I’m sure you know that our bodies go through all types of changes throughout a 24 hour period, but have you ever wondered exactly what our body is responsible for while we sleep? Do you want to know what happens when you don’t get enough sleep. Or better yet, do you know why it is sooooo important to get enough quality sleep?! Let me share with you a little of what I learned this past week while at the dōTERRA Essential Oil convention in Salt Lake City, Utah…
• Our body temperature drops to 96.6° between 10pm and 6 am.
• You are more likely to have a stroke between the hours of 6am and 12 noon.
• Alertness is so low at night, it is just as bad as being drunk (be careful of swing shift or night shift).
So, what really is going on while we sleep? Our brain is processing information and developing memories. It also regulates our growth and repair. Our body is replacing energy reserves and rebuilding metabolism as well as removing waste products. That doesn’t even go into all of the hormones and chemical reactions that happen between sleep and wake, it is quite the event every night!
Any kind of sleep disruption can wreak havoc in your life, but here are some warning signs whether it be short or long-term disruption…
If you have short-term sleep disruption, you may experience the following:
• Loss of Attention
• Failure to Process Information
• Impulsivity & Loss of Empathy
• Memory Impairment
• Reduction in Cognition and Creativity
Now, if it goes on long-term, very serious things may happen such as:
• Immune Suppression
• Increased Infection/Cancer Risk
• Increased Cardiovascular Disease
• Risk of Diabetes II
• Metabolic Syndrome
You may also experience mood instability, anxiety or turn to stimulant or sedative use. This can leave you at an increased risk of a mental health crisis!
So, if you are finding that you have check marked a couple symptoms from above, there are numerous things you can do for yourself! You want to do this regularly anyway, but if you work different shifts for your job, late night shifts or are on call, make sure that you get your regular checkups for bloodwork and to report any noticeable changes in the way you feel; this is a great way to be proactive to catch anything early! And of course, nutrition is super important! Keep that body fueled with appropriate whole foods for your body type, making sure to have “clean” high protein snacks as well as healthy fats! Plant based foods (mainly raw unless a medical situation requires otherwise) also help keep the body functioning properly. For myself, I include good vitamin/mineral supplementation.
What about your environment? Is that important to help you fall asleep? You’re darn tootin’ it is! Here are some tips to help you prepare your bedroom:
• Remove distractions from your sleeping space such as a television (yeah, I know, I like to watch tv before bed myself, but it usually keeps me up later than I wanted).
• Keep it dark or wear an eye mask, you want to keep your circadian rhythm in tact! Also make sure it is quiet as possible and not too warm
• Make sure you have a good, comfy mattress!
• Diffusing essential oils is a great way to help relax the body (we’ll get to that in a minute).
• Go to bed at the same time each night as much as possible, also wake at the same time – yes, sleeping in feels good on the weekends, but don’t sleep too late, it will really screw up falling asleep at a decent time come Sunday night!
• Don’t lay in bed if you are feeling frustrated, get up and journal about it to get it out of your head!
• Find a relaxing routine. I find that once I start diffusing and then I pick up a book, I feel sleepy in about 10-15 minutes.
• If your partner snores, go into another room or bed if possible. I know you will feel bad, but you need that sleep!
Now, how can we prepare ourselves for sleep? Here are a few things you can do:
• Minimize light exposure 30 minutes before bedtime.
• Do not eat too close to bedtime, you don’t want your body concentrating on digesting food instead of doing what it is supposed to as I listed above.
• Avoid caffeine in the afternoon. When I coach people, I make sure they list everything they eat and drink, they may not realize they are getting caffeine too late in the day.
• Avoid alcohol or sedatives to induce sleep.
• Avoid stressful situations before bed. I know it is not always easy, but it is best to not go to bed angry. Also, do not discuss finances or your difficult day right before bed time, it can really get you wound up and frustrated.
• Avoid long naps during the day. Once in a while, if I didn’t sleep well the night before, I get incredibly sleepy around 2:00. If I really feel I need to close my eyes, I set the alarm on my phone for no longer than 20 minutes, otherwise I will not sleep that night.
If you have been doing most of the above and still have a hard time falling or staying asleep, I would be happy to help you out and suggest a couple supplements or essential oils/blends to help you out. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.