Healthy Perspective by Maureen Shortt


Sleep. 

The number one health complaint among American adults is lack of sleep. Whether it's the inability to fall asleep, or the inability to STAY asleep, it is an important topic. Too little sleep can put on weight, as it keeps you from naturally detoxing overnight, as well as puts you into an adrenal response the next day. It decreases brain function including focus and task performance.  Lack of sleep contributes to cardiovascular disease, and is the number one cause of on-the-job accidents.

Sleeplessness can happen for a number of reasons. Imbalanced blood sugar can wake you up as your blood sugar goes down. Production of the stress hormones such as cortisol can keep you awake or wake you up as your stress response continues overnight or kicks in again in the wee hours of the morning. Believe it or not, you can even be too exhausted to be able to sleep! It takes energy to keep your bodymind in the state of sleep. If you have worn yourself down with too much activity-even too much exercise-or if you have over stimulated yourself with too much technology, your body will not have the energy needed to hold you in the rest and restore state.

What to do? Here are some simple tips that can go a long way toward supporting your bodymind's natural sleep rhythms:

Go to bed by 10pm and be up by 6 am. Getting your 'second wind' at 10 or 11pm is not a good thing. It usually means getting hungry again and then going to bed with undigested food on your stomach, which is a recipe for poor sleep, toxicity, and weight gain. Sleeping late is also a recipe for that heavy feeling that is a sign of slower metabolism.

Stop all technology at least 90 minutes before bedtime so that your nervous system has a chance to begin to slow down and prepare for rest.

Take a warm bath or shower before bed to help your brain produce the hormones that put you to sleep and keep you asleep.

Massage your feet with a little oil before bed. This pulls the energy that goes to your brain down to your feet and can stop that racing mind.

If you wake during the night do some 'ocean breathing', hearing the sound of your breath at the back of your throat like the waves of the ocean.

You can begin to make some lifestyle choices around sleep that can have valuable short and long term effects. Good night!

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