woman sleeping

5 Easy Steps To Sleeping Like A Baby (Again)

Do you find it frustratingly difficult to fall asleep at night? Wake frequently during the night? Weary-eyed at 4AM, without being able to fall back asleep?

The many variations on the theme of insomnia are a major health concern, to the point where the CDC has declared it a public health epidemic. Americans are notoriously sleep-deprived, and the stats in this country are staggering:

  • Approx. 30% of adults have symptoms of insomnia
  • Approx. 10% of the population may suffer from long-standing insomnia
  • Insomnia costs the workforce $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity
  • Insomnia is a major contributing factor to deaths caused by motor vehicle crashes
  • Roughly 27% of working women suffer from insomnia, compared to 20% of working men

Insomnia is defined as: “Difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, or both, despite adequate opportunity and time to sleep, leading to impaired daytime functioning.” Sound like you fit the bill?

In my office, I see lack of good sleep likely undermining or being a contributing factor in many conditions, including chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, and IBS. In fact, studies have shown that ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and stroke. Insomnia can also increase the risk of car crashes, work-related accidents, and cancer.

 

How much sleep is enough?

Here are the recommended number of hours of sleep per age group:

  • 0-1 year: 12-16 hours/day (including naps)
  • 1-3 yrs: 11-14 hours/day (including naps)
  • 3-5 yrs: 10-13 hours/day (including naps)
  • 6-12 yrs: 9-12 hours/day
  • 13-18 yrs: 8-10 hours/day
  • Adults: 7-8 hours/day

 

Bottom Line: The right quantity and quality of sleep is worth it!

Consider these health benefits of good snoozing:

  • Healthy growth and development in kids
  • Proper healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels
  • Improved insulin response - this is the hormone that controls your blood sugar level
  • Improved immune function, enabling your body to fight infections with more oomph and keep inflammation in check
  • Better ability to think, learn, work, and be actively and positively engaged with your environment.

 

How To Get Sleeping Like a Baby Again:

Here are some tried-and-true methods to help encourage great sleep. If you still need help rebooting your sleep after implementing these, consider a Reboot consult.

  1. Create a foolproof sleep environment:
    1. Your bed, pillow, sheets, and blanket should be as clean, natural, and organic as possible. This reduces exposure to toxic chemicals, including formaldehyde, benzene, and naphthalene.
    2. Keep your wifi off at night. Here's why. This is particularly important for individuals who have a known sensitivity to EMFs. But, all of our brains would surely benefit from reduced exposure, especially at night, when our bodies are in repair mode.
  2. Set yourself up for nighttime success with your daytime activities:
    1. Avoid caffeine after noon
    2. Exercise daily, preferably in the morning
    3. Get plenty of fresh air and sunlight
    4. Have dinner by 7:30PM
    5. Get into bed by 9PM in order to be asleep by 10PM
  3. Establish an evening routine to encourage an easy transition to bed. This routine may include:
    1. A warm bath
    2. Meditating
    3. Reading a good book
    4. Spending quality time with loved ones
    5. Try to avoid computer use within two hours of going to bed, as the blue light can suppresses the production of melatonin (aka. our “sleep hormone”)
  4. During the night:
    1. Righto, Keep that wifi off!
    2. Get your room as calm and dark as possible- consider black-out blinds and reduce extra sources of light
    3. Open your window a bit, even if it’s just a sliver, so that the well-oxygenated air from outside can circulate through the bedroom
  5. If you still need some extra supplemental support:
    1. My go-to supplement is NapCaps, which contains herbal extracts of valerian, passionflower, and lemon balm, as well as L-Theanine and 5-HTP. It works wonders for many of my patients (and me)!
    2. 1-2 teaspoons of a gentle lemon balm & chamomile tincture or a cup of tea from these herbs can also be lovely, taken 15 minutes before bed.

It’s ALWAYS important to focus on any underlying factor(s) or conditions egging on that nighttime wakefulness. Salivary adrenal hormone testing can help to determine abnormalities in your circadian rhythm cycling (ie. you should have the “wake” hormones be high during the day and the “sleep” hormones high during the night, but sometimes these levels are turned around or are otherwise abnormal). I use this type of testing often in my office, and have found it to be a foundational part of the assessment process for insomnia.

Want to make an appointment at Reboot Center? Easy!!

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3157657/

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency

https://www.sleepdr.com/the-sleep-blog/cdc-declares-sleep-disorders-a-public-health-epidemic/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side