HELP! I CAN’T SLEEP (Part 1)
This is a guest post from my dear IG friend, Nancy Webster, mom to 8 and grandma to 3.5 so far, has been homeschooling herself since high school about all things alternative health-related. Now, at age 60, she’s studying for official certification in functional health so she can help more people with the years she has left on earth.
Part 1 of this post lists a few simple sleep tips to help you start getting more of those needful Zzz’s.
Is the last time you slept like a baby practically when you were a baby?
Maybe you can relate to the meme I’ve seen floating through Facebook which shows, on the left, an archaic metal jail bed and on the right, a cushy, soft princess bed. Above the jail bed it reads something like: “How my bed feels during the night.” And above the princess bed, it reads: “How my bed feels when my alarm goes off in the morning.”
If that’s you, at least you can have the comfort of knowing you are in the majority these days. Sleep issues are one of the main complaints doctors hear, especially from post-menopausal women.
Sadly, besides telling their patients to avoid caffeine at nighttime, most doctors only know to prescribe sleeping pills. Besides being addictive, as patients age, doctors are not so willing to prescribe sleep aids, however, due to the risk of falls and increase in dementia episodes.
Sleep is as vital to good health as exercising, eating well, and thinking positively. It’s when the body restores itself. And when it’s not happening on at least an almost nightly basis, physical and mental health problems appear.
A quick internet search offers many good lists of healthy tips like:
- Avoid caffeine. Even if you could sleep right after coffee consumption when you were younger, your liver now cannot detox it fast enough to allow you to rest. Chocolate even disturbs some people’s sleep.
- Keep a regular rising and bedtime schedule, preferably between 6a – 10p.
- Start your day by going outside (or looking out the window, at least) first-thing. This sets your inner “sleep clock.”
- Finish supper by 7, so you aren’t in the thick of digesting when you go to bed.
- Turn off your TV, phone, computer – all screens – at least 2 hours before bedtime to allow your body to start upping its sleepy hormone: melatonin.
- Also, consider buying blue light (from screens) blocking “sunglasses” to wear in the evenings and only using red lightbulbs in your house two hours before bedtime. (Same melatonin reason.)
- Definitely get out and move your body/exercise during the day, but avoid strenuous exercise in the evening.
- Drink half your body weight in ounces of water (within reason) every day, but NOT much of that the last hour or two before bedtime.
- Get evaluated for sleep apnea. Consider being fitted by a specialized dentist for a jaw-positioning, removable appliance you can wear in your mouth (like a retainer worn after orthodontics) if the thoughts of a CPAP are as abhorrent to you as they are to some.
- If your structural alignment is off, you may struggle to feel comfortable enough in bed to sleep deeply. Consultation with a chiropractor is where I’d start for this issue.
Parts 2 & 3 of this post will dig a little deeper to help you discover what might be the root cause(s) for your sleep troubles.
If you’d like more details about some of the tips discussed in this article, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.