Are you tired of being tired?
I can't believe how often I hear this. I get it. I'm 48 and may women (and men) in my age bracket just don't sleep as well as they used to.
This post is for you if..
The truth is, most of us are incredibly busy and many of us get through life on little sleep. We don’t give our sleep the attention it deserves.
Getting enough sleep is crucial for good health. Let’s look at what happens when you don’t get enough sleep: In the United States, insufficient sleep has reached epidemic proportions.
Here are some statistics on sleep:
This sleep issue is a cultural problem.
We all have this problem. We are constantly striving to do more. Our doing more cuts into our sleep. When we cut into our sleep, we cut into the energy of the next day, the next round of the wheel.
You know that if you go to bed at midnight or later and get up before 7 the next day, you won’t be at your best. You will have borrowed energy for the next day. Your day won’t go as well as it could. You won’t perform as well as you could. You’ll feel less clear, more foggy, more forgetful. There is a lack of integrity with your body. If this happens once in a great while, it may not have a huge impact on your health. But… THERE IS A COMPOUND EFFECT OF NOT GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP: If you consistently fail to get enough sleep, for many weeks, months, years, you create long term problems for your body/mind and life. If you have this messy cycle of pushing the boundary and go to bed late for many years, you age faster. Insufficient sleep can create inflammation and increased inflammation wears on the immune system. Even if you eat well and exercise well, if you don’t sleep well, it starts to cause problems for your body. Inadequate sleep impairs our ability to think, to handle stress, to maintain a healthy immune system, and to moderate our emotions. It’s associated with heart disease, hypertension, weight gain, diabetes and wide range of psychiatric disorders including depression and anxiety.
The major costs of not sleeping well may well be the motivator to make changes in your life so you can sleep better. But, what’s even more important are the big prizes that sleep can give you.
According to Shawn Stevenson of Sleep Smarter:
“Sleep rebuilds you and keeps you youthful. High quality sleep fortifies your immune system, balances your hormones, boosts your metabolism, increases your physical energy and improves the function of your brain.”
My sleepless story:
I began having sleep troubles in adolescence. I am naturally prone to nervousness and anxiety, and in high school, I would tend to get all wound in the evening and have a hard time falling asleep. I tried lots of techniques, but the issue continued intermittently. Whenever I was dealing with something stressful in my life, my sleep suffered. And, this persisted through high school and into college.
In college, I was was lucky to discover yoga. I joined a yoga class thinking I was going to work on my stiff hamstrings. My hamstrings did get more supple, but the real gift was that yoga helped me calm down and therefore sleep better. Learning yoga and meditation and practicing them regularly helped me be less anxious and get better sleep. Nonetheless, as I got older, yoga and meditation weren’t always enough to help me always get a good night sleep. I regularly experienced that if I stayed up too late with a stimulating project, or on the screen, I would have trouble falling asleep. Or, I might fall asleep fine, but I would wake up at 3 or 4 AM and be unable to fall back to sleep.
In many ways, it was my sleep issue that led me to get serious about learning Ayurveda. Ayurveda, the Science of Life, and the sister science to yoga is all about aligning one’s body with the rhythms of nature. When I started studying Ayurveda, I finally began to understand my unique constitution, and how the choices in my diet, lifestyle and stress management could create balance or imbalance. I began to understand my strengths and my tendencies toward imbalance. I learned I could take small steps each day to optimize my daily routine and lifestyle toward better body integrity. Through yoga and Ayurveda, I have learned to architect my body, lifestyle and choices toward optimal health and great sleep.
Here are my 7 Secrets to Sweet Sleep:
1. GET UP EARLY AND GET SOME SUNLIGHT
2. ENGAGE IN DAILY MOVEMENT
3. GO EASY (OR CUT OUT) STIMULANTS AND ALCOHOL
4. EAT AN EARLIER LIGHTER DINNER
5. AVOID SCREEN TIME BEFORE BED
6. CREATE AN EASEFUL EVENING ROUTINE/RITUAL
7. MAKE YOUR BEDROOM A HAVEN FOR SLEEP + TURN LIGHTS OUT BY 10 P
IF YOU WAKE IN THE NIGHT:
If you have had a disruptive sleep pattern for a long time, it can take a while to get into a healthy rhythm. An imbalance of hormones can result in night waking. In some cases, the cortisol (wake up hormone) is secreted in the early morning hours. If this happens, and you wake up, here are some things you can do:
INTERESTED IN ESTABLISHING MORE HEALTHY HABITS?
If you are interested in the topic of how to align your body with the rhythms of nature for better sleep as well as for optimal energy, and if you are interested in better understanding how you can create a daily routine to support your health, please contact me. As a certified health coach, wellness educator and yoga instructor, I am trained in the daily habits and health principles of Ayurveda, diet therapy, stress reduction, yoga. I help people up-level their habits for vibrant living.
Downloadable tip sheet:
Listen to the audio talk:
Annie Barrett. Educator, certified health coach, educator and yoga instructor.