Many people struggle with not being able to fall asleep. In fact, prescriptions for sleeping pills topped 56 million in 2008-up 54 percent from 2004- with over 5$ billion in sales in 2010. Not getting optimal sleep can throw off your hormone levels leaving you feeling hungry, cranky and tired throughout the day. Without getting too detailed here, when you don’t get optimal sleep your body becomes out of sync with its natural sleep-wake cycles or circadian rhythms which leads to disturbances in hormone and body temperature regulation…not good. Abnormal circadian rhythms have been associated with obesity, diabetes, depression and many other diseases because of these disturbances. That being said, we’re all unique and there is not a one-size fits all approach to this issue. Why is this?
Well, there are many reasons but most commonly it’s because of stress, consuming too much caffeine, drinking alcohol or not having an ideal sleep environment. Usually it’s a combination of a few of these factors. If you’re drinking excessive amounts of coffee and having a few drinks in the evening cutting back on both of these practices is a good place to start.
In addition to avoiding alcohol and caffeine I recommend trying the following…
1. Create an optimal sleep environment
Keep your bedroom as dark as possible and cool. Sleep on a supportive mattress with clean bed sheets. No LED lighting from electronics such as T.V, cell-phone or other devices should be allowed in your sleeping space. Shoot to limit watching T.V and using your phone at least 30 minutes prior to your ideal bedtime.
2. Implement a “bedtime ritual”
A “bedtime ritual” is something you do every night to prepare your body and mind for sleep. Creating a bedtime ritual or a routine that whines the body and mind down, is important for two reasons. The first is that when done consistently it “triggers” the body to prepare for sleep and second it helps create deeper, more restful, quality sleep. Create a “bedtime ritual” that is relaxing and involves minimal stimulation.
Examples I use myself and recommend are:
• Drinking herbal tea (specific blends formulated for sleep)
• Read an empowering or inspirational book
• Meditation or simple breathing exercises
• Gentle stretching or foam rolling
• Listening to relaxing music
3. Try drinking a shot of tart cherry juice 30 minutes before you’d like to be asleep. Tart cherry juice contains a natural source of the sleep-wake cycle hormone melatonin and amino acid tryptophan. For some people this works wonders for others it doesn’t work at all…
Give it a shot and let me know how it works for you in the comments below!
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Thanks for your support and sharing the gift of health 🙂