Whether difficulty falling asleep, waking throughout the night or waking up much too early, lack of good sleep shows up as a symptom in my clinic more often than just about anything else.
Sleeeeeep. Why does this fundamental of well-being evade so many of us? Here are 7 simple things you can do to get it right (or better).
Call me if you still need help, there's plenty more up my sleeve.
Let’s start by talking about a healthy sleep cycle.
1) Routine is everything.
If sleep is an issue for you, start preparing for sleep at the same time every night. That’s right, preparing for sleep. You can’t expect your highly stimulated system to settle down and drift off to sleep if you haven’t prepared it for the shift from daytime to nighttime mode. Create some kind of routine or ritual which helps facilitate this transition. Some possibilities include:
a warm (Epsom Salt) bath
a short meditation
gentle stretching by candlelight
a process I call melting - lying in bed and as I drift to sleep imagining a yellow light radiate through me & melt away anything from the day that doesn't serve me
Have some other ideas or rituals? Please share in the comment box below!
2) Plan your day to prepare for good sleep at night.
Plenty of studies show that getting exercise during the day has an invaluable impact on sleep quality. Ideally, this means a minimum of 20 minutes of movement. If you can do it outside, even better. Fresh air, sunlight and exposure to nature allow your nervous system to unwind and relax, discharging negative tension and stress. Setting you up for a much higher probability for sound sleep at night.
3) Your bed is a sacred space.
Only use it for sleep, rest and sex. Your computer does not belong in your bed! Or your iPhone or any other electronic device. If you can, remove electronics from your bedroom altogether.
4) Set up the conditions for optimal sleep.
Turn off the Wifi before the start of your sleep routine. At our house, we have a timer which turns it off at 9 pm.
Sleep in total darkness. This helps your body produce melatonin, which acts on your system to help it slow down, relax and turn your awareness more inward.
Get your pets out of your bedroom, unless they truly truly won’t wake you.
5) Start your bedtime routine early.
Experiment with getting into bed by 9:30 so that you can fall asleep by 10. Even better: in bed by 9, asleep by 9:30 PM. The hours you get before midnight do much more to nourish and reset your system than the hours you get after midnight. While you sleep your organs rest & repair and your immune system gets revitalized. Which brings me to:
6) Finish eating your last meal at least 2-3 hours before heading to bed.
Your liver does its optimal work between 1-3 AM, so it’s important that your food has been fully digested and assimilated for optimal function. Depending on the meal, it takes between 4-8 hours (sometimes more) for your food to pass through your stomach and small intestine. When your digestive system gets bogged down, your liver can’t do its important nighttime work. For this same reason (and the spike it causes in your blood sugar as you process it), alcohol can have a very negative effect on your sleep. If you are struggling with sleep issues, abstain from drinking alcohol for a period of time. I'd try for 2-3 weeks here.
7) If you’ve got all or most of the above suggestions covered, see how these work for you:
Wet Sock Treatment--This basically involves wearing a pair of wet, cotton socks under a pair of dry wool socks when you go to bed. Check out this post for details.
Magnelevures - My all time best seller in the clinic. Dissolve one sachet of this potent powder in 1/2 cup of hot water and take it before bed. (Get an account & find it here)
Phosphorylated serine (for those who are wired at night and tired in the morning), begin with one capsule for two nights, two capsules for two nights and work up to 3 capsules per night over one week. (Click here for my favorite brand).