Do you sometimes have trouble falling asleep or remaining asleep? Getting a good night’s sleep is not only good for your physical health but also for your mental health, and it is, therefore, very important that we get good, deep, restorative, uninterrupted sleep every day. Lack of sleep can affect your focus, appetite, ability to manage stress and ability to manage weight. When it persists, it can also cause hormonal imbalance. Most of the important body hormones are produced during your sleep and correspond to the ebbs and flows of your body’s master clock – – your circadian rhythm which is affected so much by sleep time and quality. Your brain becomes inflamed and actually atrophies (wasted away and shrinks) due to lack of quality sleep. Therefore, lack of sleep affects almost all body functions including absorption of important food nutrients. If not managed, lack of sleep becomes cyclic. What this means is that it will lead to hormonal imbalance, which in turn will lead to difficulties in sleeping. It is a vicious cycle. You find that when you eventually get to sleep, it is hard to sleep comfortably through the night.
People who have been diagnosed with sleep disorders are mostly treated with sleeping pills which seem to be quite effective in managing the condition. There is however a concern regarding these pills because they have undesirable side effects. The most common side effects include headaches, fatigue and withdrawal effects. You also risk becoming depended on these drugs if you continually use them for a long time.
The good news is, you can actually beat this problem and get a good night’s sleep using various natural ways. Here are some tips;
Check your Diet
Some food nutrients have a calming effect, and thus can help you sleep well through the night. If you have a problem staying asleep, you should might consider increasing your magnesium and potassium intake through diet to calm the nervous system; thus promoting sleep. These nutrients can be found in: foods like beans, leafy vegetables and pulses (magnesium), sweet potatoes, avocados, spinach and other leafy greens.
Exercise can do wonders for you. It not only keeps you fit but also helps stabilize your hormones. Sleeping when you are not tired also contributes to lack of good sleep. Physical exercise is one way to endure that you are actually tired before going to sleep.
Reduce the use of Stimulants
Stimulants such as caffeine can lead to sleeplessness. If you are having trouble sleeping, maybe it’s because you are consuming too many stimulants. Reducing them will help you get a peaceful night’s sleep.
It is important to avoid unnecessary distractions during sleep time. You can switch off all your gadgets before going to sleep to ensure that you get quality sleep free of any distractions. Sleep in a completely dark and quiet room. Reduce exposure to LED lighting and blue wave lights from electronics. This is a complicated topic and will be discussed more fully in future blogs.
Develop a Sleeping Routine
Lastly but not least, have a sleeping routine and practice following it strictly. The body has the ability to adapt to a routine and you will find that after sometime, when it’s your sleep time, you will start feeling sleepy in response to the adaptation. This is a perfect way to train your body and avoid having to go into treatment for sleeping disorders.
Look for upcoming blogs in which this discussion about sleep will be explored in greater detail.
Boulton, R. (2017). 5 Ways To Get A Good Night’s Sleep – Thrive Global. Retrieved from https://journal.thriveglobal.com/5-ways-to-get-a-good-nights-sleep-6da8f50fa2ed
HelpGuide.org. (2017). Sleeping Well: How to Create Habits that Help You Sleep Better. Retrieved from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/getting-better-sleep.htm