Sleep – and how to do it better!

Last week I had a phone call which really made me smile,

“Dipti, I just wanted to let you know that I slept for 7 hours last night! I just can’t believe it – Thank you”

I’d seen a new client just the day before and amongst other things they had explained to me all the trouble they were having sleeping. You can imagine how pleased I was to hear that they had slept for 7 hours straight, I love watching Homeopathy do it’s magic!

Trouble with sleeping unfortunately isn’t a rare symptom amongst my clients or even the general population. When I’m presenting one of my workshops, one of the questions I almost always ask people is ‘how many of you in here sleep really well?,’ very few people will raise their hands. Instead there is a list of complaints which can include, broken sleep, not being able to switch off thoughts long enough to get off to sleep, having to visit the bathroom too frequently and not being able to get back off to sleep, waking at 4am and staying awake, anxiety in the middle of the night preventing sleep, waking up and not feeling they have slept at all, and the list goes on.

The Function of Sleep

We are programmed to ensure that we sleep when we are tired and so we can regain our energy to ensure that we perform well the next day, our hormones do a lot of this work, providing everything else in sync. We need to sleep well to ensure that our brains and our immune systems function effectively. Sleep also helps us to think clearly, regulate our weight and our emotions.

The dictionary definition of sleep is;

‘A condition of mind and body which typically recurs for several hours every night in which the nervous system is inactive, the eyes closed the postural muscles relaxed and consciousness practically suspended’

Just reading that sounds so relaxing in itself doesn’t it? But this is not the reality for people who suffer with sleeplessness or insomnia.

Effects of Poor Sleep

  • Irritability
  • Poor memory and judgement
  • Lack of concentration and focus
  • Sleepiness in the day, especially a slump around 3- 4pm
  • Craving for carbohydrates and sugary foods
  • Inability to make decisions
  • A general reduced level of functioning
  • The Central Nervous system can be affected because it doesn’t have a period of respite, which can lead to depression, anxiety and impulsive behaviour
  • Immunity; lack of sleep causes the immune system to produce less antibodies and T lymphocytes. The body then becomes more prone to infection and illness.

Studies show that chronic illnesses are also more likely to occur in individuals with long term insomnia. These studies reveal that insulin levels increase following sleeplessness which can eventually cause type 2 diabetes. The risk of anxiety and depression is also increased when individuals sleep less than 6 hours a night.

Causes of Sleep Deprivation

  • Stimulants such as tea, coffee, alcohol taken too closely to bedtime will stimulate your adrenals keeping you awake or will wake you around 4am, leaving you exhausted during the day
  • Not listenting to the body’s demands for sleep, often times we try to cram too much in and remain awake to socialise or work.
  • Shiftwork, frequent air travel, or study commitments
  • Poor sleeping environment
  • Short term or chronic illness and pain
  • Anxiety

So How Do You Know if You Are Getting Enough Sleep?

Without getting into anything too scientific or asking you to purchase gadgets to monitor your sleep, there is one really reliable guide – how you feel on waking! Many of you who are already my clients know that I will frequently ask the question – “do you wake feeling refreshed?” or “how do you feel on waking?”

When you wake do you feel relaxed, in a happy mood, ready to face your day? Or do you feel a sense of dread before you open your eyes and feel as if you could do with a few more hours? All these are good indicators of whether you are getting adequate, restorative sleep. Some people need just a few hours and can function perfectly well and others need more – we are all individual after all!

The key question is are you having enough restorative sleep?

 

Things You Can Do To Get Better At Sleeping!

  • Environment is key! Ensure the space you sleep in is uncluttered, the lighting is right, the temperature is right for you, it’s free from electronic gadgets emitting blue light.
  • Use a diffuser with aromatherapy oils or an aromatherapy candle which helps to relax your central nervous system, a night time blend or  lavender, jasmine, ylang ylang and bergamot.
  • Homeopathic remedies like passiflora can help you to relax but having a full health check with me and having a tailored homeopathic prescription can deal with your sleep issues and anything underlying too.
  • Avoid caffeine after 1pm
  • Eat potassium rich bedtime snacks like banana and peanut butter to aid good sleep
  • Herbal teas containing chamomile and other relaxing herbs are great, you can add a touch of honey if you like – yum!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and if you would like to have a free chat with me to see if I can be of help please book in for a free introduction call here

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