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Sleep Better to Feel Healthier

Most people require 7-8 hours of sleep per night to feel well and rested. However, 50% of Americans don’t get the sleep that they need or have problems with sleeping. Lack of sleep can actually exacerbate health problems and getting better sleep can improve your health.

Lack of Sleep: Problems it Causes

Not enough sleep can lead to more than just pouring yourself an extra-large coffee in the morning. In fact, lack of sleep can cause:

  • *hormonal imbalances
  • *trouble losing weight
  • *digestive issues
  • *trouble concentrating
  • *exacerbation of pain symptoms

Poor sleep is now even being linked to diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. If sleep is being linked to the progression of the disease process, then better sleep is at the root of both disease prevention and management. We should be concerned with the quality of the sleep we are getting and the importance of optimizing sleep quality to improve healing, wellness, and quality of life.

Better Sleep: How do you get it?

If you are having a problem with sleep, Dr. Aviva Romm, MD, author of the Adrenal Thyroid Revolution has some great suggestions to improve sleep and overall wellness.  Here are some of the recommendations that she offers in her book and on her website.

Steps to Better Sleep compliments of Dr. Aviva Romm, MD:

  1. 1. Make your bedroom an easy place to fall asleep:

  • *Keep electronics out of your bedroom
  • *Reduce ambient noise and light by using ear plugs or an eye mask if necessary
  • *Decorate your room in blues, yellows, and neutral colors to help your rest
  • *Keep the temperature down in the bedroom
  • *Use your bed just for sleeping or sex
  1. 2. Plan for sleep even when you aren’t sleeping:

  • *Avoid caffeine including green tea and chocolate after lunch and alcohol, smoking or nicotine near bedtime
  • *Don’t take naps
  • *Eat no later than 3 hours before bed
  • *Wait to head up to bed until you are tired.
  1. 3. Power down:

  2. We processing a lot of information through email, social media and contact on our devices thought the day. Our adrenal glands interpret this excess of information as stress and pump out stress hormones. This excess of stress hormones can cause insomnia.  If you feel like you are dragging all day and can’t sleep at night, you could be experiencing adrenal and stress hormone overload.
  • *Turn off devices an hour before bed.
  • *Use calming meditative or diaphragmatic breathing help you as you try to fall asleep
  • *Do some gentle restorative yoga postures that facilitate relaxation with good breathing (see: Are you breathing correctly?).
  1. 4. Find your natural rhythm:

  2. Try getting up at the same time each morning and going to bed around the same time each evening. Try to get some exercise with exposure to light or sit by the window for some of your meals.
  3. 5. Do your worrying before bed:

  4. Somewhere besides your bedroom, try writing out your worries in a journal and write a “to do” list for the next day at least an hour before you go to sleep.
  5. 6. Use Supplements:

  6. Speak with a trained physician regarding the use of herbal supplements for sleep including lavender oil, chamomile, passion flower, California poppy, hops, ashwagandha, calcium and magnesium, 5 HTP, and melatonin.

It’s important to remember that these are suggestions to get you started.   Speak with your physician regarding herbal supplements to ensure that they are safe with any conditions that you might have or with other medications that you are taking.

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