11 Steps to SLEEP
Sleep is Sacred!
As you might know, I recently bared my soul, overviewing the 10 month period, June 2015 – March 2016, a time period in which March figured heavily in my recognizing—through Tonda McGillis’ wise observation—that I was suffering from severe Adrenal Fatigue.
What an overwhelming, positive response I received to that piece. Click Here to View. Thank you for caring so deeply.
In follow-up, I want to share how sleep is key to healing, and the 11 steps I'm taking to help restore the high-quality sleep I need, which, in turn, helps me deal with stress and continue to heal. I think it might help you, too.
Whenever light stimulates your skin or eyes, regardless of the source, your brain and hormonal system say, 'good morning’. That’s because, in response to this light, your body releases a hormone called cortisol.
Cortisol activates the body and prepares it for movement and work.
And, cortisol levels respond to the natural cycles of light and dark. When the sun comes up, the body releases a higher level of cortisol than in the afternoon when the sun begins to dip. When the sun sets, cortisol levels drop further.
Lower cortisol levels allow the release of melatonin (and other hormones that promote growth, build the immune system, and perform repairs to parts of our bodies). Not only are we are designed to begin to wind down as the sun goes down, we must. The body never stops working; in reality, sleep is a return to the repair shop every night; at minimum a visit to the maintenance bay.
According to Paul Chek, How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy, most physical repairs in the body will take place during sleep; usually between 10:00 pm and 2:00 am. After 2:00 am, the body focuses mainly on mental repair.
Being in a brightly lit room, in front of the TV or computer, or spending time under fluorescent lights will trigger your body to think it is morning and will prevent the body from winding down. If you stay up watching TV, your body misses out on the physical and mental repair it is designed to experience during sleep.
As well, your adrenal glands (which produce cortisol) become overworked and fatigued, which may lead to headaches, and a plethora of nasty health issues. Overproduction of cortisol will throw your body off balance and prevent you from reaching your ideal weight. The problems caused by Adrenal Fatigue require more of a solution than the ‘I’ll catch up with a nap’ variety. Adrenal Fatigue can be the beginning of a major crash and burn.
Of course, there are many other factors that can disrupt your natural sleep cycles; you’ve probably been up-close-and-personal with a number stimulants—caffeine, sugar, tobacco—only to continue to suffer their after-effects around 3:31 a.m. Stimulants trigger the production of cortisol.
We come full circle—just like the rising and setting of the sun—an increased production of cortisol will not allow your body to repair and rebuild for healthy body balance.
Ideally, to help you get the best sleep so that you can recover, repair, and rebuild your body here are 11 steps to take:
- Whenever possible, go to sleep by 10:00 p.m.
- Stay clear of bright lights, TVs, or computers two hours prior to hitting the sack. (Suggestion: use low wattage light bulbs or candles in the evening.)
- Avoid caffeine after 12 noon.
- Sleep in complete darkness. A NO lights policy is essential. Cover ALL sources of light. Use a battery powered clock - such a clock eliminates the glare of numbers, and prevents checking how much time remains.
- Use color to calm: choose dark-green or dark-blue sheets and comforters.
- Keep your bedroom for sleep and sex ONLY. No arguing. No tv watching.
- Remove ALL electronics from your room. If you must have an electronic device in your room, keep it as far away from the bed as possible.
- Use Essential Oils to aid sleep. I choose to put Lavender on my feet half an hour before bed, and diffuse Ylang Ylang or Serenity Oil Blend. Check out Essential Oils Here.
- Be active earlier in the day. Activity can raise your metabolism for many hours and may prevent you from relaxing and sleeping.
- Aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted shuteye each night.
- Learn more about ‘earthing’ or ‘grounding’, a practice that involves being in direct contact with the ground. Visit www.EarthingCanada.ca to learn more.
From my heart to yours, I wish you a peaceful and restful sleep in all nights to come. Feel your body rest, recover rebuild and enjoy the energy and vibrancy you experience daily.