I grew up with two parents who believed sleep interferred with their daily lives. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “early to rise makes one healthy, wealthy and wise”.
On the days I slept past 7 am they told me I was wasting my day so I learned to view sleep as a guilty pleasure. Those are the days I gained weight, felt depressed and craved sugar. Today, I view sleep as essential for a healthy mind and body. I get at least 8 hrs and when I’m lucky I get 9!
Last week I posted some astounding facts about sleep, the importance of getting it and how many people in our culture are not getting it. I have discovered that people who, like my parents, pride themselves on being able to “survive” on just a few hours of sleep are slowly killing themselves.
Not one client or cleanser walks through my door and gets to leave without discussing their sleep habits. It is the single most important factor in leading a cleansed, restored and optimal life.
I know that some of these things seem easier than others, but they are all equally important. I am guilty of watching TV right before bed or checking my emails while tucked under the covers. The good news is these habits can be broken!
Power off that phone and grab a book instead of the remote for one week and your routine will be set.
Here are 10 ways to improve your sleep:
1. When the days get shorter in Fall and Winter we need more sleep- let your body cooperate with the natural light and dark cycles of the day and allot at least an extra hour of sleep during those months.
2. Eat to balance your circadian rhythm: eat within an hour of waking and always eat a healthy protein, healthy fat and healthy carbohydrate every time you eat.
3. I believe in eating mostly or all raw during the day but giving your body a grounding, cooked meal at night. Your body needs to settle and calm naturally so that you can have a good night’s sleep. An all raw day will provide your body with too much energy. Yes, that’s a bad thing sometimes.
4. Never go more than 5 hours between a meal.
5. If you tend to wake up in the middle of the night, specifically between 1-3 AM, you should eat a little protein with fat before bed. Try a warm homemade almond milk or a handful of pumpkin seeds.
6. Keep your glycemic levels balanced, avoid sugar and balance any whole grains with protein.
7. Manage stress- it brings up cortisol which keeps you awake. Try a reflexology foot massage, infrared sweat session, leisurely walk for 20 minutes each day, yoga, and lay on your back with your feet elevated over your heart for 15 minutes.
8. Heal your gut- night is when parasites get active and can adversely affect your sleep. Having a healthy gut is a surefire way to combat parasites and sleep well. Add in a daily probiotic (I like Seed Probiotics or when traveling Dr. Ohhira’s Professional Formula ) for optimal gut health.
9. Follow the natural light cycles of nature, and at night, dim the lights in your house, light candles, don’t watch TV or check your computers or phones before bed. All of these things ignite your nervous system. Your body needs 3 hours of dim light before it starts producing melatonin. Mandate after 8 PM to be low-lighting time. You’ll save on your electricity bill too.
10. Get your bloodwork done if you’re having trouble sleeping. This can alert you to any chronic infection that may be affecting your sleep. These are very stressful on the body and can affect your adrenal health. If you have a chronic infection, your diet can be instrumental in helping you regain your health.