Healthier Sleep the Natural Way

File photo    Quality sleep is an essential part of maintaining good overall health.

 

Sleep is one of the most important things to maintain health and wellness. The brain and body get the chance to process everything they have done during the day, while regenerating and repairing. High-quality sleep is correlated with memory, cognition, mood, weight and appetite. 

Poor sleep can negatively affect the immune system, inhibit memory, adversely affect mood and behavior, increase perceptibility to pain- and other health parameters.

Tips for healthier sleep
• Avoid caffeine, which can stay in the body for eight to 18 hours. At least avoid it after noon.
• Avoid simple carbohydrates and sugars, but especially two hours before bedtime since these can be stimulating.
• Avoid alcohol, since it can turn on the reticular activating system portion of the brain, which inhibits deep sleep.
• Avoid using the bedroom for other purposes besides sleep, such as watching TV, eating, playing, etc.
• Avoid stimulating activities at least one hour before bed, such as arguing, TV, exciting read, etc. 
• Finish eating dinner three hours before bed.
• Get regular exercise daily, at least 30 minutes, and to the point where keeping up a conversation proves difficult.
• Do not keep cell phones near the bed. The small amount of radiation from these devices can disrupt deep sleep. Electromagnetic fields emitting from these devices has been shown in studies to interrupt stages of sleep.
• Establish a routine of getting to bed around the same time each night and waking up the same time every morning, even on the weekends.
• Try to go to bed before 10:30 p.m., since studies have shown that after this time, our brains release stimulating hormones which makes us feel more awake.
• Make sure the room is completely dark with no digital clocks, television or lights from outside.
• The room should be a cool temperature, not too warm, hot or cold. 

Tips for Trouble Sleeping 
• Soak in a warm bath (not hot, as it is stimulating to the nervous system) for 20 minutes with three cups of Epsom salt 30 minutes before bed. 
• Lightly warm up one cup of preferred milk. Grate half teaspoons of nutmeg and a pinch of saffron and add this to the warm milk. Drink before bed.
• Drink a cup of relaxing tea before bed, such as chamomile or passion flower tea.
• If after 20 minutes without falling asleep, get out of bed and do something that is boring and try again in 30 minutes.
• Use slow deep breathing or alternating nostril breathing.
• Have a light protein and complex carbohydrate snack when woken up in the middle of the night or very early morning.
• White noise can be beneficial for some people. Placing a HEPA air filter in the room and running it at low speed for both the white noise and air purification have helped many patients.

The above are just some basics. There are many more non-drug, natural and integrative approaches including taking vitamins, minerals and herbs. Make an appointment today to discuss other strategies and options.

 

 

Dr. Mimosa Tonnu utilizes naturopathic, integrative and holistic medicines to treat the whole family. She sees patients for both acute and chronic health conditions at Born Naturopathic Associates, Inc., in Alameda. Find out more at www.bornnaturopathic.com, or 550-4023.