ABC's for ZZZZZZZ's

22 Aug, 2017

"How is your sleep?" This is an important question that I ask all my clients, no matter what they come to see me for as sleep quality and quantity plays such a huge part in a persons overall health and wellbeing.

"Do you wake up refreshed or tired?"

"Do you have troubles falling asleep or staying asleep?"

Waking up tired can really set the tone for your day. You feel like you are dragging yourself around until you can down that coffee, end the shower with a blast of cold water or cop a salty slap to the face from the ocean (if you are a surfer like me) to wake you up. Not enough zzzzz's not only makes you grumpy, it also affects your ability to make decisions. Your appetite can also increase leading to increased calorie intake.... uh oh, Did I just decide to eat cake for breakfast!? You get my drift...

Wake up refreshed and you are automatically in a better mood, bouncing out of bed with energy to burn and you are ready to hit the gym/surf/pavement for a work out before taking on the days work.

Your body has been repairing itself, digesting food and your brain has been busy consolidating memories.

Sounds good hey? When was the last time you felt refreshed upon waking?

Parents (especially with young ones),shift workers, people suffering with pain, illness, anxiety and stress all can find their sleep patterns affected. It's hard to get a good nights sleep when tending to a baby, a wandering toddler or changing work schedules. Chronic pain, health conditions and emotional issues can also affect how well you sleep.

How many hours should we be getting each night?

Adults should be aiming for 7hours a night and not longer than 8 hours. People who regularly get less than 7 are at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, mental health problems and early death.

Staying awake for 24hrs gives the same mental effect as having a blood alcohol reading of 0.1...

Sleep deprivation can also increase cortisol (stress hormone) levels, blood pressure and insulin resistance.

Over- sleeping is also not ideal as that can lead to higher inflammation levels which is linked to chronic disease, depression and an increase in pain.

So how do we get better quality sleep?

Go to bed and wake up at a consistent time... ideally in bed by 10pm and wake up with the sun. This helps your body's circadian rhythm...

Avoid working on laptops, looking at iphones/smart phones or electronic book readers before bed. If you do ensure they are set on night mode or use a program such as F.Lux that dims the screen as the blue light emitted from the screens tells your brain that it's morning time which messes with your sleep hormone- melatonin resulting in less REM sleep.

Make your room as dark as possible and around 18-21 degrees for deep sleep and comfort. Light gets cortisol going.. which is not what you need when you are wanting to sleep well!

Calm down before bed... meditations, hypnosis, mindfulness and deep belly breathing along with chamomile passionflower, valerian or "sleepy time" teas can be helpful. Relax in a a bath with Epsom salts or magnesium flakes - Bliss!

If you do have a late night, try to catch up on the missed hours of sleep as fast as possible. It might not the long term effects of missed sleep but it will help you recover from the short term effects.

When it comes to napping keep it short and sweet (less than 30 minutes) for a good re-energising effect. Any longer can leave you feeling groggy and worse than when you fell asleep.

If you find getting a good night sleep challenging think about regular meditation, massage therapy, acupuncture and herbal medicine or chat to a naturopath or nutritionist and get the help you need to Sleep Well!

 

Rachel Pavitt

Acupuncturist

Available for consults at Health Space Mona Vale & Brookvale on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays

Call: 02 9979 8887