Sleep is one of the foundations of health. It is vital for our survival and plays a key role in every function of our body. During your sleeping hours your body does a lot of its detoxification and repairing of cells. Getting enough, quality sleep is important for improving energy levels, recharging the brain, boosting the immune system, balancing hormones, stabilizing weight, regulating circadian rhythms and allowing the cells to repair themselves.
There are many studies that demonstrate sleep quality and duration as predictors of long-term health. Not getting enough quality sleep disrupts our normal biology. Even if you think you can function on less than 7 hours of sleep, your body becomes more susceptible to heart attacks, obesity, diabetes, memory decline, chronic pain and autoimmune issues.
- Going to sleep between 10pm and midnight. Closer to 10pm the better.
- You can fall asleep easily.
- You sleep solidly without waking up in the night for 7-9hrs.
- You feel rested when you wake up in the morning.
If your sleep is not ideal, then the quality of your sleep may be diminished which can lead to a number of health issues. Poor sleep is a symptom of an underlying imbalance in the body.
Here are FIVE possible blocks to a good night sleep:
- Adrenals are stressed
Adrenals release your body’s stress hormones, including cortisol. Cortisol levels should decrease during sleeping hours, if you are chronically stressed due to mental/emotional stress, or the stress of chronic pain or chronic infection or chronic inflammation then the high cortisol levels can disrupt and affect a proper night sleep. The key to treating this problem is identifying and removing the stressors while providing adrenal support.
- Liver is congested
Liver is the body’s major detoxification organ and it can get congested when there is a high toxic load in the body. The liver is the most biologically active between 1-3am. If the liver is congested then a person’s sleep will typically be disrupted during this liver time. This issue can be addressed by taking steps to decrease the toxic load on the liver by eating organic, non-GMO, non-processed foods. As well as supporting liver function with freshly squeezed lemon in water and liver herbs such as Turmeric and Milk Thistle.
- Melatonin disturbers
Clock lights, lights from phones, light through our windows are examples of melatonin disturbers. Darkness triggers the production of a hormone called melatonin, which initiates sleepiness and the onset of sleep. If melatonin production is disturbed then our sleep-wake cycle is disrupted. Light disrupts our body’s natural sleep-wake cycle and prevents the release of melatonin. Our eyes are stimulated by light even through the eyelids. Therefore we need to sleep in a dark room, with no light sneaking in through the windows or shining through our clocks or phones.
- Wrong temperature
Our core body temperature decreases during sleeping hours. If our bedroom or blankets keep the body too warm then the body cannot lose heat to naturally cool down. Therefore we need to sleep in a cool room.
- Poor digestion
If digestion is poor and a person is experiencing heartburn or GERD, then this can contribute to poor sleep quality. The best way to improve digestion is to stay away from major inflammatory foods such as wheat, cow’s dairy and refined sugar and take a high-quality probiotic.
Here are some ways to increase the quality of our sleep:
- Exercise daily.
- Reduce or eliminate caffeine.
- Soothing routine 1hr before bed. Turn off technology, hot bath, calming tea, read a book.
- Sleep in a cold, dark, quiet environment – think of a cave.