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“I can’t sleep!” Must do’s before you investigate further
If you are having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep first let me tell you – you are not the only one! I see so many patients who struggle with such a vital component of our health, so I thought it was time to address some simple changes to check off before we look further.
I am sure most of you already know how important sleep is… For managing mood, stress, blood sugar, it helps us balance our hormone levels, it gives us a sacred period to fast and allow the body to heal and for tissues to repair. Studies show better sleep affects our decision making, attitude, concentration and memory!
Below is a checklist of things I highly recommend you do consistently for a few weeks before investigating the issue with a naturopath or integrative doctor for a more individual approach. I always tell my clients the more chronic (long term) or complex the issue the important you must do the BASICS RIGHT and 100%. By implementing these lifestyle changes you are telling our body you are ready to take responsibility for your health – and that changes everything.
- Wind down with a ‘power down routine” and go to bed at the same time every night
Your body’s circadian rhythm is one of the most important factors when it comes to sleep.
Put on pyjamas, light a candle, read a book, take a bath. Find a simple routine that you can repeat every night. It is most optimal to be in bed by 10pm, to avoid the cortisol surge your body will naturally do to keep you awake.
- Cut off screen time after 7pm
Blue light exposure will hinder melatonin production. Get “f.lux” on your phone to turn on from 5pm, or use “blue blocking” glasses – but even better avoid looking at any screens at night time.
- Turn off your Wifi at night & put your phone on aeroplane mode.
To avoid EMF exposure at night time, this can make a huge difference on some people’s sleep quality. I have a timer set on the power point where my wifi is plugged in so it automatically turns off at night.
- No coffee after 2pm. No “night cap” before bed .
Alcohol may make you sleepy but it reduces the quality of your sleep.
- Exercise and move your body everyday!
But avoid exercising 2-3 hours before bed unless it is a light stretch.
- Have an early dinner and limit water at night.
Save the body from digesting at night time and gave a light early dinner. Drink your most of your water in the first half of the day.
- Get outside in to the sunshine each morning.
This one is very important! Aim for at least 30 minutes of sun exposure every day, ideally in the first half of the day.
- Make your bedroom a SANCTUARY
Keep your bedroom clean, minimal and simple. All you need is a bed! No TV’s or computers.
- Black out your room, and limit noise
No LED lights, streets lights any light in the bedroom. Cover LEDs with black electrical tape.
After 7pm use lamps and dim the lighting in the other rooms in the house to eliminate any blue light.
Even with your eyes closed you body can pick up blue light emission which will disturb melatonin production.
- Gratitude List
Write down a list of 5 things you are grateful for in a book next to your bed. Finish your night with some blessings!
Did you do ALL of the above and still not sleeping? Try these!
- Consider Magnesium. Magnesium is a muscle and central nervous system relaxant, you can read about the benefits here. The form of magnesium you take is important so check with a qualified practitioner first.
- Essential Oils –
Diffuse Lavender in your bedroom at night. I also like to add a couple of drops of Vetiver and Chamomile for a great relaxing effect. I use and love this brand.
- Breathing –
We love using the breath cycle of 4 count (inhale) – 7 count (hold) – 8 count (exhale) repeat this pattern through day and in bed to balance your nervous system. Learning a daily practice of meditation has also shown to improve sleep.
- Get a naturopath to make you a liquid herb sleep tonic –
Naturopaths can make up amazing liquid herb tinctures with herbs like Valerian and Passion Flower which a very effective for sleep and hormone balance.
Make these changes a habit for 30 days and let me know if they help! We are always here to help, our studio works together to help find the root cause of your issues so please reach out if you need further advice.
Dr. Angela Baklis (Osteopath, Integrative Health Coach)
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