SLEEP – One of the foundations of health
BY: DR. MELINA ROBERTS
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 chronic disease including heart attacks, obesity, diabetes, memory decline, chronic pain and autoimmune issues.
Taking prescription sleep medications will help you sleep but it will not be quality sleep that gets you into the healing phases of sleep, hence it has a negative impact on your sleep quality and is not the solution for better sleep.
Here are some ways to increase the quality of our sleep:
- Do not eat later than 7pm.
- 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.
- 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. Your Naturopathic Doctor can address causative factors which may be stopping you from having the quality of sleep your body needs to function optimally.