I Can't Sleep! 6 Tips for Bedtime.
Whatever you want to call it.
(Note: none of the links in here are affiliates and I do not earn money from them. They are just things I have purchased and love!)
You have a busy weekend, Sunday rolls around, you are beyond exhausted, and are waiting for that moment when the kids close their eyes (for the third time), and your head can rest in slumber. You get into your cozies, climb into your fresh bed, lay your head down and close your eyes.
You take a deep breath, and relax into your pillow thinking you will drift off in no time. And then: your eyes pop open, because the squirrels in your head keep running the movie of "Monday at Work" on an ongoing loop.
You try not to look at the time, but you can't help it. 12:00. 1:00. 2:30. The anxiety mounts. (This is just one of the peak times of anxiety for many of us!). Your mind is screaming: I CAN'T FALL ASLEEP!!!
Have you had your sleep evaluated? Many dentists are equipped to discuss sleep disordered breathing, as well as your doctor.
Start at your licensed healthcare practitioner to make sure there are no underlying causes of sleep disturbance.
When you have sleep disturbance, you cannot get into Stage 3 sleep. This is a deeper stage of sleep, where toxins can be eliminated, we secrete human growth hormone, and so much more. With a sleep disturbance, we stay in stage 1 and 2 sleep, which are the first steps to sleep, but do not allow the full process of restoration to the body.
After exploring with a health professional, here are some tips to interrupt this problem.
I know, I have an Instagram problem too.
From scrolling smoothie bowls to body positive quotes, the little device in my hand can keep me going way past my natural bedtime. We live in an artificial world it seems. Artificial light disrupts our hormone melatonin which helps in sleep regulation. Sunlight, best in the early part of the day, naturally tells the body to wake up, and melatonin increases when the light decreases naturally in the day. Wearing blue light blocking glasses when working at night on your computer helps filter the disruptive light. Try to get off your screens 1-2 hours prior to bedtime. A great answer to this is wearing light blocking lenses like BLUblox (no affiliate link, it’s just cause I love them and wear them). If you can turn the screens OFF at least an hour before bedtime, which should be the same time each night, that’s a GREAT and FREE option!
As a Mindful Eating and Women's Health Coach, I help women change the way they see their plate and themselves, through group connection and community, exploring triggers, internal dialogue and meditation. I blend my nutrition knowledge to help people figure out food that is personal, satisfying and not confining. Figuring the FOOD THING out can be one way to support your sleep patterns, but not in a restricted way.
Some common nutrients like B Vitamins, and Magnesium can support sleep.
B vitamins are water soluble and when they are grouped together, they are called "B-Complex". They are found in food, and also manufactured in the gut, specifically in the large intestine. There's so many reasons to talk about gut health! The B's are great for stress, anxious feelings, fatigue and even insomnia. In some people, the B's are stimulating, so taking them earlier in the day can be best.
Where to get B’s?
Animal products, like liver and pork, will give you B’s.
Nutritional yeast is full of B’s, but you need a properly grown good source to make sure its content is optimal. You can also have too much of a good thing, as uric acid (gout) levels can increase with large amounts of nutritional yeast (1).
YOUR GUT. Nourish your gut with pre and probiotic food to support production of B Vitamins!
A good B Complex. Taking separate single B vitamins, unless you’re deficient in say, B 12, may delete your other B vitamins (2).
Called the "anti-stress" mineral, it relaxes muscles, including those in blood vessels. It is processed and absorbed like calcium, and is supplemented in ratios of 2:1, calcium to magnesium.
Greens (spinach, kale)
The germ of whole grains
Nuts and seeds
Seafood like salmon or crab
Foods rich in magnesium are best at the end of the day, and if supplementing, take an hour before your bedtime. It does need to be balanced with Calcium.
The word diet is meant to encompass WHAT we eat on a daily basis, and if your food intake does not support the little chemical reactions that happen in your amazing beautiful body, then, your sleep may suffer.
If you don't move enough in the day, your body will not have had enough energy output to be tired, or you may not have experienced enough natural light to feed the natural rhythm of wake and rest.
We all have stress in this modern society, and some of us DO experience more EVENTS that are stress inducing than other people. Taking a look at how you respond to that stress, and how you take care of yourself during that time, can make a huge difference in your sleep.
Just like our kids, we adults need routine, for sleeping. Same time to bed, same time to rise, even on weekends. Boring I know, but better than falling asleep in an office meeting and snoring, or worse, at the wheel of your car.
COOL, DARK ROOM.
Keeping the room dark and cool helps the body rest. Light can decrease melatonin production and trick your body into thinking its time to get up.
Alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, (and your screens) are stimulating and affect the melatonin release in your body.
Having your caffeine in the morning, and not to much of it, will give your body a chance to metabolize it, letting the stimulation propertied of it, leave you system. Better yet, why not substitute for tea, green tea, or a delicious elixir? Have you tried Dandy Blend (dandelion) yet or Annanda Chaga? Annanda makes a chaga coffee blend that is delish!
If you are a smoker, your caffeine tolerance is a little different. If you are trying to quit smoking, you do need to decrease your caffeine intake, to match your bodies lower metabolism of caffeine.
My favourite essential oils for relaxing are: Lavender, Orange, Vetiver, and Rosemary.
Lavender and Orange both have scientific studies to support their properties of relaxation. Wild Orange has been known to uplift, and calm, depending on the need of the person. Vetiver is high is sesquiterpenes, which are soothing to the body. It is very earthy and makes a heavenly diffuser blend, along with Lavender and Wild Orange. This oil, along with Frankincense, are two oils that can cross the blood brain barrier, and interact positively with your brain chemistry. Calming, earthy, and grounding, these are two oils that can help with swirling emotions. In fact, emotional use is what drew me to essential oils in the first place.
Sleep, and rest, are part of a foundation of a healthy body. Give yourself permission to rest when tired, and hit the sack when sleepy.
One last resource for you is this podcast, by Sleep Coach Beth Wyatt. Snuggle in to the Calm and Cozy podcast and treat yourself to some bedtime stories!
Haas, Elson M., 2006, Staying Healthy With Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine
Ballentine, R., 2007, Diet and Nutrition: A Holistic Approach