Saturday, January 4, 2014

How are You Snoozing at Night?

Sleep, it is so neglected and so underestimated as a vital nutrient in a class of its own. Consistent, quality rest is infinitely important for over all well being, good health, and emotions. Sleep amounts dictate whether or not you eat right, eat enough or too much, as well as what foods you choose. Lack of sleep can lead to brain fog, depression, weight gain, hormone imbalance, negative stress, and depleted immunity. None of us want those things in our lives. Do not beat yourself up, just start to be proactive with some or all of these tips.

This might sound funny, but adults need to give themselves a bed time. Get to know your body. I totally had to do this too. There have been various points in my life when I have struggled with sleep. Figure out the number of hours you comfortably need to be a productive member of society. Be resolute about sticking to it as well. The television, computer, and wireless device will survive if they are not used past 9pm. In fact the nine o'clock hour is a great time to start winding down. Dr. Mercola says that between 9-10pm is when our bodies start secreting melatonin. Actually did you know that your biology plays into whether you are more of a lark or night owl? So if 9pm is too early for you choose an hour before between 9pm and 12am that works for you. Now the later you go to sleep will mean a later hour for you to wake up in the morning.

I realize nursing mothers and people who work nights are at a disadvantage. Regardless do the best you can. If you can ever avoid a job during the night time hours, do so. Working nights is terrible for the body. We were created to rise and set with the sun. I realize the sun has started to go down way before 9pm. Considering our busy lives, and the fact that we do have electricity, 9pm is a good compromise.

Here are some tips to help get to support a good night's rest:

1) Move your body each day intentionally for at least 20 minutes. Choose movement that you like and will do.

2) Don't eat past 8pm if possible; eating late causes the digestive tract to work over time and doesn't allow the body to rest and achieve the deep sleep that is necessary.

3) Utilize genuine essential oils; apply lemongrass and nutmeg topically on the front of the neck with a carrier oil in the morning for a great start. At night try lavender and cedarwood around the neck, back, and shoulders. When applying essential oils topically use a carrier oil like organic unrefined coconut oil. Getting a loved one to do the topical application along with massage is a wonderful way to ease your mind and body at night as well. I love a Young Living Essential Oil pre-made roll-on blend called Tranquil on my feet and shoulders. You can get it here.Combine lime and cedarwood in a dark glass spray bottle with witch hazel and spray on bed linens, or diffuse it.

 4) Get a magnesium chloride spray. Many people are magnesium deficient. You can tell if you are unable to sleep on a regular basis, you have low vitamin D levels, you don't eat a high plant based daily diet, feel foggy brained, and get muscle cramp, especially in the legs. A magnesium chloride spray is an easy, safe way to add magnesium topically. Spray it on your tummy and legs every night. This is safe for young children and adults.

5) Drink a cup of herbal tea with relaxing properties like lemon balm (Melissa); be sure to let it steep for 4-5 minutes.

6) Find safe, useful, natural supplements that encourage the body to be balanced by nourishing the adrenal glands; my two favorite are holy basil (tulsi) and Ashwagandha; these are amazing adaptogenic herbs that help the body deal with emotional, phsyical, environmental, and mental stress, amounts for each person differ.

7) Re-evaluate the mattress you are sleeping on, most mattresses have a lifespan of 8-10 years, they are also full of toxic chemicals, which unfortunately you breathe in everyday, consider making or purchasing an organic mattress.

8) Don't use electronic devices or watch television just before bed, I know that's challenging for those of us working, nonetheless they are over stimulating for the brain; keep televisions out of the bedroom. It's best to turn off electronics 1-2 hours before laying your head to the pillow.

9) Journal about your day, often times physically writing down your thoughts of the day, hopes, dreams, and discouragement is like pressing the delete button on the computer and it helps to relax the mind.

10) Pray, talking to God before you sleep is a great way to end your day.

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