We sleep 20% less than we did 100 years ago and current statistics show that 2 million children have trouble sleeping!
Insomnia affects 1/3 of us at some point in our lives – and those of us who have gone through it know how much it can rock our world.
Sleep issues can be related to many different problems including hormonal imbalances, poor diet or a diet inappropriate for your current health needs, excessive stress or worry, lifestyle factors such as lack of exercise or excessive screen time, pain, and brain chemistry imbalances.
Sleep is one of the most important and necessary human functions. We must focus on improving our sleep quality to recharge our brains and give our body the deep rest it needs for memory and muscle recovery.
Test out these five simple tips to help you get a better night's sleep, and to hopefully, over time, end your sleep issues altogether.
Eat something before bed that helps produce the calming neurotransmitter serotonin. If you are in adrenal fatigue and wake up with your heart pounding or mind racing between 1-4am, it is likely that you are getting a cortisol spike (stress hormone) in response to a dip in insulin. Your body has gone into fight or flight mode because of low blood sugar.
The perfect nighttime snack for this is half an organic banana rolled in Himalayan pink salt with a handful of raw cashews. It will give you a full array of sleep-assisting vitamins and minerals you need to feel calm enough to drift off to sleep and stay asleep throughout the night. Our clients call this snack “Nature's Prozac”!
Another great nighttime snack is our Adrenal Healing Creamsicle.
Regularly stop caffeine after breakfast and have protein with your morning cup of Joe. Caffeine causes a spike in cortisol, so if you're not sleeping at night, as hard as it can be, caffeine should be the first thing to go – especially after 12:00 pm. If you must have that cup of coffee in the morning to be able to function, then be sure to have it with a breakfast that contains at least 25 grams of protein. Having protein first thing in the morning acts an anchor for our metabolism, which will set you up for a good night's sleep later. For those who suffer from pain and inflammation at night during sleep, we highly recommend using Golden Milk as your caffeine replacement or nighttime snack with a little bit of ghee (clarified butter) mixed in. The turmeric and ginger in this drink will help to slash inflammation and reduce pain.
Drink 8 ounces of tart cherry juice before bed because it stimulates the body’s own production of melatonin, our sleep hormone that makes us feel sleepy enough to fall and stay asleep. We must have adequate melatonin production during sleep to produce human growth hormone for repair. If you’ve had long-standing sleep trouble, then it’s a good idea to get your melatonin levels checked with your practitioner.
Supplements and teas can work wonders. Our favorite supplement for stress is a phospholipid compound naturally found in the brain called phosphatidylserine. It contains amino acids and fatty acids to balance brain chemistry and drive down cortisol and is found at all health food stores. It can either be taken at 100mg three times a day for overall brain function or just 100mg after dinner to bind to high cortisol. Pair that with some chamomile tea, and you're more likely to be headed for sweet dreams.
Develop a sleep hygiene routine where you slow down as you get ready for bed. Rub your feet with sesame oil and put on socks before going to sleep. That will begin to calm your system and help support your thyroid function by warming up your core temperature.
Put some lavender oil on your pillow and knock off all technology at least 30 minutes (preferably an hour) before bed because it suppresses melatonin production. If you must be on technology or have trouble breaking the habit, mitigate the effect on your sleep by wearing a pair of oh-so-fashionable Blue Blocker glasses and get the f.lux app on your devices (free in the app store), which will turn down the brightness of your screen automatically.
When you can put technology to bed an hour before you plan on going to sleep and opt for reading, or writing down a gratitude list followed by a desire list. Meditate and pray to release your worries and trust in something bigger than yourself to solve them, stretch and breath, and enjoy the transition process to a peaceful night's sleep!