Simple Solutions for Sleep Challenges

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and been unable to sleep again?  It is a situation that plaques all of us occasionally, but what if you are the person who simply cannot go to sleep and stay asleep? CLICK HERE to receive the FREE Sleep Success eBook

Let's first examine the importance of sleep for our health:

Our bodies require about a third of a day of sleep (more or less 8 hours, depending on ourage).  Research has shown us that the time we spend sleeping is crucial to our health, brain function, and emotional well-being. Depriving our body of sleep has been associated with many health risks and places a tremendous burden on virtually every organ system in our bodies. During sleep the body is hard at work rebuilding and maintaining itself. Blood vessels are mended during sleep. Sleep provides a boost to the immune system. Sleep balances hormones, including ghrelin, leptin, and insulin, and an imbalance in these hormones may result in weight problems.

Another important reason for us to get enough sleep is sleep’s effect on brain function. Sleep allows the brain to process the day’s events. New connections are formed during sleep. Sleep is necessary to prepare the brain for another day of learning. Both children and adults who fail to get the proper sleep have trouble learning, focusing, and paying attention. A particularly harmful effect of lack of sleep are bouts of “microsleep,” where the brain slides into sleep while the body is performing crucial tasks, such as driving. It is estimated that 100,000 car accidents a year are caused by weary drivers, resulting in 1,500 deaths. Not getting enough sleep puts children and teens at risk for anger, impulsivity, and bad moods, as well as growth problems, poor health, and lower grades in school.

Stress can take a huge toll on the quality of our sleep —but you may not know exactly how or why. Basically, it’s because feeling stressed out increases both physiological and psychological arousal in ways that are incompatible with the state our body and mind need to enter relaxed, restorative sleep So if we can’t initially relax after a difficult day once you’ve slipped under the covers, good quality sleep is bound to be elusive. We are likely to have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep and/or sleeping soundly. The time we spend in the deep, restorative sleep may be reduced. Making the cycle even more frustrating, if we don't sleep well at night, it is highly likely that we will be more reactive to stress during the day.

There are many natural solutions to assist people with sleep challenges, that can have effective healthy impact very quickly. Here are 6 easy tips to support healthy sleep habits:

6 Tips to a Better Night's Sleep 

1. Eat Well and Maintain a Healthy Exercise Routine – Eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise keeps our weight in check, but it also helps with sleep. Eating high carbohydrate foods floods the muscles with glucose, causing involuntary muscle movements during sleep, which disrupts rest. Exercising too close to bedtime ramps up metabolism and body temperature and can make it difficult to fall asleep. If you get hungry before bed, try snacking on a hand full of nuts. Nuts provide protein and fat, which are not only satisfying, but are slowly digested, which can provide a calm sleep, and rich in magnesium, a mineral that helps to calm the nervous system.

2. Maintain a Rhythm – Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule, going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time. Creating this rhythm helps regulate your body’s internal clock and may help you sleep better.

3. Just Say No to Alcohol, Caffeine, Nicotine, and Electronics – All of these can make going to sleep difficult. Don’t drink alcohol or caffeinated drinks too close to bedtime. Remove all electronics from the bedroom, including TVs,computers, and other electronic devices. Try to avoid bright light at least an hour before going to bed. Darkness will help your body begin producing melatonin, a hormone that naturally regulates sleep. To help keep your internal clock in balance, be sure to expose yourself to sunlight in the morning, which naturally tells your body to wake up.

4. Keep Cool – Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, dark, and relaxing environment, which is neither too hot, nor too cold. Your bed and pillows should be supportive, yet comfortable. If you experience shoulder, hip, or back pain in the morning, you can be sure you did not rest as well as you could have. It may be time for new bedding.

5. Wind Down – Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading or taking a warm bath. Certain drinks, such as chamomile tea, may be relaxing and non-stimulating.

6. Use Calming Essential Oils – Essential oils like Lavender and Bergamot are rich in linalool and linalyl acetate, compounds that have well-known relaxing properties. These oils can be diffused aromatically in the bedroom to create a calming and peaceful environment, perfect for getting a good night’s sleep. They can also be used topically and taken internally to calm the nervous system, promote relaxation, and lead to a restful sleep. Try placing two to four drops of Lavender or Bergamot essential oil in a warm, herbal tea (Chamomile, Lemongrass, etc.), or another favorite uncaffeinated beverage about 30 minutes before going to bed, or add two to four drops of Lavender into an empty capsule and swallow about 30 minutes before bed.

Jetlag Solutions for the weary traveller
Visiting different time zones offers a different sleep challenge: acclimating your body clock to the new zone. Our family frequently visits family and friends in California from our home in The Netherlands, and with the significant 9 hour time difference - it used to have a week-long impact on our sleep patterns, both on arrival and re-entry back home. Two years ago we were introduced to a wonderful all natural product which has made a huge difference. (We had previously tried Melatonin with not much luck). This product is doTERRA's Serenity Restful Complex softgel - we simply take one softgel 30 minutes before our desired sleep time - and sleep happens. The key for us is to transition to our new destination time whilst on the flight - sleeping inflight. We also use it on the first and second night - voila! Transition is complete.

Essential Oils for Sleep and Relaxation: Lavender • Vetiver • Serenity™ Calming Blend • Bergamot • Roman Chamomile - Click here for information on how to buy Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils at wholesale prices.

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