From the time we are born to the time we die, sleep is an incredibly important component of our overall health. If you look at the body as an ecosystem, sleep is one critical piece of the puzzle that keeps the ecosystem in balance and healthy. When sleep is poor, infrequent, or inadequate, the ecosystem quickly gets out of balance and that starts to show in many other areas of our health. Other than being incredibly frustrating, poor sleep can diminish your immune function, increase your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, increase your risk of certain types of cancer, diminishes brain functions such as decision-making and memory, increases your risk of gaining weight, diminishes your libido, increases your risk of diabetes, and more. That concerning list is enough to make most people want to improve their sleep but many are unsure where to begin or assume they have tried everything and won’t be successful without sleeping medications. Below, we look a three of the many great natural and healthy ways to improve the quality and duration of your sleep so that you can experience the rest you need as well as improved holistic health!
3 Natural Ways to Improve Your Sleep
- Turn Off Lights
- Our bodies have evolved over many centuries to have a natural circadian rhythm that associates bright light with daytime and darkness as nighttime. But, modern technology has allowed us to have a multitude of stimuli at any hour of the day. We can stay up as late as we want reading a book with electrically-powered lights or watching the blue light of television late into the early morning hours if we so choose. The problem is, our bodies are not naturally inclined to that rhythm and thus, by simply following the natural lighting patterns of the day and dimming the lights, turning them off completely, or only using candlelight in the evening, you can cue your body to know that it is nighttime so that it starts naturally winding down on its own to prepare for sleep.
- Wind Down: Mindfulness, Meditation, Yoga, Stretching – You Pick!
- During the day your body likely sits down for long periods of time in a physically unnatural position which can add stress to your lower back, pelvis, and other areas. Additionally, many things that happen during the day including the way you walk, exercise, injury, etc. can add physical stress to your body. During the day, all of these things cause tension in the body and when that builds up it can make it difficult to wind down. One natural way to escape the mental, emotional, and physical stressors of the day is with the physical act of stretching your body whether through gentle prolonged stretches or a nice relaxing yoga practice. Additionally, another way to slow your mind down and release the stress of the day is by practicing mindfulness and meditating.
- Melatonin & Other Supplements
- With a commitment to the pursuit of holistic health through natural modalities and mediums such as herbal supplements. Melatonin is a powerful hormone that the body needs when it is stressed to calm down. When your body is more stressed, you likely have lower levels of melatonin and when you are deficient in melatonin, it can make it difficult to fall asleep. Your naturopath will be able to determine if you need additional melatonin or other natural supplements that can help you get more restful sleep in your daily routine and the appropriate amount that you need so consult your doctor before making any changes.