A good night’s sleep is a prerequisite for good health. Our body needs rest in order to cleanse, restore and replenish our organs. The nervous system can get overwhelmed by insufficient sleep which can directly impact your mood or physical fitness during the day.
Amount of sleep
The amount of sleep required to feel fit is different for everyone. On average 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep is usually enough. If you are suffering from temporary sleep deprivation due to a stressful event, there is no cause for alarm. Often it resolves itself. If your sleep deprivation continues over a longer period of time, that’s often a sign that something else is going on, which could eventually cause a decline in health.
- Having trouble falling asleep
- Lying awake for extended periods of time
- Waking up too early and having trouble falling back asleep
Restoring your sleep pattern often has to do with restoring the balance between activity and rest, a proces often referred to as the biorhythm. During a consult, we can look into the possible disruption of your biorhythm.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, every two hours an energy (Chi) flows through your organs, causing these organs to be active. Which organs are over-active or under-active at night, tells us a lot about the nature of your disturbed sleep pattern. It is also important that the organs involved in falling asleep and waking up, such as those responsible for producing melatonin and adrenaline, can do their jobs right (and at the right time). If your adrenaline levels don’t drop enough in the evening and at night, you’ll find yourself waking up in the middle of the night.
Other causes for a disturbed night’s sleep may be your diet, dehydration or anoxia (a lack of oxygen while you’re asleep). During the intake consultation we will expand on which factors contribute to your poor sleep. Treatment may consist of orthomolecular therapy or meditation exercises. Do you loose sleep overthinking or worrying during the night? Then counseling or using supplements can help. In short, don’t despair: there is always a way!
Sleep hygiene: the golden rules
- Your activities during the day will influence your sleep.
- Safeguard your balance between activity and rest.
- Regular physical activity during the day will improve the quality of your night’s rest. Avoid heavy physical activity (i.e. sports) just before bedtime: the adrenaline your body generates then will keep you from falling asleep.
- Don’t fall asleep on an empty or overly full stomach. Have a light snack, like a banana, if you feel hungry before bedtime. Bananas contain potassium which helps you relax, and the banana, or light snack itself will keep you from waking up hungry in the middle of the night.
- Avoid drinking caffeinated drinks or alcohol. Drink green, herbal tea or hot milk with cinnamon or aniseed.
- Try not to smoke directly before falling asleep.
- Avoid sleeping pills as they can be extremely addictive.
- Create a comfortable, quiet and dark bedroom. Air it out regularly. The ideal temperature for a bedroom is 17-19 degrees Celsius.
- Pick your mattress with care: it shouldn’t be too hard or too soft, but support your body just right. Your pillow should align with your spine when laying down.
- Allow yourself one hour without work and digital devices before bedtime.
- Try to relax before bedtime and create your own ritual: take a hot bath to relax your muscles – try adding magnesium flakes and lavender oil to the water -, read a book, listen to relaxing music (432 or 528 Hertz) or try some relaxation exercises.
- If you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, don’t lay there tossing and turning! Just take a breath, get out of bed and do something relaxing. Don’t go back to bed until you’re sleepy. Reading or watching tv in bed may seem enticing but aren’t recommended.
- Try to maintain your bedtime: go to sleep and get up around the same time every day, even on weekends. Sleeping in is pointless. A regular sleep pattern improves the quality of your sleep!
- Only go to sleep once you start to feel sleepy. It’s pointless to go to bed just because the clock appoints your bedtime. Switch the light off as soon as your head hits the pillow.
- Not everyone needs 8 hours of sleep. Sleep as much as you need to feel good the next day.
- Sleep in bed, not in a chair or on the sofa.
- Try not to sleep during the day, as this may interrupt your sleep during the night. If you do need a nap, take one before 3pm and don’t make it last longer than 45 minutes.
- Melatonin is a substance that improves sleep.
- Melissa, Valerian and Passion flower are herbs that can have the same effect.
- If you wake up in the morning feeling groggy despite not having drunk any alcohol, then that’s a sign your liver has worked too hard to eliminate toxins from your body. Support your liver by taking Celandine tincture to wake up fit in the morning.