Hit the Hay!
Don't treat sleep like it's a luxury or something to "fit-in" between all the stuff you have to get done. Make sleep a priority. Treat it as a necessity like air and water.
So, what are some tips for a good night's rest?
PRACTICE GOOD SLEEP HYGIENE
Have a comfy bed, a cool room, darkness, avoid stimulants like caffeine after lunchtime, and have a regular sleep schedule (ideally sun-down to sun-up.) Most adults need a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night. It's perfectly normal to wake up a few times.
WHY DAYLIGHT MATTERS
The brain chemical melatonin kicks-in right around the time the sun goes down, which signals it's time to get tired and go to bed. It's the daylight that actually regulates the proper production of melatonin. So, be sure to get enough real sunlight every day. I definitely notice that I sleep much more soundly on nights after I've had a nice dose of sunshine.
ELECTRONICS COULD SABOTAGE YOUR SLEEP
Sunlight is blue light. Evening light is orange light, like a sunset. Your computer screen and iPad are lit by blue light. So, if you're up web-surfing or reading at night, you may be keeping yourself awake! To prevent this, install f.lux on your computer or laptop. It's a free download. F.lux makes the color of your screen adapt to the time of day; warm at night and like sunlight during the day. It's awesome!! For my iPad, I wear these goofy glasses at night. That way I allow my melatonin to kick-in as it should.
MAGNESIUM IS MIRACULOUS!
According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, who wrote the book "The Magnesium Miracle", as many as 80% of Americans are magnesium deficient. Magnesium helps the calcium move in and out of your cells and is involved in nearly every bodily function. Magnesium is good to combat stress, probably because it helps your muscles relax and sleep like a baby.
There are many types of supplements, but the best magnesium has pico-ionic minerals and is able to be absorbed 100%. (Other cheaper supplements, like magnesium oxide, are only about 4% absorbed and just give you loose stools). I buy this brand on Amazon. I take 1/2 capful at night in a little water and sleep very, very well.
If you prefer a pill, Magnesium glycinate is a great option & is well absorbed.
A good ol' fashioned epsom salt bath is great, too! Taking an Epsom salt bath helps restore magnesium and sulfate in your system because they can be absorbed through your skin. Some doctors recommend soaking three times per week for about 12 to 15 minutes. People take Epsom salt baths for many reasons: They can help to relieve stress, soothe your muscles, soften your skin, and maybe even reduce the look of wrinkles. Some recent studies have even indicated that Epsom salt baths may be soothing for children with autism. (Source)
Magnesium oil is another great option. You can rub it into your skin, and it's great for relaxing sore, tired muscles. (Just don't rub it onto freshly shaven skin, or it will sting.)
HAVE YOUR HORMONES CHECKED
I have personally felt what it's like to be sleep deprived. Around 2006, I spent a whole year with barely any sleep. It was awful; I started to have anxiety, couldn't think straight, was moody, and had little energy. (I was sleeping even worse than the days with a brand new baby!) I went to the doctor just hoping for sleeping pills, but she had the where-with-all to test my hormones. My progesterone was non-existent! It's the calming hormone and promotes a good night's rest. With bio-identical progesterone supplementation I finally began to sleep again. Thanks be to God!
(The reason my progesterone was so low is a topic for another blog post, but basically, I think my cortisol was sky high due to lots of stress and a bad diet, so my sex hormones were being used up to compensate. This is called the Pregnenolone/Progesterone Steal, explained HERE.)
(Disclaimer: Always consult with your personal physician before taking any new supplements or tinkering with your hormones. Get your labs run first!!)
SWEET DREAMS, Y'ALL! --Jenny
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