. Tryptophan is the source of serotonin, which enhances sleep.
- Tryptophan can be found in bananas, turkey, tuna, figs, dates, nut butters & wholegrain crackers.
- Avoid a drop in blood sugar levels, which then stimulates a signal that it’s time to eat. Eating a whole grain snack before bed such as a whole grain bread, oatmeal or muffin or other complex carbohydrate will keep blood sugar levels constant.
- Try snacking on a small handful of almonds, brazil or cashew nuts before bed as these are high in magnesium levels which also aid sleep.
- Try some herbal teas such as chamomile or blends such as Sleepy time, Bedtime or my Organic Dreamtime Tea. Drink one cup when home from work, & another one about 1hr before bed.
- Have a regular exercise program to improve sleep quality. It’s best performed in the morning or early evening but not close to bedtime, as too much adrenaline is produced which stimulates to body.
- Try relaxation techniques to wind down the body & mind. Progressive relaxation forcefully contracts one muscle group for 1-2 seconds then relaxes. Begin contracting the face & neck muscles, then relax. Next the upper chest & arms, and then progress down the body. This process can be repeated a couple of times till you feel in a relaxed state.
- Try reading before bed though not an action book or one that will stimulate your thoughts too much.
- Take a bath with Epsom salts(which contain magnesium) & add few drops of lavender essential oil to relax the body & mind. Light a candle & relax by candle light.
- Try using some essential oils in an oil diffuser a couple of the hours before bed – try lavender, chamomile, lemon, rose, vetiver, clary sage.
- Put a couple of drops of Lavender essential oil onto a tissue & slip it into the pillow case to aid a restful sleep.
Insomnia can be a complex problem, but these are some simple ways you can help improve your situation today. For more detailed information tailored to your situation please book an appointment today!