Did you know that every single part of your cells are affected when you sleep? There are different stages of sleep, 4 to be exact, and the REM stage sleep in the most important. If you don’t get REM sleep then your body won’t be able to focus on detoxification and healing of your body! Which, as chronically fabulous patients, we need the most!!!
Sleep is so important and I totally get that sleep is sometimes hard for a spoonie or chronic illness warrior to achieve! This is the first post in a natural sleep solutions series of post that I’ve written to help you start to get the rest you deserve.
There are many factors that can attribute to how well we rest. Routines, dietary problems, pain, symptoms, ect! I’d like to start off with routines! If you’re having trouble sleeping, take a look at this list and see if you can try to modify your routine. It’s hard! I’ll admit it. I definitely love to just cuddle up in my bed, with my iPad or even get all comfy in bed and watch tv. But, I’ve noticed that incorporating and NOT incorporating some of these into my daily routine has helped me sleep more soundly!
4 Natural Sleep Solution Do’s & Don’ts
1. Don’t Read or Surf In Bed
Reading and thinking awakens your mind and gets your brain going! When you’re in bed you want to start to relax and to become still, not start thinking through story plots or about an article or Facebook status you just saw. If you don’t read or surf in bed, you’ll train your brain to start to shut down once your head hits the pillow!
2. Don’t Watch TV Right Before Bed
If we’re watching something dramatic or emotional, our body will actually invoke our fight or flight response. When our body is in this heightened state of alertness, it makes it extremely hard to go to sleep. Our brain doesn’t know if what’s occurring is happening in our out of our body! So help it out and be mindful of what you’re watching and doing in the evening.
3. Don’t Eat 2 to 3 Hours Before Bed
Sure, we’ve all heard this one before, but it’s true! Our body is meant to detox and heal while we sleep. When we eat something before we go to bed all of our energy and focus ends up going to digest our food. That energy is pulled away from where us chronically fabulous patients need it most!
4. Don’t Fight Before Bed (If You Can Help It!)
Just like our fight or flight response can be invoked while we’re watching tv, the same thing happens if we’re fighting! If you do end up getting in a fight, have an urgency for resolution. If you focus on resolution, it may end up affecting your sleep that night because you’re up til 2am hashing it out, but then the argument won’t affect your sleep the following nights.
1. Have a routine!
Try starting a routine that will train your body to know it’s time to unwind and relax! Perhaps use lavender or geranium in a bath! Put some serenity in your diffuser. Do some light yoga stretches or journalling.
2. Sleep In Complete Darkness
Light actually decreases melatonin production. So the darker your bedroom the better! This includes turning off screens, night lights, lights from the outside, etc. Invest in some dark curtains!
3. Sleep In The Correct Position
The best sleeping position is either on our side, with a pillow between our legs or sleeping on your back with a pillow under your legs. Not many of us are sleeping that way and it can make all the difference!
4. Rise With The Sun & Sleep When It’s Dark Out
This is one I have a hard time with! I’m definitely one who will stay up late and sleep til noon. After thousands of years of evolution, our society really has abandoned this philosophy. Our bodies are trained to be active and alert when it’s light out and to rest when it’s dark out.
**It’s important to note that many of us out there take naps during the day because that’s what our bodies need. Although it’s great to try to follow this tip, it’s also extremely important to listen to our bodies and give it what it needs. If you need to take a mid-day nap so that you can function – do it! Any rest that you can give your body is so extremely beneficial!
Routine is just one of the factors in achieving a peaceful night’s rest. Stay tuned for posts on dietary factors and also ways to help manage your pain and symptoms to achieve the rest you need!
Wishing You A Pain Free Day (And A Restful Night!)