5 Tips to Improve Sleep

Let’s talk about everyone’s favorite thing to do… SLEEP! I know one of my favorite things is my bed and I don’t think I’m the only one 😉 For humans sleep is a ritual, it is something we do every day so why not make a bedtime ritual to help you have a wonderful sleep each night. Did you know, more than 25% of Canadians suffer from some sort of insomnia (crazy but true!!!). Putting in place a nightly routine can help to reduce insomnia symptoms and promote a restful sleep. Here I have put together what I do in my nightly ritual to give you some ideas to help craft your own so you can be sleeping like a baby every day of the week!

Why We Sleep

Sleep is crucial for promoting optimal health. When you are sleeping growth hormone is released, which then allows for growth, cell reproduction, and regeneration… ultimately it’s what allows the body to grow and heal! When sleep is disturbed it plays a powerful role in the development of disease. Several diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, obesity, and autoimmune conditions can all be influenced by lack of sleep… SO GET YOUR SLEEP!

5 Determinants of Health

One of my biggest mentors has preached to me soooo many times about the importance of the 5 determinants of health. He says that if these are not met then the healing process will not occur. It is crucial to have these fundamentals met and taken care of before implementing more intensive treatments. As you notice sleep is in the top 5! This just rehashes the importance of sleep!!! Sleep is not for the weak it is for the healthy 😉 The 5 determinants include (in this order):

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My Nightly Ritual

1. Elimination of EMF 

  • We all love technology these days.. but did you know it can be causing you to have insomnia!
  • Our electronic devices emit a blue light which can contribute to suppression of melatonin production and cause neurophysiological arousal
    • These will present with symptoms including increased sleepiness, decreased REM sleep, increase sleep onset and maintenance insomnia
  • Elimination of blue light for 2 hours before bedtime can increase melatonin production and mitigate insomnia symptoms!
  • This can be done by not using your devices 2 hours before bed orrrrr if that is not possible trying amber glasses or blue light blocking glasses when using your devices before bed as the research shows they have been very effective!

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2. Sleepytime tea 

  • In my sleepytime tea, I like to have a combination of Matricaria recutita (Chamomile) and Lavendula officinalis (Lavender)
  • Lavender contains volatile oils which allow it to have a sedative and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effect
    • Lavender helps to promote natural sleep + helps to tonify the nervous system allowing you to have a more restful sleep
    • Fun Fact: Lavender is said to have equal effects as SSRI medications!
  • Chamomile contains flavonoids which give it a sedative effect
    • Chamomile helps to relieve muscle tension + promote a restful sleep

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3. Magnesium bisglycinate 

  • Mg is like a super mineral! It is required for 300+ enzymatic reactions in the body — including maintaining a normal circadian rhythm
  • Mg has been shown to help increase total sleep time, sleep efficiency, sleep onset latency and increase melatonin production
  • Mg has also been shown to reduce early morning waking and regulate serum cortisol levels in the body
  • Mg also helps to relax skeletal muscles — this is a lovely bonus that helps the body relax in the evening!

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4. Eye mask 

  • When we sleep in a dark room the retina will sense that and a signal goes to the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which tells the pituitary gland (a small gland in the brain) to release melatonin
  • Melatonin is a hormone that controls the sleep and wake cycles — you want high melatonin at night to help you sleep and it will decrease in the morning to help you wake up!
  • When you are not sleeping in a dark room there is a decrease in melatonin production — this is why I wear a sleep mask!!!
  • Living in Vancouver there is lots of light pollution so wearing an eye mask almost tricks the body to think it is dark to ensure that an adequate amount of melatonin is being produced!
  • Tip: I LOVE my sleep mask from Saje — it has lavender and chamomile in it!

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5. Meditation 

  • Mindfulness meditation is a new addition to my nightly routine! I just like to put on a nightly 20 min meditation and it has been very helpful in helping me get to sleep
  • Mindfulness has been shown to decrease total wake time and sleep-related arousal
  • Mindfulness can help to decrease the autonomic nervous system responses such as decreasing worry and rumination and alleviating mood disturbances associated with insomnia

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I hope some of these sleep tips help you ease into a restful sleep allowing you to have more energy and healthier life! Healthifying your life starts with GREAT SLEEP! So start now!

XO

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References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23853635

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4648706/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5703049/

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