Sleep is a valuable tool for our body to rest and restore. We all understand this as we have all had times of being sleep deprived or it may be a current regular occurrence!
Sleep deprivation has huge impacts on our mood, concentration, energy levels, food intake, caffeine consumption, immune health, stress, digestion, pain perception, wound healing and also our ability to function.
While we are asleep, our bodies are working hard to repair and restore from the damage of the past day:
- our liver is detoxifying everything from the day.
- our digestive system is absorbing nutrients and getting waste ready to be eliminated which is why some people immediately have to go to the bathroom upon waking.
- our body produces human growth hormone to grow muscle tissue which assists with regulating your metabolism.
- joints are being repaired.
- our cortisol (stress hormone) levels lower.
- our brain is storing the information from the day into long term memory.
- our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) relaxes.
- and our immune system fights any inflammation, trauma or infection.
So how can we optimise sleep?
Sleep can be optimised by reducing the barriers to sleep but there are many more things we can do to support our sleep:
- ensure we reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption. Neither caffeine nor alcohol are conducive to sleep as both are quite stimulating.
- turn off devices 2 hours before bedtime
- commit to a regular bedtime and also wake time during the week as well as on weekends to create routine
- expose yourself to daylight as often as you can throughout the day - the retina of our eyes sends light information to our brain that is daylight and we need to be awake and alert so then in the evening you should be able to release melatonin (our sleep hormone) to aid sleep
- exercise daily to physically exhaust your body. We spend so much time mentally exhausting our body but are we doing it physically? Exercising during the day (try and avoid in the evenings) can support the sleep process
- undertaking relaxing activities in the evening - reading a book that you enjoy, having a bath, drinking a cup of herbal tea - passionflower or chamomile are great options
- ensure our bedrooms are hospitable environments to sleep in - reduce noise, ensure complete darkness, ensure the fibres of bedding is natural, temperature is warm/cool enough
- undertake a meditation before bed - this is really supportive for relaxing not only your mind but also your body before bed
There are many more ways to support and optimise sleep. Naturopaths use herbs and nervous system support to promote sleep onset and maintenance.
Please click the Book Now button above if you would like to discuss with a naturopath your sleep patterns.