Getting consistent, good sleep is just as important for your health as good nutrition and regular exercise. Sleep is one of the foundational pieces to overall wellness and contributes to helping you exercise better, eat less, and enjoy an overall healthier lifestyle.
The opposite is also true, if you aren’t getting a good night’s sleep, you increase your risk for weight gain, poor exercise capabilities, imbalanced hormones, and lowered brain function. Here are some simple practices you can begin to slowly work into your life to help get a good night’s rest.
Creating a Supportive Sleep Environment
One of the first things we think about with sleep is our pillow, mattress and bedding. A good rule of thumb is to change your mattress and bedding every five to eight years. If you wake up in pain, or find that you toss and turn at night, consider purchasing a new mattress–it could make all the difference for a deep sleep.
The next thing to consider is environment around you when you sleep. Body temperature and your bedroom temperature can genuinely affect your quality of sleep. When you are looking to sleep well, make sure you never get too warm; better to have a nice cool room than to wake up sweating.
Numerous studies have shown that external noise can cause poor sleep, so you’ll want to have quiet, or ambient noise, like a sound machine, to keep noises from causing small wakings throughout the night.
If you have trouble falling asleep at night, or staying asleep, relaxation techniques before bed have been shown to improve overall sleep quality. Here are some ideas for pre-sleep relaxation:
- Listen to calming music
- Read a book
- Take a hot bath or shower
- Do deep breathing exercises
- Practice visualizations
- Eliminate blue light by wearing red lens blue blocking glasses or using red light bulbs for your light source
Managing Your Circadian Rhythm
One of the most important practices for getting good sleep is to have a fixed sleep schedule–wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. Your body has a natural clock for when to sleep and when to wake up called your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is vital for many parts of your body, especially your hormones and brain functioning.
This natural timekeeper tells your brain and body when they should be awake and when they should sleep. Your circadian rhythm stays healthy when your body is exposed to natural sunlight (or in some cases just bright light) during the day. Natural sunlight actually works with your body’s internal clock to improve daytime energy, and it also helps with the quality and duration of your sleep at night.
Using Diet and Exercise For Better Sleep
Some of the most basic health concepts are truly the basis for overall wellness. This is true with diet and exercise and sleep. Research has consistently pointed to exercise as one of the best ways to enhance all aspects of your body getting the rest it needs. Make sure you don’t exercise too close to bedtime; for some people, this actually hinders their ability to fall asleep.
For many, caffeine can give you a boost of energy in the morning or early afternoon, but when you have it late in the day, it actually stimulates your nervous system, keeping you from naturally moving into your bedtime. Another sleep disruptor is alcohol. It actually alters nighttime melatonin, and melatonin is one of the hormones that plays a key role in your circadian rhythm. Studies have also shown that drinking alcohol at night decreases the nighttime levels of HGH–another key factor in your circadian rhythm.
Overall, having a large meal before bed can also interfere with good sleep. Eating prompts your body to release insulin–another process linked to your circadian rhythm. Having a meal right before bed also leads to hormone disruption–a system vital to the restorative process your body needs when you are sleeping.
Healing Sleep through Integrative Practices
If you are having trouble sleeping, there are innovative new practices to help get your circadian rhythm back in alignment. At OWM Integrative Wellness, we look at every aspect of your lifestyle to support you on your wellness journey. We have curated the best integrative medicine to build basic functions, like sleep, into your foundation for health.
To promote better sleep, we offer Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapies, Peptide Therapies, CBD products, and so much more. Our goal is to stimulate the body’s own healing and regenerative functions for the restoration of an individual’s vitality. For more information on optimizing your health click here, or call us at 716-626-6301.