Who here likes to sleep?
Who here feels they get as much sleep as they need or deserve?
Let’s try and rectify this!
Sleep….what is it good for?
Absolutely everything. A good deep sleep is your body’s perfect opportunity to cleanse, detox, fortify, and rejuvenate. Among some of the things a good night’s sleep offers: improves memory, improves concentration, improves mood, repairs internal damage, regulates hormone production, decreases inflammation….on and on. Your brain even works on dissolving amyloid beta plaques during the night – the plaque associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. During the night your skin is very active, detoxing from the day. All your organs take time (especially liver) to detox efficiently during the night.
What to do at home
Make sure your room is sleep friendly – dark, quiet, and no electronics! Stop eating at least 2 hours before bed (or else your digestion will continue while you are lying down = your blood sugars will rise and disturb your sleep). Cut off your use of electronics 1/2 hour before bed. Give yourself the challenge of using an alarm clock (not your cell phone) to wake you up! Like we used to do in the olden days…..
There are lots of great natural sleep-aids out there. These include natural minerals as well as botanical ingredients. Here are some ingredients you will find in most sleep-aid formulas. Try them out!
This is your natural sleeping hormone. Your body makes this when it gets dark out, and it promotes the start of sleep. You may find melatonin supplements available (ranging from 1 mg to 10 mg). If you choose to try this, start out small (at 1 mg) and gently work your way to a higher dose if needed. Red cherries are a natural source of melatonin, which is cool! You can buy tart cherry concentrate and dilute some into a small glass of water 1/2 hour before bed.
This is an amino acid (tiny building block of protein) that helps sleep because it can turn into melatonin, and also serotonin (a feel-good molecule). People often associate tryptophan with turkey but you can also find it naturally occuring in other foods, like pumpkin seeds! Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, selenium, and tryptophan, making them a perfect sleep-inducing snack. Try pumpkin seed powder, OR a supplement called “5-HTP” which your body turns into tryptophan.
Magnesium helps sooth and calm your body and muscles. A magnesium citrate supplement does well, or even an epsom salt (chemically a form of magnesium!) bath before bed will help put your body in a restful state.
GABA or L-theanine
These are neuro-transmittors in your brain that promote relaxation and anti-anxiety.
Lemon Balm, Passionflower, Chamomile, Skullcap, Valerian, Hops and California Poppy
These are all useful herbs that you will find in many sleep formulas. Lemon balm is very calming and helps sooth upset stomach. Passionflower is great for calming a busy mind that ‘chatters’ all night. Chamomile is very soothing to the nervous system and promotes calmness. Skullcap promotes sleep and helps the nervous system. Valerian is a sedative herb which reduces anxiety and promotes sleep. Hops can help with anxiety and hyperactivity. Finally Poppy supports the nervous system and promotes relaxation.
Last but not least, I wanted to mention a really cool all-in-one supplement that includes almost everything I just mentioned here, in one bottle, in one therapeutic dose. It’s called Ortho Sleep by AOR. This is good for people who have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. I find it works amazingly well. I usually sleep well, but keep these around when needed. The first time I used it was on a flight to BC…..I had really bad anxiety and just wanted to sleep through the flight…..and it worked! That is a miracle if I ever heard one.