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If You Are Not Sleeping Well, Your body is breaking!

Oh, wonderful sleep, how lovely and invigorating you are! Unless you’re one of the millions of tired people out there that are not able to get good, quality sleep on a regular basis. Without good sleep, you become more stressed and that makes getting healthy much more challenging. When we’re not getting quality sleep, we can’t detox, our blood sugar will rise, and our cognitive function declines. If this is you–PLEASE follow these sleep hygiene practices to help your body get the rest it so desperately desires.


1. Prepare your brain for sleep. Turn down the lights in your home 1-2 hours before bedtime and make this part of your nightly routine. As an NTP, learning about ancestral health has always been apart of my research for clients. The amount of practical wisdom we can gain by simply practicing the same natural habits of our ancestors is so incredibly powerful and simple to do. In the old days before electricity, people would go to bed when the sun went down. Of course, this also meant, they generally woke up and began their day when the sun came up. The sun was their night time alarm and their morning alarm. When our eyes see dim light, our innate wisdom inside says, “It’s sleepy time! Because the sun is going down”. While we now can have every light on in every room of our homes to help keep us awake at night, we must recognize that our bodies still run just the same as our ancestors. When it’s dark, our sleep hormones turn on and cause us to get naturally sleepy. For some people that label themselves as night owls, their natural sleep hormones can struggle to kick in because of poor sleep hygiene over a long period of time. These sleep strugglers will need to heavily focus on a good bed time and use many of these tips to help them get to sleep and stay asleep.

2. Taking a warm shower or relaxing bath, using room darkening curtains, and practicing some deep breathing before climbing into bed can all be of help to someone struggling to either fall asleep or stay asleep. Of course, the habitual use of these tips will be what helps you relax the body enough to fall asleep. When the body experiences these habits each night, it will naturally release your sleep hormones because it knows what you do to prepare for sleep.

3. If falling to sleep and staying to sleep is a struggle, PLEASE focus on this next tip–turn off blue light devices 1 hour before bedtime. This one usually hits a strong chord with clients because the majority of them want to spend their evening time before bed: watching tv, playing on their phones, and/or working or playing on their computers until bedtime. These blue light devices are scientifically proven to invigorate the brain which makes falling asleep and staying asleep a much harder task for the body to master. They also tend to keep people awake longer because they need to watch the next episode or can’t turn off the reels at a reasonable hour. lol! We’ve all been there! If you cannot get away from blue light devices an hour before bedtime because of unwillingness or a need to work, invest in a pair of blue light blocking glasses that you can wear during that one hour before bedtime.

4. Getting into the habit of exercising regularly is a powerful way to get better quality sleep. This will help you crash at night and fall into that deep, deep sleep. Exercising for 30 minutes, 5 days a week is my recommendation for everyone. It probably will not help you sleep that first week but after that, you should be getting the best sleep you’ve had in a while.

5. Be sure to get daily sunshine. Getting up in the morning and going out into the sunshine for 20 minutes a day (even if it’s cloudy) will set your circadian rhythm. When your body is aligned well with the sun, your sleep will improve. Additionally, we all need Vitamin D to keep us healthy and we cannot get the appropriate amount of Vitamin D from the sun if we’re always covered in sunscreen and wearing sunglasses. Our eyes and our skin need the sun to encourage deep sleep and to balance our hormones. If you have darker skin, it will take a bit longer for your body to absorb enough Vitamin D and therefore, you should be out in the sun even longer. Of course, no one ever wants to get a sunburn so please cover up or use a healthy sunscreen (like a Zinc Oxide base without harmful ingredients) if you plan on being in the sun for a long period of time.

6. Try taking some magnesium 60-90 minutes before bedtime. This will help encourage your body to be relaxed enough to fall asleep and stay asleep. Additionally, some people really credit using lavender oil, a weighted blanket, and/or a white noise sound machine to help them feel relaxed enough to get to sleep.

7. Be sure to make it chilly in the house an hour before bedtime. When your body temperature is a few degrees lower than what it has been during the day, you will feel a chill and will want to get under your blankets. This will make you feel warm and toasty in your bed and relaxed which helps give you a great night’s sleep.

8. If you tend to struggle falling asleep at night, your body could still be stimulated by caffeine if you are a coffee or tea drinker. If this is sounds like you, I recommend stopping your coffee intake around 11 a.m. every day. Sounds extreme but some people aren’t able to get rid of the stimulation that caffeinated beverages bring as quickly as others. This can be the main reason someone could struggle to fall asleep at night.

If you’ve tried all of these methods and still need some assistance, try taking a low dose melatonin in a dark room. While I’m not a huge fan of taking melatonin, I understand that there are times it’s beneficial. I encourage you to first try everything else before going to melatonin as becoming addicted to it is very easy to do. You never want something like melatonin to become a crutch because your body is capable of making it’s own melatonin. If you are constantly taking melatonin in order to fall asleep at night, your body will stop making your own because it will no longer need to. It’s important to understand that every natural bodily process is there for a reason. If your body is forced into sleep, you may not get the quality of rest you would otherwise. I never recommend taking a sleep aid unless medically necessary because your body cannot get true sleep if you are sedated.

Improve your sleep by practicing these habits and focus on ROUTINE ROUTINE ROUTINE!!! Your sleep probably will not improve overnight but have faith that these tips can work for you if you will give them some time.

Get some zzzz’s, people! YOU DESERVE IT!!

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