We all have those nights when sleep just isn’t an option. We lay awake and stare at the ceiling, fall asleep and wake up a few hours later, or sleep so lightly that every little noise rouses us. Sleep is absolutely vital to our health. It recharges our system and actually gives growth hormone time to heal all the cells in our body.
Without sleep, we are foggy, groggy, irritable, confused, forgetful, tired, and moody. It’s like the seven dwarfs without the prince to rescue us!
First, take your energizing vitamins or medications in the morning (unless otherwise directed by your healthcare practitioner). Certain ones such as B-vitamins, adrenal support and thyroid medications may ramp people up and give them energy best suited for the earlier hours. This applies to coffee and caffeine drinks too.
Second, take your calming vitamins or medications at night (again, unless your healthcare practitioner says differently). A great example is the calcium/magnesium blends. These supplements are often relaxing to your system and can help you fall asleep.
Third, no sugary snacks or alcohol at least 2 hours before bed. Sugar, such as cookies, ice cream, candy, and brownies, set off your blood sugar response that leads to a crash a few hours later and you wake up. Alcohol wakes up your liver for processing and although you may fall asleep, you find yourself awake a few hours later.
Fourth, find some beneficial sleep habits. Walk away from the computer, turn off the TV, and generally begin to unwind about an hour before bed in order to encourage your mind to shut-down as well. If you’re busy doing computer work until 10pm, then jump into bed expecting some shut-eye, don’t be surprised if you’re still feeling “on.”
Fifth, sleep in total darkness. Cover your clock, close the door, and shut the blinds. Light often stimulates your cortisol to remain elevated which shuts down melatonin so that you can’t fall asleep or effectively hit your REM cycles. Cortisol is good in the morning to get you up out of bed, but not at night when you need some rest.