There are two categories of sleep:
REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and NON-REM (Non- Rapid Eye Movement). The NON- REM goes through 3 stages ranging from a light doze to middle sleep ending in deep sleep. Countless things can interrupt our sleep. Many of us spend the night tossing, turning, pacing, and even television watching until the alarm sounds.
Countless people struggle everyday juggling work, kids, social obligations and trying to make it to the gym.
Daily doses of caffeine or refined sugar depletes the body of vitamins and minerals. The “quick fix” can leave you nervous, shaky and moody. By the end of the day it’s impossible to fall asleep.
Sleep is absolutely vital to coping emotionally and physically! Sleeping in on the weekend can’t replenish lost hours. Sorry folks, that’s an urban legend. Establish a sleep routine as soon as possible. Solid slumber leaves you rested, clears the head and repairs muscles. Sleep! Need I say more? Its easier to accomplish more in a shorter period if you “Don’t burn the candle at both ends!” as my Grandma used to say.
I am a strong believer in natural remedies. I have complied a list with that in mind. Trial and error are key. Poor sleep quality lasting more than a week should be discussed with your Naturopath or Medical Doctor. Serious health problems need to be ruled out.
- Start the day drinking hot water with lemon or herbal tea.
Coffee, espresso, double this, shot of that is the gold standard but not the best choice. Kicking caffeine is worse than quitting smoking for some. Caffeine is a drug and quitting cold turkey can lead to irritability, nervousness and migraines. Try and kick the habit by brewing half with caffeine and half without. If you truly love the taste of coffee then trick your brain as you wean yourself off.
- Increase MAGNESIUM in your diet.
This wonder mineral has a natural sedative quality. Eating a diet rich in whole grains, legumes and seeds will naturally boost magnesium.
- Enjoy chocolate!
Enjoy three squares of good quality dark chocolate containing 70% cocoa mass minimum mid-afternoon. It releases feel good endorphins.
The midday crash is easily recognizable. Redbull cans, coffee cups, donuts, candy wrappers, soda pops and even rockstar gum packages are tale tell signs of sleep deprivation. Make a change!
- Workout earlier in the day! Avoid exercising at least three hours before bedtime.
- Don’t party too hard!
Social events can be tricky. Keep in mind that alcohol, nicotine and high calorie meals all wreak havoc on even the best sleep routines.
- Try a yoga class.
The calm quiet hour can leave you feeling aligned. I am a big fan of hot yoga. The big sweat leaves me depleted and ready to hit the hay! Meditation is another fabulous fix.
- Try a swedish massage.
Turning off the outside world for an hour to be truly still and quiet is worth every penny. Many health insurance policies have a yearly allotment. Don’t let this go to waste.
Melissa Doldran RMT at Rebalance Sports Medicine in Toronto explained that massage relaxes the sympathetic nervous system, boosts the immune system and helps prevent sport injuries. It’s a win win!
It’s finally bedtime!! The bedroom is not the place for television, work or computer time. According to Toronto Naturopath Dr. Murphy, the bedroom is strictly reserved for “sleeping and sex!”. She emphasizes that a solid routine or “sleep hygiene” is key.
SLEEP SOLUTION CHECKLIST:
- Room temperature should be set at 65 degrees!
- Remove all bright lights from the room! Face the alarm clock backwards.
- Put cell phones on silent if possible.
Leaving ringer only on solely for emergencies works if call time guidelines have been established.
- Have a cup of decaffeinated herbal tea or warm milk (cow, almond, soy, etc)
- Take a warm bath.
Epsom salts go without saying. They relieve muscle fatigue. Adding lavender, chamomile or ylang-ylang essential oils to the hot water is also soothing. Rubbing essential oil on ear lobes and the temples calmed all 3 of my mini men as babies.
Using a lavender body lotion is a great solution to dry skin and an awesome sleep aid. I adore the one by L’Occitane Du Provence. My fabulous client Natasha introduced me last holiday season. Johnson and Johnson makes a lovely lavender line for babies. Its affordable but perfect for any age. Bath and Body Works makes a line of sleeping aids. I love the lavender pillow spray.
- Try an eye mask or ear plugs!!
- Try Melatonin
This is a natural sleep aid. Taking between 3 and 5 mg before bed makes nodding off easily. Vivid dreams are the only drawback. I like to take it 45 minutes before my intended bedtime. Always leave seven hours for sleeping. Waking up groggy is not ideal.
Sit down and get honest! Are there any bad habits you need to eliminate? Make a checklist of what you could try!
If none of these recommendations seem to do the trick make time to see your NATUROPATH or MEDICAL DOCTOR!
Or read her blogs www.balancerythmmotion.wordpress.com
Dr Robyn Murphy can be found on twitter @DrRobynMurphy