Sleep tight: tips to help prepare you for restful sleep

Insomnia, in one form or another, is a very common complaint in my practice.  The problem is that without a good night's sleep it is often difficult to correct other imbalances in the body.   And, sleep deprivation puts you at higher risk for developing many chronic diseases including diabetes, stroke, and heart disease, as well as depressing your immune system and altering your mood.   In short, getting good sleep should not be seen as a commodity, but as an essential building block for lifelong physical and emotional health.  So, to get your body in the right frame of mind for rest and restoration, try these tips for restful sleep:   

  • Unwind: often, we don't take time to close the day and transition from wakeful alertness to rest and restoration.  Dim the lights.  Light a candle.  Take an epsom salt bath with lavender oil.  Practice deep breathing.  Journal. Listen to calm relaxing music.  Choose something that feels relaxing and try to do it at the same time every evening.  
  • Shut off electronics: turn off all iPads, iPhones, computers, and TVs 1 hour before bed.  The hormones needed to induce sleep are very sensitive to light and we want to reduce any interference.  
  • Sleep in a totally dark room:  use black out curtains or a sleep mask to ensure your room is totally dark.  Ideally, your room should be free of electronics (i.e., cell phones, iPads, etc), but be sure to remove anything that emits light.  In order to get to sleep, our pineal gland must secrete melatonin and this only happens in total darkness.
  • Go to bed and rise at the same time:  our bodies really thrive with routine and being aligned with our internal circadian rhythm.  Going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday (even on the weekends) really helps lock in a healthy wake-sleep cycle.