Okay, I’m guilty.
I’ve been known to say, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” and “Life is too short to be caught sleeping”. AND, I paid dearly for it. Not sleeping properly after having my children contributed to my own post-partum depression and adrenal fatigue. Now, lack of sleep can be responsible for much crabbiness in my life. My kids know, mom needs her sleep.
What you may not know is that the lack of sleep is at least partially responsible for many chronic diseases. Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, brain fog, immune disorders, adrenal fatigue, infertility and hormone imbalance to name a few. If you have trouble sleeping, these are my top six sleep hygiene practices.
- Find and stick to your bedtime. Pick your time. You need 6-8 hours of good sleep every night. Hint: The sleep you get before midnight is actually deeper. The old adage of early to bed, early to rise is true!
- About an hour before bedtime, make some chamomile tea. Turn off ALL screens, turn down all the lights in your house, light a couple candles. Lavender is relaxing, use a good essential oil like döTerra.
- Do not watch the late news or other stress inducing programs. Violence of any kind is seen by the mind as real. This is a stress, even if you don’t find it stressful.
- Blackout curtains, are an absolute must for any of you all that are unfortunate enough to be working the night shift. If you are on the night shift, keeping your regular sleep hours is crucial to your long term health. Do not skip sleeping ever! 6 hours minimum!
- Relaxing music is fine. I have used relaxing guided meditation for years as a sleep aid during stressful times.
- Napping is fine before 2pm. But, it’s not a sleep-a-thon. Only nap 20-30 min maximum, any longer than this and you will be interrupting sleep later.
To those of you who like some quiet time after the kids go to bed: Consider this. If getting up in the morning is still challenging, and you’re falling asleep on the couch at 8pm anyway, first, you are tired!
Second, you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue. I was!! I wasn’t a morning person either. However, I figured out that my adrenals were dying and if I didn’t get more sleep, I was soon going to be really sick. I started going to bed earlier. I found I was able to get up and nurse at around 4am then stay up. That became a new habit for me. I learned that after I got Cooper back to sleep, I would have time to do the dishes, journal, read, have a little time to myself, go to the gym, and be back before the rest of the house got going.
Now, ideally, I go to bed around 9:30-10pm, get up between 4-5am, usually without much of an alarm. YES, some mornings I sleep in till 6 or 7 - I allow my body to get the rest it needs. Getting up early is a habit and can be changed with a little attitude adjustment.
It took time to get used to the new schedule. It will take you time. You have to let your body heal, and sleep is part of that healing. Rest and repair. Our bodies are repaired at night. No sleep, or poor sleep, poor repair.
I will use my Functional medicine sleuth abilities to identify the root causes of your sleep disruption. Then we will put a plan in place to get that much needed rest and heal your body.
Are you ready to feel great in the morning after a sound sleep?