Sleep is a powerful healing mechanism for our bodies and a very necessary one. If you do not get enough sleep on a regular basis, you will not be able to handle stress because you are not repairing your damaged body at night. To get good sleep, you fall asleep easily and stay asleep for at least seven hours. If you get up to pee, but fall back asleep right after, you’re OK, but I would prefer that you stay asleep for seven hours straight without waking up at all.
Why is sleep important? At around 6pm, your cortisol levels reduce and melatonin levels rise. Between 12 and 3am, you physically repair you body and between 3 and 6am, you go through psychological repair.
If you are constantly stressed, you have elevated stress hormones (cortisol), which can break down muscles tissue. Sleep is vital to your recovery.
Give yourself enough time to fall asleep.
Turn off all screens at least 30-60 minutes before you go to bed (reading a book is OK, but not from a screen).
Create complete blackout in your bedroom. No alarm clock light, no cell phone, no moonlight or streetlight. (You can purchase blackout curtains to completely block the light from coming in from outside.)
No noises, meaning snoring animals and/or partners
WAKING UP DURING THE NIGHT?
If you find that you wake up frequently to urinate, reduce your fluid intake before bed.
Reduce your alcohol intake.
Make sure you’re eating well. Don’t skip meals, maintain good portion size, reduce sugar intake, eat balanced meals.
Menopause can cause women to wake up between 2 and 4am when estradiol levels are out of balance.
Excessive emotional stress. It might be time to try therapy or yoga.
If you can’t settle down, decrease your caffeine intake and make sure you are not drinking caffeinated beverages in the afternoon or anything containing kava kava or valerian root.
Settle down and relax 60 minutes before bedtime.
Exercise can stimulate you so adjust your workouts accordingly.
Sugar is a stimulant, so no desserts or alcohol before bed.
Try to avoid power naps, if they disrupt your ability to fall asleep at night.
Practice stress management and reduction techniques.
Use high-grade, organic 100 percent pure lavender oil. Place a few drops on a cloth and breathe deeply through your nose. Other herbs you can use are chamomile or passionflower.
NEW BABY KEEPING YOU AWAKE?
You’re only screwed for a little while.
Try to share the nighttime responsibilities with your partner and nap, if you get a chance to catch up on lost sleep. Work on getting your baby to sleep through the night so you can resume a normal schedule as soon as possible.
Richelle Melde is the Fitness Expert for News Channel 12 EVB Live show (Phoenix, Ariz.) and has been seen on Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC, as well as in the AZ Republic and Business Journal. She has a B.S. in Psychology, Sociology and Women’s Studies and is a CHEK Practitioner and Holistic Life Coach.