The missing nutrient: Sleep

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  • August 21, 2017

3 tips to get the nurturing sleep your body is craving.

Feeling overwhelmed, stressed and possibly even depressed? Lets shine a light on something that you may have overlooked and where you may be missing out on getting one of the most important nutrients that your body requires. Quality sleep. In today’s world, even if you are sleeping, you may not realise the quality of your sleep is compromised. Why? In this fast paced world with endless stimulation and things that constantly require our time and more importantly, energy, sleep is not getting the revered time and importance it deserves. On top of that, especially in New Zealand where Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) means your moods are more likely to be low during the dark winter months, regulating sleep and being proactive in this department can have a huge impact on mental health.

While work commitments, impending deadlines and the need for a social life to let off some steam makes pushing your bed time later and later the easiest option, continuing to literally burn the midnight oil and then getting up early to try to fit everything in your day is compromising your mental and physical health and wellbeing. It may also be making you feel even more overwhelmed and the harder you try to fit everything in, the less you are getting done. You in fact take longer and are less capable when your body is running on compromised efficiency.

Sleep, along with food and water are a fuel source for your body.

Secondly- quality control! Quantity and quality are not the same thing, so if are thinking that you get a good 7, 8 or even 9 hours (well done you!) of sleep a night, the quality of your sleep is just as important and something that is severely compromised due to light, radiation and our worked up states of mind. Elevated cortisol (adrenalin) in our bodies means we are in heightened levels of stress at all times. Sleep deprivation is further disrupting our body’s ability to heal and counteract the effects of stress and we are ending up in a state of sleep debt.

Three signs you are not getting enough or have compromised quality of sleep:

1. You wake up tired in the morning even after a full night’s sleep
2. You feel overwhelmed and on the verge of tears or a breakdown even in seemingly minor situations
3. Your appetite has increased or you rely heavily on fatty, sweet or energy food or drinks I.E. CAFFIENE

Three tips to get nurturing and restorative night’s sleep:

1. Use black out curtains or blinds in your bedroom. This means that when you turn the light off you can’t even see your hand if it’s in front of your face. This is one of the best pieces of advice I can give you and it works wonders for kids and babies too. You will be amazed at the difference this makes to your quality of sleep. Note: This means that any electronics that are blinking, flashing or lighting up need to be put away so your blackout is not compromised. Light in your room when you are meant to be sleeping elevates cortisol levels at night, which disrupts sleep and introduces problems relating to body-fat levels, insulin resistance, and systemic inflammation. It also contributes to sleep debt and disrupts the regulation of your appetite.

2. Get rid of as many computers, electronics and sources of electromagnetic radiation as you can in the room that you sleep in. Two reasons, A) Radiation has been shown to effect sleep and health in studies and if you are electro sensitive, even more so. B) Blue light emitted from these devices effects the levels of melatonin (the hormone required for sleep) this affects the quality portion of your sleep. If you absolutely need to, see what you cover, switch off, or for cell phones, turn onto airplane mode. This means your alarm will still work but transmission is turned off.

3. As you prepare to doze off, concentrate on your breathing. Take deep breaths in and out as you focus on each area of your body and consciously relax. Super duper tip: check in with your mouth and jaw. If you are stressed, you will be AMAZED at how often you are clenching your jaw as you go to sleep at night. Consciously paying attention to this and relaxing your jaw, opening your mouth slightly and doing a few fake yawns will help you and your body to relax and stop releasing cortisol into your system. I check and adjust jaws as well the entire cranial system and in most people they haven’t even realised they cannot open their jaw as wide as they should be able to or that their temples are sore to touch when applying even a slight amount of pressure.

Bonus tips: When you wake up in the morning, smile. For no reason, smile as soon as your alarm goes off, even if you are still half asleep and set yourself up for a day of gratitude and high energy.

Find a holistic practitioner who can check, adjust and advise you on sleep, hormone function, stress management and what things to correct to get the results you require.

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