Sleep can be one of the most elusive essential pieces to your health in our modern day lives.  Many people find themselves tired and dozing when they need to be productive, alert and firing on all cylinders.  And then, within the same day, they can find themselves wide-eyed, alert and far from sleepy when they finally find time to hit the hay to rest and repair. Studies have shown that at a minimum we should be getting 7.5 hours of sleep each night. Doing so allows us to go through every sleep cycle necessary for stress recovery.

There are several things that can compound getting a good nights sleep.  In general, poor sleep hygiene, which is the process your body goes through prior to going to bed, can be non-existent for many people.  Your body has a rhythm called a circadian rhythm.  This rhythm is mostly responsible for your sleep-wake cycle.  This cycle is a symphony of varies hormones that ebb and flow and peak and fall throughout your day.  Things like brushing your teeth, putting on your pj’s, taking a bath, and lowering the lights, prep the body and mind signaling that you’re getting ready to sleep.

When your sleep hygiene is poor, for instance, say you regularly fall asleep on the couch watching TV, spend late evenings staring at electronics, or even eating late evening before bed, you throw off your circadian rhythm and delay the process of your body prepping for sleep.

The High Energy Visible (HEV) Blue Light emitted from all digital screens has been discovered to be a factor in sleep disorders.  The Blue Light suppresses your body’s melatonin production.   Melatonin is a hormone your body produces mainly in the gut but also in the brain.  It is a big factor in helping our bodies get to sleep and sleep deeply.  When we stay up late and push passed our normal bedtime we are signaling our body to produce more cortisol, which can feel like your “second wind”.  Elevated cortisol levels inhibit the rise of melatonin, as well as being in well-lit areas or surrounded by loud distracting noises or activities.

Sleep is one of the seven essentials I cover in my platform to optimize your health.  Please take a minute and click on the “Schedule a Consultation” tab  so we can explore your issues a bit and see how working with me can optimize your sleep and many other areas of your life!

Then read on to see what you can do TODAY to beginning helping yourself obtain the sleep you carve.  I have many other ideas and suggestions beyond this short list, which are easy to implement and will help you improve your sleep.

1.) Manage your electronics.  Power down at least 30-60 minutes prior to bed and if you must use them, purchase a pair of blue light blocking glasses to cut down on your exposure.  A simple Google search will offer you dozens of choices.

2.) Put your small electronics in another room while you’re sleeping.  The buzz and beeps can be extremely distracting and your exposure to the electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) will be less as well, which can impact your depth of sleep.

3.) Create a short routine that will help you calm down your sympathetic system (Fight or Flight response).  A warm shower or Epsom’s salt bath may do the trick. Try some light reading, listening to soft-music, or meditating using an app may be your thing.  Just get a routine you like.

4.) Avoid eating 3 hours prior to your chosen bedtime.  When your body is trying to digest while also trying to rest and repair, it isn’t efficient, or very productive either.  This will also help if you have gastric reflux or you struggle with inflammation.  Sleeping in a fasted state helps the body be able to repair tissue damage and take out the garbage brought on by inflammation instead of digesting late night snacks.

5.) Maintain a bedtime sleeping schedule as much as you can 7 days per week.  Staying up late every so often won’t break the bank but it will be disruptive.  Striving for 7-8 hours of sleep is your goal, but don’t stress if you’re not there yet.  Cover up your alarm clock so you don’t look at it.  That can create more stress counting the hours you’re awake.

It’s interesting to note, that melatonin levels gradually decline as we age and sleep issues are a common complaint of getting older.  Many foods naturally contain melatonin, with some of the highest being pistachios, red and black rice, orange bell peppers, walnuts, cherries, lentils, and even coffee (though this is best to avoid after the noon hour).

There are several documented medical conditions exacerbated or connected with the disruptive sleep-wake cycle.  You can use these links below to take a deeper dive if you’d like.  But, first schedule your FREE 20-minute Consultation so I can help you start catching some ZZZZZZZZ’s!

https://www.nigms.nih.gov/education/pages/factsheet_circadianrhythms.aspx

http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/science/how/neurophysiology

https://www.alaskasleep.com/blog/why-tired-after-full-nights-sleep

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Bobbi McGrath, Ace- CHC

I assist individuals on their journey to wellness by providing health and fitness education and resources to inspire them to make concrete lifestyle changes that will impact their lives forever. 

I have a Bachelor's degree in Physical Education, a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and a certification as a Health Coach through ACE. My life experiences have been indispensable with regard to the wisdom and challenges that have shaped how I relate to people. I know firsthand how valuable good health can be, especially when you don’t have it. 

I embrace assisting my clients in filtering the abundance of information, so they feel in control and educated.  Using my passion for health, I help fuel and inspire my clients to take action to be their best self. I enjoy working one on one, in groups, and online through virtual tools with my clients.