Sweet Dreams

Sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health, yet millions of Americans report being regularly sleep-deprived.  Without the proper amount of restful sleep, you can’t be at your best.  Sleep gives your body the time it needs to restore itself when you are well, and heal itself when you are not. Your immune system benefits from a good night’s rest.  A lack of proper sleep over time has been shown to be a factor in heart attacks, high blood pressure, and depression.  In recent years, research has even linked chronic sleep deprivation to weight gain.  Researchers have discovered that how much you sleep can affect hormonal activity tied to your appetite – specifically, the hormones leptin and ghrelin.  Both can influence appetite and studies show that production of these may be influenced by how much or how little we sleep.

Don’t you always feel and look better after a good night’s sleep?  I find everything I do seems to go better when I feel well rested.  Getting enough sleep on a regular basis is vital to your well-being, so I’ve put together some suggestions for how to make restful sleep part of your lifestyle more consistently.

  • Chronic sleep difficulty is often a symptom of an underlying problem.  In order to address the sleep issue, the underlying imbalance must be identified and corrected.  Examples of an imbalance might be chronic stress, excessive  stimulants such as caffeine or those found in some medications, a diet high in sugar, or too much alcohol, which can interrupt sleep.  If you are consistently suffering from sleep troubles, take a look and see if one of these culprits might be to blame.
  • Chronic pain and hormonal imbalances can interfere with restful sleep and In either of these cases, an appointment with your wellness provider is in order.  A trained professional can assist you in pinpointing the difficulty and developing a treatment plan tailored to your particular situation.
  • Regular exercise is of great benefit in maintaining healthy sleep patterns.  It’s best to exercise earlier in the day, at least 4- 6 hours before bedtime. Exercising too late in the day can be over-stimulating and work against your natural sleep rhythms.
  • Check out your caffeine consumption.  If, in addition to your morning coffee, you  regularly drink caffeinated colas or teas, the caffeine will add up. Decrease the amount of caffeine you have, and try not to have any later in the day, say, after 2:00 p.m.  Experiment to see what works for you.
  • Prepare yourself for sleep.  Take at least an hour before you get into bed to wind down.  Shut down your computer, and reduce other types of stimulation in your environment.  Read, put on some quiet music, and give your body some time to relax and unwind.
  • Finally, establish a consistent sleep and wake routine.  This is key to training your body and mind in creating a healthy and consistent sleep cycle. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time, even on weekends, if possible.

If you have any ideas on this topic, or solutions that have worked for you, I would love to hear them. Feel free to email me at any time at suzanne@evergreenlifeandwellness.com.

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