Dr. Catherine Newry | Simple Tips for Better Sleep
naturopathic medicine, naturopathic doctor, hormone balancing, fertility, infertility, health, acupunture, Toronto, Yonge and Lawrence, Lawrence Park, Yonge and Eglinton, natural medicine, nutrition, stress managment
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Simple Tips for Better Sleep

Simple Tips for Better Sleep

Sleep is an important and integral part of your health. Sleeping, ideally, should be a welcome part of your day-to-day routine. For some, it’s an inconvenience and is often one of the first sacrifices we make in our battle with “busy-ness”. Meanwhile, for others the battle is with falling and/or staying asleep. Many valuable and necessary functions take place when our bodies enter into sleep mode. There’s a reason why the studies show that we should be spending roughly a third of our day in this state of rest! And keep in mind that some people need more sleep than others! 😉

What happens when we sleep?

  • De-stressing – the levels of our stress hormone, cortisol, naturally decrease.
  • Healing – the release of growth hormone, which helps with tissue repair, is stimulated at night by the “sleep hormone” melatonin.
  • Digesting – when your body is at rest digestion becomes more of a priority, more blood flow and nerve stimulation is sent to the digestive tract.
  • Learning – while we are sleeping our brains consolidate and store new information and memories.

What happens when we DON’T sleep? Besides the day-to-day low energy, fogginess, and difficulty focusing, long-term sleep deprivation can have some serious consequences on your health. They can include – Obesity, Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and Depression – to name a few.

Better Sleep
When it comes to getting quality sleep, here a few things to keep in mind:

  1. The state of your mind and environment affect the state of body and vice versa. When our minds are super active, as can be the case with stress and anxiety, it can be difficult for our bodies to find the state of relaxation necessary for sleep. So it can be helpful to put the body into a state of physical relaxation to help calm the mind. This can be as simple as stretching, having a cup of herbal tea, or taking a warm bath or shower. Your environment also affects your ability to relax. Make sure:
    • Your room is dark – the secretion of your sleep hormone melatonin is activate by darkness. Try eye masks, blackout curtains, unplugging
      and/or covering up lights from electronics.
    • You minimize sound – try ear plugs if you live in a noisy environment or neighbourhood.
    • Your room isn’t too hot – as we sleep our body temperature drops slightly. A slightly cooler room may help to create an environment that
      is more conducive for sleeping.
    • You check your bed – your mattress and pillows may be causing you discomfort and may be the reason you are tossing, turning, and waking
      up at night.
  2. Your body is very adaptable and can be trained! So create a routine. Start getting ready for bed approximately 30 minutes before you want to sleep. Your body will learn that this routine means it’s time to relax and prepare to go to sleep. These activities may work for some and not for others. Your routine could include:
    • Journaling – to help clear your mind or plan for the next day so you’re less worried.
    • Gentle stretching or yoga – to relax the body physically and calm the mind as well.
    • Warm shower or bath – again physically and mentally relaxing.
    • Meditation/Breathing Exercises – to help calm the mind.
    • Cup of herbal tea – herbs such as peppermint, chamomile, and lemon balm are all very calming and pleasant tasting, the blend nicely with
      other herbs such valerian, passionflower, and kava which are much more potent but might not taste as great.
    • Supplements – Melatonin, Magnesium, L-Theanine, Herbal formulations including kava, valerian, and passionflower – can all help you to relax
      and fall asleep. (Consult a healthcare provider before you start supplementing, especially if you are on medications.)
  3. Sometimes you may need some help. It’s not always the obvious stressor – like work, or relationship – that is keeping you up at night. We are emotional beings and as I mentioned before state of our mind affects the state of our body. Think about how much calmer you feel after get something burdening off of your chest. Working through our emotional issues can be done in various ways whether it be talking with a friend, addressing issues with a partner or employer, taking the time to grieve, seeking help from a counsellor, etc… It can be an important part of a good night’s rest.

 

There may be other health related reasons and conditions that could be impacting your sleep.  If you would like to investigate further, get in touch with me: info@drcatherinenewry.com.

Sweet Dreams!
Dr. C