Posted On March 24, 2021 By In Regulars With 62 Views

THE NATURAL PATH – The Foundation of Sleep

by Dr. Marita Schauch, ND – Tall Tree Integrated Health Centre –

How did you sleep last night? If you’re like around half of all Canadians, the answer is probably “OK” or “not that great.”

Getting good sleep is one of the most important things we can do for our health. What’s the big deal about sleep? If you’re saying to yourself “I’m doing OK with my five hours a night,” I’d like to ask you: are you sure?

Long-term studies show that poor sleep habits may cause depression, increased risk of type 2 diabetes, higher risk of stroke and heart disease, a weakened immune system, increased inflammation, hormone imbalances, impaired brain function and weight gain.

Quality Matters. It doesn’t just matter how long you’re snoozing for; it also matters that you’re getting good quality “zzzs.”

Do you wake up frequently during the night? Do you wake up feeling not rested? Poor sleep can lead to the same effects as sleep deprivation.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene. The best way to ensure good sleep is to practise good sleep habits, or sleep hygiene. Much in the way you benefit from such practises as good oral hygiene or body hygiene, your sleep deserves the same attention.

  1. Go to Sleep at the Same Time Every Night. I know, I know,
    you thought bedtimes were a thing of the past, but having a set
    bedtime helps maintain your internal clock or circadian rhythm.
    Develop a consistent routine so that you are rising and waking
    with your body’s internal cues.
  2. Have Bedroom Boundaries. No working or TV in the
    bedroom. Period. This helps create a space that is exclusively
    for resting and allows your mind to better prepare for the
    transition into sleep.
  3. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol. Caffeine and other stimulants
    shouldn’t be consumed less than six hours before bed to avoid
    trouble sleeping. While many people find alcohol useful in
    helping them fall asleep, it actually inhibits sleep quality as
    your body works to break it down during the night.
  4. Avoid Large Meals Close to Bedtime. While it’s also not a
    good idea to go to bed hungry, eating a large meal before bed
    reduces sleep quality as your body works on digestion.
  5. Exercise at the Right Time. Vigorous exercise in the morning
    or afternoon can help your body rest better at night. Close to
    bedtime, walking, or yoga can also help prepare for sleep, but
    anything vigorous will cause your body to be more stimulated
    and awake.
  6. Set Aside Time to De-Stress. Incorporating some unwind time
    before bed goes a long way in preparing your body and mind
    for rest. Yoga, meditation, journaling or a book are great ways to
    unwind, but screens should be avoided.
  7. Turn Off Your Screens Before Bed. Bright blue light from your
    devices and TV interrupt your sleep patterns. Even though most
    devices now come with an automatic dimming and yellow filtering
    system, I still recommend shutting any screens off at least one hour
    before bed.

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seaside

Your West Coast Culture. A magazine about the people and places that make the Saanich Peninsula the little piece of paradise we call home.

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