The Sun goes down and your lights on your phone dim while the streetlights outside illuminate. All of a sudden you start to feel a little bit of anxiety brewing knowing that this begins the ritual of your insomnia. Depending on where you are, at this point you may begin a night time routine where you wash your face, brush your teeth, check Facebook one more time while you’re laying in bed tossing and turning hoping that sleep might come soon. Around midnight you may doze off but by 2:00 a.m. you’re up again hoping that once you empty your bladder you will go right back to sleep. Maybe sometimes you do, maybe sometimes you don’t and you’re left looking at the clock and waiting for the sun to come up so you can start the day all over again.
If this sounds like you I suggest you keep reading. And hopefully it’s not midnight when you’re reading this blog.
Sleep is one of the most important times of our day. It is when our nervous system is able to switch gears from our busy day to our restful night. It is really the only time in our day that we are truly healing. So if you have any healing going on including trying to lose weight or gain muscle mass, working to regulate hormones, conceive a child, or just raising your children, or growing a business, it is so important that you get sleep at night.
There are many theories of how best to sleep but today I am going to talk about the most common problems that I see in my practice and some ways to help. If you want to jump to the answers you can click here and download my 5 steps to sleep happiness! Otherwise you can keep reading.
Starting at noon; avoid caffeine
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Caffeine directly blocks the production of melatonin and can really throw off your circadian rhythm for the whole day. For a lot of patients that have sleep problems I recommend coming off of coffee altogether. When you start your morning with caffeine you are telling your body that you don’t need our natural wake hormones because we have our own drugs to get the day started. It causes our body to stop producing cortisol, so we are not building our natural circadian rhythm starting first thing in the morning.
Begin to wind down when the sun goes down
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When the sun goes down is when your biological clock begins the sleep routine so let’s put our consciousness in the same place. This means that the lights in your house should dim, your phone and the TV should go off and you should start to mentally prepare yourself for sleep.
In the culture that we live in today there is a lot of blue light everywhere. Overhead lights as well as your phone, computer and TV. Blue light also directly suppresses melatonin and increases cortisol. Melatonin as your sleep hormone whereas cortisol is your stay up and be active stress hormone that we talked about earlier.
Warm yourself up to help wind down
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Hot water naturally makes us drowsy so having a hot bath helps to promote sleep. If you want a bonus you can add Epson salt which is a magnesium salt. Magnesium helps relax your muscles as well as your mind. Another addition you can add is lavender essential oil just 1 or 2 drops in your bath. Lavender is considered a nervine which help to relax the nervous system and promote sleep and healing.
This is also when I would recommend putting your phone into Airplane mode if it isn’t off already. There are a couple reasons why. • The 1st and most important reason is because of the EMF waves that will be constantly cycling from your Wi-Fi and/or cell tower causing a giant microwave to happen in your house making you the center of it. • The 2nd reason to turn your phone into Airplane mode at this time is to avoid that blue light that we are talking about for the rest of the evening. It also will help you to destress, like we will talk about in the next section.
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After your bath I would recommend staying in your bedroom and getting a note book to have at your bedside.
Write down all of the things that are on your mind. Some of the reasons we can’t sleep is because we have a lot of stressful situations that they keep in their mind. We are constantly thinking about it while we should be sleeping and our mind is spinning and we can’t stop thinking about the day. One of the best ways to get the chatter out of your mind is to write it down so that you know it’s on paper and you can get it out of your mind for the night.
This is also a good time to get social and political events off of your mind as well. That is another reason I like to turn off the phone when the sun goes down or before you get in your bath so that they are far from your mind while you’re going to sleep.
If you’re not completely drowsy at this point you can also write your gratitude in that journal. This actually preps your mind for happiness so that you can have a peaceful happy sleep.
Meditation and Visualization
After you have written these things down and got it off of your mind if you are still not feeling tired now is when you should meditate or do a relaxing visualization. I recommend going to YouTube and searching for a sleep visualizations meditation you will find hundreds if not thousands. (In the coming weeks I will make my own visualization that you can relax to as well.)
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These meditations are meant to additionally quiet your mind soothe, your body and relax everything. By being in a state of relaxation, you’re turning on your rest and digest nervous system so that it can fall naturally into sleep. Depending on how tired you are, look for a length of a program that matches your tiredness. If you’re not very tired explore a 45 minute to an hour meditation. If you’re very tired, find a 20 minute meditation. Make sure that you set your settings on YouTube so that it will shut off after that 1st meditation and not auto play all night. Another bonus would be to subscribe to YouTube plus so that you can download these meditations and have them offline while you put your phone on Airplane mode before bed.
By this time I hope that you are well into your deep sleep. If these steps are not enough to get you into the sleep that you are looking for there are their natural ways to promote sleep keep you in a deep sleep throughout the night and help you wake feeling rested.
If you need more help with sleep than these recommendations, you can start by clicking here for my free guide to sleep and then you can also click here to schedule an appointment with Dr. Heidi or to schedule a free 15 minute consult to see if we would be a good fit for each other to help you get the best sleep possible. Please let me know if you have any other questions about sleep or if there are other things that you would like to learn more about. Thanks for reading