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Sleep 101

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Contrary to popular belief, your body doesn’t just turn off when you go to sleep. Many body operations actually turn on when you sleep, such as your body’s ability to make important hormones that keep you balanced. The human growth hormone secreted when we have good sleep is necessary to provide growth, weight control, vitality, healthy skin, hair and nails, energy and longevity.

Sleep is the most restorative habit that we do every day. The thought that we do not need seven to nine hours of sleep regularly is crazy!

Sleep deprivation can produce symptoms such as irritability, bouts of rage, fatigue, headaches, muscle and joint pain, weight gain, dizziness, depression, excessive emotional instability, (crying all of the time,) anxiety, cravings, over-eating, loss of sex drive, adrenal fatigue, insomnia and brain fog.

To get a good night’s sleep:

• Avoid eating too much food, chocolate, tea, coffee, sodas, and excessive salt or sugar, especially after dinner.
• Get eight hours of sleep; go to bed earlier.
• Make a to-do list each evening for the next day. This re-assures you that it will get done.
• Take a bath with lavender oil.
• Eliminate things in your room that keep you awake like animals, TV, a snoring person (get them help).
• Make your bedroom a sleep retreat. Keep the room cool and uncluttered.
• Do not work, watch TV (especially the news), check your e-mails or eat in bed. Bed is for sleep.
• Do not over-extend yourself; develop a bedtime routine and stick to it.
• Think about how we put our babies to bed; rubbing their backs, reading them a book, turning down the lights, these should be habits that you do for yourself. We all need a “turning off” period, so our brains know that it’s time to sleep.
• Identify relaxation techniques that work for you close to bedtime. Wind down, breathing slowing and deeply, consciously resting your mind, and every part of your body.
• Herbal teas: such as chamomile, passion flower, lemon balm, and valerian root can provide a calming effect.
• Exercise. People who work-out a minimum of four times per week, fall asleep faster and sleep better.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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