Last week was a wonderful week. I was able to travel home and spend Thanksgiving with my Mom; visit with my brothers and their families, see uncles, aunts and cousins that I haven’t seen in quite a while. It was a great week! While conversing with family a recurring theme became apparent as I kept hearing the same conversation over and over again: “I really didn’t sleep well last night” or “I haven’t been sleeping well as of late”. It got me thinking: Is it just my family? Upon my return to work this week, I asked a few folks with whom I’m close, “How’d you sleep last night?” and “How are you, did you get a good night’s rest?” Granted this is no scientific study, but the theme carried: folks aren’t sleeping well.
Insomnia or lack of sleep or even poor sleep quality seems to be quite an issue with many people. Sleep is very important to our health. It is while we sleep that our body restores itself. During sleep our metabolism is regulated, our immune systems get a boost, hormones are balanced, our adrenal glands get rest and on and on. Our bodies need sleep to restore itself from all the stress and strain that is put upon it during the day while we are awake.
There are many reasons why we don’t sleep well. Sleep loss can be related to medications, you could have tremendous stress levels, you could be experiencing hormonal imbalances, and it could be physical, due to odd work hours, the environment and even your diet. There could be many untold reasons why your sleep is being disrupted.
I would encourage you to listen to your body or even keep a journal to try to figure out what is causing you to miss out on a night of good sleep. Meanwhile, I’d like to offer some tips to try help you to rest well:
1. One to two hours before you are ready for bed turn off your tv, cell phones and dim your lights. Avoid stimulating music, tv shows and conversations.
2. Set a sleep schedule. Try to get to bed at the same time every night.
3. Take a warm bath. Use some lavender essential oil in your bath or diffuse in your bathroom while relaxing in your warm bath.
4. Remove all electronic devices from your bedroom…televisions, cell phones, alarm clocks, etc.
5. Install black out curtains or use a sleep mask to be in total darkness while you attempt to sleep.
6. Maintain a cool, comfortable temperature in your room; maybe even keep the window opened slightly to keep some fresh air circulating.
7. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily during the earlier part of the day.
8. Try yoga, meditation or even massage therapies.
9. Eat a balanced diet; try to have your last meal at least 3 hours before bedtime. Maybe cap off your meal with a warm cup of chamomile tea.
If you try these tips and they work for you…wonderful! If not, don’t stop researching until you solve the issue of not sleeping well. Sleep is extremely important to maintaining good overall health.