Twenty Tips for Better Sleep

PhotobucketAre you not sleeping well at  night?  Sleep is critical for optimal health as it is one of the four pillars of health.

Long-term health depends on the regeneration that occurs during deep sleep. Growth hormone, or the “anti-aging” hormone, is secreted during sleep, which stimulates tissue regeneration, liver cleansing, muscle building, break down of fat stores and normalization of blood sugar.

During sleep free radicals are scavenged in the brain, minimizing its aging. Many health problems are aggravated by inadequate sleep. Sleep gives us renewed vitality, a more positive outlook on life and energy with which we can become our full potential.

SYMPTOMS OF INADEQUATE SLEEP

You could experience drowsiness, fatigue, decreased concentration, impaired memory, reduced stress tolerance, mood changes, irritability, muscle tension, or increased health problems such as infections.

HOW TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF YOUR SLEEP

#1 Maintain consistent sleep and wake times. Do not push yourself to stay up past the initial signs of sleepiness. This can create epinephrine production, causing more difficulty getting to sleep later. It is good to have a “getting ready for bed” routine to relax and prepare your body for sleep. Avoid taking naps if you have trouble sleeping at night.

#2 Reserve the bed for sleep and sex only. Do not read, watch TV, eat, or worry in bed. Solve daily dilemmas outside of the bedroom. If you find that you’ve been lying awake in bed for 15-20 minutes, get out of bed. Do something mundane until you feel sleepy, and then go back to bed. Repeat this as often as needed.

#3 Your sleeping environment should be quiet, cool and comfortable. The room should be clutter-free. Reduce the amount of ambient light as much as possible. Electronic devices such as clocks, stereos, TVs and computers generate electromagnetic fields that can disturb sleep for some people. Experiment with moving these into another room or using EMF shields. Feng Shui, the Chinese art of placement, can be valuable in creating an optimal sleeping environment.

#4 Exercise regularly. Exercising during the day or early evening decreases the time it takes to get to sleep and increases the amount of deep sleep obtained. Most people do better avoiding exercise late in the evening.

#5 Exposure to sunlight early in the morning and late in the afternoon or evening encourages a strong circadian rhythm. The hormone melatonin, which helps create a sleep state in the body, is suppressed in light and secreted in darkness.

#6 If you have problems with waking during the early hours of the morning, have a small protein snack just before bed to ensure consistent blood sugar levels throughout the night. Consistently get exposure to sunlight as late in the day as possible.

#7 Improving overall health will improve the quality of your sleep. Work towards improving or eliminating health problems. Treatment modalities such as massage, acupuncture or cranial sacral will help to relax the body. Effective stress management is essential.

THINGS THAT RELAX THE BODY AND PREPARE IT FOR SLEEP

#8 Warm baths, possibly adding Epsom salts or lavender oil

#9 Meditating for 5-30 minutes

#10 Breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation (various recordings are available) or any other means of inducing the “relaxation response”. Daily practice brings greater results.

# 11 Special acoustic recordings that increase specific brain wave patterns for relaxation and sleep

#12 Try an Herbal Sedative. Botanicals treatments and aromatherapy using herbs and their essential oils (examples include chamomile, valerian, vervain (verbena), hops, lavender, passionflower, avena (oat straw), lemon balm and scutellaria (skull cap). Consult your physician for dosages and recommendations.

#13 Calcium and magnesium supplementation. Consult your physician for dosages and recommendations.

THINGS THAT INTERFERE WITH SLEEP

#14 Although alcohol may make you fall asleep, the sleep obtained after drinking is fragmented and light.

#15 The stimulating effects of caffeine may last up to 10 hours in some people. Avoid it in the afternoon if getting to sleep is a problem. Caffeine is present in coffee, green tea, black tea, chocolate and some medications (pain relievers, decongestants, thermogenic weight loss products, energy supplements, etc.)

#16 The stimulating effects of nicotine (first- or second-hand smoke) can last several hours.

#17 Sleeping pills, aside from being highly addictive and full of side effects, decrease the amount of time spent in deep sleep and only increase light sleep.

#18 B-vitamin supplements can increase energy that keeps some people awake, if taken before bed. Take B-vitamins earlier in the day.

#19 Do not go to bed with a very full stomach. Large quantities of protein are stimulating to the body as digestion occurs. It’s best to finish eating at least three hours before going to bed.

#20 If all else fails don’t let the inability to sleep frustrate you.  Let your body have time to rest in a dark room.  I know we often stare at the alarm in frustration, but try to keep calm and remember that your body just needs some quiet time to rejuvenate and if it isn’t in the form of sleep it can at least just be in the form of rest and quieting the mind.

More articles on sleep

References
1. Dement MD PhD, William. The Promise of Sleep. 1999. Dell Publishing. New York, NY.
2. Jacobs PhD, Gregg. Say Goodnight to Insomnia. 1998. Henry Holt and Company. New York, NY.
3. Ross DC, Herbert, Brenner Lac, Keri and Goldberg, Burton. Sleep Disorders. Tiburon, CA. 2000.

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Comments

16 Responses to “Twenty Tips for Better Sleep”

  1. doson on February 13th, 2009 12:30 pm

    1# My sleep & wake times are random
    2# I do everything from my bed
    3# I can’t sleep without music

    I need to adjust myself..

  2. Sleeping Disorder and Cures | Sleep disorders and how to cure them on February 18th, 2009 8:24 pm

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  3. Cherie on March 1st, 2009 12:46 pm

    Tremendous information in this article! Thank you. I just have one essential piece to add. Because of the profession I have been in for the past 8 years I have personally been involved with many people who couldn’t sleep no matter what they tried because it was a toxin in their body that needed assistance in being taken out of their body. I strongly encourage anyone who has tried all the wonderful methods, that I know are also essential , in this article to go to the website I have given because this will take care of insomnia problems!

  4. Cherie on March 1st, 2009 12:49 pm

    Tremendous information in this article! Thank you. I just have one essential piece to add. Because of the profession I have been in for the past 8 years I have personally been involved with many people who couldn’t sleep no matter what they tried because it was a toxin in their body that needed assistance in being taken out of their body. I strongly encourage anyone who has tried all the wonderful methods, that I know are also essential , in this article to go to the website http://www.americanfootbathsnpo.com or email choiceabusiness@gmail.com because this will take care of insomnia problems!

  5. Kitchen Table Medicine Twenty Tips for Better Sleep « An Eastern Ancient Warrior Art expressed through the Science of Biotensegrity then applied through Natural Movement Behaviors on March 10th, 2009 11:27 pm

    [...] You could experience drowsiness, fatigue, decreased concentration, impaired memory, reduced stress tolerance, mood changes, irritability, muscle tension, or increased health problems such as infections. HOW TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF YOUR SLEEP… Twenty Tips for Better Sleep | Kitchen Table Medicine [...]

  6. Brenda Bunney on March 17th, 2009 10:16 am

    Very good tips on better sleep. I have had energy drinks too close to bedtime, leaving me wide awake and I love to watch tv in bed! Oops…

    I did not know that calcium and magnesium had calming effects, so that is a great tip to keep in mind.

    Brenda Bunney’s last blog post..Relationship Marketing | Let Them Know You Care!

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  10. Simple Health Exercises on April 1st, 2009 10:24 pm

    Hi all this is a great subject that every one especially online will want to read then share … my take on this topic is … Having a clear conscious definitely brings a peace of mind which in turn bring a sleepful of a better peaceful night after night has been my mantra gone are those awful days when i was running my offline business with all those worries and woes of days thankfully gone by so the moral of this my version is? … Clear your mind if you expect it to sleep … lol this youtube video will help towards my meaning http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNKjShmHw7s

    All my best to you and your sheep counting
    Phillip Skinner

  11. grege21 on April 2nd, 2009 10:50 am

    Now I understand what happens to me when trying to nap from #6..thnx

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  14. Linda on June 7th, 2009 1:16 pm

    I’m a poor sleeper. Waking constantly. My Doc suggested I give up reading in bed as he said that your mind is trying to work out the plot of the book whilst you are sleeping.
    But it’s a hard habit to let go off :(

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