Sleep is medicine! If you aren’t getting enough quality sleep, you will struggle with memory, moods, immunity and weight loss. Sleep is the foundation of good health and wellbeing – your body repairs and renews cells while you slumber. Yet daily habits and activities could be sabotaging your sleep and hormones without you even knowing it. So, just what are these sleep thieves?
1. Bright lights at night
Light and sleep go hand in hand. Exposure to light in the morning and evening impacts on your circadian rhythm. This roughly 24-hour cycle dictates when plants open their flowers, animals eat or rest and our hormones ebb and flow working with or against us. As humans, it helps set our body clock, affecting energy levels and when we wake and sleep. That’s why you feel better if you hit the sack before midnight – it keeps your body clock in time with night and day.
- Open curtains on waking. This helps to suppress melatonin levels, which should lower in the morning and rise at night
- Breakfast with the sunshine. Go without your sunglasses for at least 10 minutes to ensure you get direct light exposure to your eyes
- Banish electrical devices. That means no clock radios, T.V’s, computers or their standby lights in your room while you sleep. They can truly interfere with melatonin production in these vital hours
- Enjoy a soft glow. At night, use candles or lamps instead of bright overhead electrical lights. Even in the bathroom at night, choose low wattage flashlights or dim hall and bathroom globes with amber glow
- Set a sleep routine. Rise and retire a the same time everyday to synchronise your body clock with light and dark
2. Screens at night
Do you catch-up on texts or emails last thing before turning out the light? Or fall asleep watching YouTube videos in bed? This too could be compromising your sleep quality.
Computers emit 30 to 50 lux of light. Over the course of the week, this constant light exposure, particularly after dark, can shift your body clock. Then hormones that make you wakeful or sleepy are less in sync with night and day.
- Dimming the light on your screen. Installing the app called f.lux or similar reduces blue wavelength coming from your screen in favour of warmer more sleep friendly tones. Going to system preferences on your computer and electing to flip the colours so that you turn the white background black and the black writing to white.
3. A cheeky night cap
Our evening vino perhaps isn’t as relaxing as we originally thought. Alcohol might be a sedative, but many people observe that it triggers shallow sleep. This is partly because alcohol delays and shortens the slow wave and REM dreaming phases of the sleep cycle, and a few glasses of wine, beer or spirits, may also suppress your natural breathing pattern. Alcohol may also make you wake later from dehydration and thirst. And because it’s a bladder irritant and diuretic, you may also need to get up to wee! Wines can be a particular problem. They are high in natural chemicals called salicylates, amines, preservatives and chemicals which can cause blocked nose and headaches in some people, waking them overnight.
- Incorporate more AFD (alcohol free days a week). This will make a huge difference not only improving your sleep but also your mental, emotional and physical state each day.
- Supplement with electrolytes. Alcohol depletes electrolytes by making demands on the body that force a greater need for them. When the next morning arrives, after losing electrolytes (in converting alcohol’s toxins and dispelling them in the urine), getting to feeling good again requires replenishment. Some sources of electrolytes are better than others, but few will argue over the superiority of bananas (yup you heard right). They are an excellent source of potassium and magnesium, and don’t come with much in the way of downside.
- Otherwise jump in a magnesium bath or supplement with a quality magnesium powder.
Sleeping “issues” are so often seen at SoulPod. We have successfully treated hundreds of people who have noticed remarkable differences even after one session. If you haven’t tried it, don’t lose any more sleep thinking about it. Call us at the clinic on 9421 0076 or book online. We would love to help you!
Stay tuned for the next 3 thieves of sleep and more importantly, the solutions!