Sleep…  Until you’ve been missing it, you may not give it much thought.  I’ve found myself struggling the past few weeks not sleeping well due to family health issues.  Worry and racing thoughts have taken over my normally easy-to-rest brain.  I’ve had clients that haven’t sleep well in years.  After being affected by this for a few weeks myself, I can’t imagine how difficult life would be if sleep deprived for years.

There are books written on sleep, so I am just touching on the surface here.  Like all topics shown here, please see your doctor or health professional if you are suffering from certain areas of health that are not working for you.  In the area of sleep, there could be some reasons like sleep apnea or restless legs that needs to be addressed.

The importance of sleep and its ability to rebuild, repair, and clean out our bodies is much more understood now.  Many health issues can be attributed to lack of sleep.  So, this is an important one to figure out.

We are all different so it’s key to see what resonates with you to try, but here are a few ideas of what may be missing or needed if you are not getting a good 8 or more hours of solid sleep a night.

Make sure any foods/beverages consumed from 2pm on are not too stimulating.  Caffeine, b vitamins, alcohol, foods with MSG (mono sodium glutamate, yeast extract, hydrolized protein, etc.) as glutamate all cause excitatory brain activity and are key items to reduce.  Also avoiding heavy foods like fried foods as well as burgers and pizza or rich pasta, which may be harder to digest.  Sugary processed foods can cause a blood sugar spike a few hours after eaten, so if you just get to sleep and a few hours wake up and can’t fall back asleep, see if what was consumed in the last few hours before bed could be doing to your blood sugar.

Foods that tend to help us relax and get calm are:  almonds, cheese, turkey, and eggs  - known for having magnesium and tryptophan, these help bring on sleep.  Fruits like bananas can be helpful, but watch as they may cause a blood sugar spike and affect sleep.  For some, a small bowl of oats has been helpful.  For some, not eating after 6pm was critical to not waking after falling asleep.  A cup of chamomile tea is also worth a try.

My main focus here is food, but I have to add in that mind-slowing activities like meditation, yoga, reading, deep breathing and journaling have all been shown to help improve sleep.  Find something you enjoy that causes you and the hamster wheel type of thinking to slow down.  Lastly, the addition of a 30 minute hot epsom salt bath before bed, which has magnesium and sulphate, can help you relax.

So, you can see there are many different possible things to try and because we are all different log what you try, give it a few days, and see what works for you.  Sweet dreams!

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