Is this warm weather keeping you up at night? Are you getting your 8 hours of solid sleep? About 40 million Americans deal with some sort of sleep problem, that probably includes some of you. When you do not get a full night’s restful sleep, your awake state is greatly affected. Sleep is an essential tool in repairing and revitalizing your body. Without repair you are more likely to develop chronic disease and when you aren’t refreshed you are more likely to make bad food choices, leading to possible obesity. Overall when you are tired, you are not going to move your life forward, and over a period of time you may start feeling dissatisfied with life. If there was only one thing about your lifestyle to change it would be your sleeping habits.
Here are some of the reasons why you might not be sleeping well:
– You didn’t give yourself enough time to sleep
– You need better sleeping arrangements
– The pain in your body is keeping you awake
– You have too many unresolved problems
– You sleep with someone (or a pet) who keeps you awake
– You had either sweets, alcohol, or caffeine too close to bedtime
– Your blood sugar isn’t stable!
There are probably other reasons, but these are the ones I often hear in the clinic.
I know it seems like there just aren’t enough hours in a day, but I can’t tell you enough how important it is to honor your body and give it the rest it deserves. If you have too many tasks to take care of, don’t sacrifice your sleep to get them done. Soliciting help and delegating, or lowering your standards will not wreak havoc on your health, but lack of sleep will.
The bedroom should be a sanctuary for sleep and sex. Watching tv might help you relax, but keep it out of the bedroom. Keeping your bedroom clean and uncluttered, cool, dark and electronic free is key to helping you to get a better night’s sleep.
Some pain only shows up at night, because lying still decreases circulation. Take the time before bed to treat tight muscles with heat. and treat sore spots (such as bursitis) with ice to make your night more enjoyable. If that isn’t enough, make an appointment to come in and get a massage or an acupuncture treatment to get you back on track.
If you’re up at night thinking about all your problems, you might as well get up, start writing them down and figure out your action steps to solve the issues. At bedtime when all the distractions fade into the night, but the chatter in your head doesn’t let you get away from your problems, take 20 minutes to try to understand what’s keeping you awake and what you should do about it in the morning, then head back to your pillow. I guarantee you will have a better night’s sleep.
If you can’t sleep because your partner snores, or your pet wakes you up, do something about it! Sleep in another room for awhile, and put your pet outside of your room (and away from your ear’s reach). It is more important to get the rest, than to sleep together.
Sugar, alcohol and caffeine can stay in your body for quite a while. I recommend not consuming any of the above after 3:00 pm to be on the safe side. If you are like me, don’t consume any! Not only does it keep me awake, it will give me crazy dreams. This brings me to the last item: blood sugar! In short when our body’s energy dips too low it will wake us up (seemingly for no reason). The simple solution to keeping your blood sugar stable is avoid sugars (and anything that turns into sugar), and to consume enough protein and good fats (a few nuts can do the trick).
Sleep well everyone!