Each week, I will share three things on how to heal holistically. Drawing from my 28 years of experience as a practicing Naturopath, as well as what I am currently working on, exploring, and curious about. Make a pot of tea and give yourself the time and care you deserve.
- HEALING: Considerations for when you are experiencing XYZ.
- REVERENCE: A deep respect & attention to the things that truly impact healing.
- EXPLORING: A journey into the deeper work, meeting the parts, wounds, and survival strategies that keep us small, stuck, and suffering with persistent symptoms & feelings.
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1. HEALING: When you can't sleep, consider this...
Getting a good night's sleep is essential for our physical and mental well-being. Unfortunately, many of us struggle with sleep-related issues. Stress, anxiety, and busy lifestyles are some of the common reasons why we find it difficult to get a good night's rest. However, there are several simple yet effective ways to promote optimal sleep. In this article, we will explore some of the practical tips that you can incorporate into your daily routine to enhance your sleep quality.
Aim for 7 to 9 hours of actual sleep time, which translates to 8 to 9.5 hours of "in bed time."
Take a magnesium glycinate supplement. Magnesium can enhance melatonin secretion and activate calming neurotransmitters. We now have available a brilliant over the counter magnesium supplement that doesn't require a prescription from us. Buy online or in store.
Drink a herbal tisane with some of these ingredients - hops, chamomile, passionflower, lemon balm, lavender and valerian for calm & balm. Try our Hypnos Insomnia Tisane, specifically created for sweet slumber.
Limit your intake of caffeine, as it can have a half-life of up to 6 hours and can interfere with sleep.
Avoid consuming alcohol before bed, as it can fragment sleep and affect the quality of your rest.
Incorporate meditation into your daily routine, as it has been shown to improve sleep. Aim for 20 minutes twice a day, before breakfast and before dinner.
Avoid napping during the day if you have trouble sleeping at night.
Consume a nutrient-dense diet that includes calcium (from sources such as sardines with bones and hulled tahini), magnesium (from leafy greens and almonds), and vitamin D (from high-quality eggs). Bone broth is also a good source of glycine, which promotes sleep.
Establish a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, including weekends.
Sleep on clean sheets, change them at least once a week.
Avoid using digital devices for at least an hour before bedtime.
Sleep in a well-ventilated room with fresh air, and use natural materials such as cotton and linen for bedding.
Keep the room cool to promote deeper and more restorative sleep.
If you find yourself struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep, try getting out of bed and reading a book or magazine in dim light for 20-25 minutes before trying to sleep again.
- Consider the state of your nervous system. Are you in a constant state of fight and flight? Excess adrenaline and cortisol can interfere with the body's natural sleep-wake cycle, making it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. These hormones can increase heart rate, blood pressure, and alertness, making it harder to relax and enter a state of rest. Chronic elevation of these hormones can also disrupt the production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. Ultimately, this can lead to insomnia and other sleep disorders.
- Consider your hormones. Insomnia in women can be influenced by hormonal changes related to the menstrual cycle, perimenopause, and menopause. Premenstrual sleep problems may be caused by a drop in progesterone levels at the end of the menstrual cycle, hypersensitivity to the fluctuations of progesterone, or a premenstrual histamine or mast cell reaction. These factors can lead to sleep disturbances and contribute to conditions like premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Perimenopausal sleep problems are linked to the loss of progesterone, which can cause a recalibration of the brain and stress response system. This stage of life can also be associated with mast cell activation or high histamine levels, further exacerbating sleep issues. During menopause, the loss of both progesterone and oestrogen can result in changes to the part of the brain responsible for regulating the circadian rhythm. The reduction of oestrogen can cause sleep maintenance insomnia, which involves waking up in the middle of the night. However, the brain can adapt to lower oestrogen levels, and sleep typically returns to normal. Source: Lara Briden.
In conclusion, optimal sleep is critical for our overall health and well-being. By following the simple tips mentioned above, such as getting 7-9 hours of actual sleep time, limiting caffeine and alcohol intake, establishing a consistent sleep schedule, and creating a relaxing sleep environment, we can improve our sleep quality and wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Remember, sleep is not a luxury but a necessity, and we owe it to ourselves to prioritise it.
- Begin your bedtime routine one hour before you plan to go to sleep. Aim to sleep before 10pm, as this is the time when the body experiences the greatest surge of melatonin.
- Limit social activities that disrupt your sleep schedule, such as late-night dinners and drinks, to a few times per week. Intermittent circadian stress is manageable, but chronic long-term circadian stress promotes disease.
- Dim or turn off most of the lights in and around your home, and spend some time experiencing the dusky consciousness. Nighttime light exposure suppresses the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls sleep and wake cycles.
- Soothe the senses: Listen to relaxing music or white noise, take a warm bath or shower, and take care of your skin.
- Get comfortable and get into flow: Dress in comfortable, clean pyjamas and practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, prayer, mindfulness, or gentle yoga.
- Remove all electronic devices from your bedroom, close the lights, and sleep in total darkness. This means that after 15 minutes of turning off the lights, you should not be able to see objects in the room. Use room-darkening blinds or curtains and cover any cracks of light under doors.
- Keep a journal to reflect on your bedtime routine, your emotions, and your progress.
- Surrender: Get into bed, close your eyes and allow yourself to relax and surrender to sleep.
3. EXPLORING: Your body clock
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the rhythm of your body is based on a 24-hour TCM organ clock. This clock is divided into two-hour sections, each corresponding to a specific organ. Waking up at certain times of the night can indicate different physical and emotional conditions.
- 11pm - 1am: The gallbladder is active during this time. Taking care of your gallbladder through your diet and digestive healthcare can help alleviate any potential issues. Emotionally, waking up during this time may signify unresolved feelings of bitterness and resentment.
- 1am - 3am: The liver is active during this time. Overloading the liver can lead to physical and emotional issues such as unresolved anger or high stress levels.
- 3am - 5am: The lungs, specifically breathing, may be imbalanced during this time. Emotionally, it may be linked to unresolved feelings of loss and grief.
- 5am - 7am: The large intestine is active during this time. Imbalances in the large intestine can lead to physical issues such as constipation. Emotionally, waking up during this time may indicate feelings of being stuck.
In order to address these issues, it is important to learn about each organ's function and how to support them through diet, exercise, and self-care practices. Additionally, taking the time to reflect on your emotions and address any unresolved feelings can also help improve overall well-being.