In the research for my upcoming book, Don’t Mess with Stress!,™ I have learned what I think is the most important thing for our overall health—SLEEP!
I know firsthand what sleep deprivation feels like. I have experienced different types of insomnia at times–either not being able to fall asleep, or waking up during the night and not being able to fall back to sleep. After a poor night’s sleep, I feel irritable, less efficient at tasks, have decreased attention and focus, and a strong desire to find a place to lie down.
Sleep deprivation—either from inadequate hours of sleep and/or poor quality of sleep can rob you of energy, vitality, and enthusiasm for life!
One in four Americans suffers from sleep issues. The good news is that 75% of people with sleep issues resolve them! ¹
And during the current time of uncertainty, stress and anxiety are contributing to people’s insomnia.
Why is sleep important? It’s a time of recovery, restoration, and rejuvenation for the mind and body.²
Consequences of Sleep Deprivation: ³ ⁴
- Poor decision-making
- Increased risk of accidents
- Decreased Memory Formation
- Decreased Immune Function
- Doubled risk of developing cancer
- Increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
- Increased blood sugar levels
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Increased risk of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts
- Weight gain
What Can You Do to Improve Your Sleep?
- Create Bedtime Rituals—to get your body ready for sleep
- Choose a bedtime—before Midnight—ideally earlier than 11pm. Sleep Experts recommend adhering to this every day and on weekends—(Don’t stress about it—do your best)
- Decide on a wakeup time—try and stick to this.
- Stop all screens one hour before bedtime. The blue light decreases melatonin and REM sleep; what you read might also upset and agitate you right before bed. ⁵
- Take a hot bath, read a book, prepare for the next day, listen to soothing music
- Only use the bed for sleep and sex
- If you wish, try smelling lavender oil at bedtime–it has been shown to reduce anxiety and help sleep ⁶
- Get in bed at your designated bedtime not earlier.
- Keep your bedroom cool and dark
- No caffeine after 12 noon.
- Avoid exercise in the evening
- Keep a Gratitude Journal—Write down 3 things you are grateful for and really feel the gratitude in your body.
- How Much Sleep do we Need?
- 7 to 9 hours per night.
- What do if you can’t fall asleep or if you wake up and can’t fall back to sleep?
- If you can’t fall asleep—after 20 minutes, leave your bed, and do something else such as reading a book, knitting, sorting mail but not paying bills, declutter your desk, read magazines, journal, etc; ⁷ Sniff some lavender oil.
- Try to avoid looking at your screens.
- Try CBT-I –Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia—apps, such as CBT-I Coach—work better than medicine. ⁷
- You can try low dose Melatonin—1.5mg or less—at bedtime.
- Try and avoid sleep medications—bc of risks and side effects; if you must take them please consult your physician. ⁸
- Get a proper diagnosis—See your Physician when sleep issues persist
- There are many causes of poor sleep—Blue light from Screens (phones, computers, etc.); Snoring, Sleep Apnea, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Psychologic causes—worrying, rumination that can keep you up; Urinating frequently at night; Mechanical conditions related to your nose and upper airway; Nightmares, sleep walking; Caffeine containing beverages and/or foods like chocolate to close to bedtime; grinding your teeth (Bruxism); effects of Alcohol; Sleep Partner Snoring, Restless Legs, certain Medications, being in Pain, Exercising later in the day/evening, etc.
- If sleep issues persist, then see a Sleep Specialist Doctor.
I hope this edition of the Newsletter is helpful to you, especially during these times of stress and uncertainty.
Have a lovely and joy filled weekend!
3. Matthew Walker, PhD—Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, 2017.
6. Karadag E, Samancioglu S, Ozden D, Bakir E. Effects of aromatherapy on sleep quality and anxiety of patients. Nurs Crit Care. 2017;22(2):105‐112. doi:10.1111/nicc.12198
Other Sleep Resources:
1 . Tuck.com —an excellent resource great website for sleep issues, including an excellent description of the sleep cycle, comprehensive listing of treatments and therapies, both conventional and alternative, as well as a listing of mattress selection.
Disclaimer: Please note that the content on this newsletter does not constitute medical advice. Please consult with a physician before making any medical or lifestyle changes.