12.00am, 2am, 2.15am, 3.00am – do these times look familiar? When was the last time you actually slept through the night? Or better still when was the last time you woke up feeling refreshed? Unfortunately more often than not I hear the phrase “I can’t remember.” Can you imagine a world free from sleep anxiety where when your head hits the pillow and sleep is virtually automatic?
One of the single most important things you can do for your health costs nothing and the key to it may be right in front of you. The results have the ability to transform your life.
Many people sabotage themselves when it comes to sleep. The trouble is they do this with things they probably don’t even give a second thought to. Once they are addressed they can make a tremendous improvement to your ability to get to sleep and stay asleep.
So what are some common lifestyle factors that are overlooked?
Firstly, we need to address your relationship with sleep. Are you someone who can be overheard saying that you are going to finish “that pile of work” after dinner? An overactive or stimulated mind can be hard to put to rest. Do you watch a gripping thriller on TV and leave yourself at the edge of your seat before trying to sink into bed and drift peacefully off to sleep? Do you finish your meal with coffee, claiming that it doesn’t affect you? Is your favourite food a spicy curry that leaves you with indigestion, or because of work commitments you eat late at night engulfing anything and everything to fill the void because you haven’t eaten since 2pm?
Addressing why you can’t sleep involves looking at a number of factors, many of which can be right under your nose.
In order to have quality, restorative sleep, an aspect of your nervous system must be activated, the calm branch associated with “rest and repair.” If you are reading, listening or doing anything that stimulates the other revved up branch, associated with “fight or flight” – anything that increases your heart rate, makes you feel worried or stressed, or requires significant concentration – your ability to switch off and switch to rest and repair can be compromised.
What you do before you try to sleep can influence whether your sleep hormone, melatonin, is produced or suppressed. Melatonin production is inhibited by light hitting the retina in the eye. It is only produced in darkness. Do you text, look at your iPad, or read an electronic book late at night in bed? Any backlit devices have the ability to suppress melatonin production meaning you lay there growing increasingly frustrated while your body is trying to adjust itself. Serotonin, our happy, calm, and content hormone, is converted into melatonin inside the body. Low serotonin levels can result in sleep disruption and sleep disorders, including insomnia.
Quick tips to improve your sleep
If you find you struggle to get 8-10 hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep then you could possibly look to a natural sleep aide such as SLEEP Fx for assistance.
Try SLEEP Fx's 60 day challenge and see the difference quality sleep makes!