Sleep is crucial to every aspect of your life and sleep struggles affect 100% of my clients. We work on healthy sleep hygiene, focus on nutrition and meal planning, and personalize a plan based on how the reasons behind their insomnia.
1. Sleep on a consistent schedule.
Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day to coordinate your hormones and circadian rhythm. This is so important because of how our brain signals to the adrenals to coordinate hormones to keep you awake during the day and sleeping at night.
2. Cortisol Awakening Response: Wake up and get in front of daylight or blue light. Open your blinds or find an alarm clock that emits light when it turns on. The more sunlight your brain takes in the more awakening responses kick off in your brain and the more your cortisol will normal out through the day. This will help you stay awake during the day and be more productive.
3. Essential oils: They are the most simple and effective sleep support, but it is a process in finding the right one or blend for you. Most people love lavender or vetiver, and some people need a combination. Keep trying blends and use them on your feet, wrists, or add them to a diffuser. Pinterest has a wealth of inspiration or ask your friends what they are using.
4. Saliva testing: Get your cortisol and melatonin tested with a saliva test. Your cortisol helps keep you awake, energized, and supports your body and immune system. Cortisol is higher in the morning so you can jump out of bed and slowly lowers during the day so when you go to bed you can fall asleep easily. A saliva test will tell you what your pattern is (high cortisol all day? high cortisol at night keeping you awake? low levels of melatonin?) so you don't have to guess which supplements are right for you or take unnecessary and harmful levels of melatonin.
5. Blue light blockers: Looking at screens like your phone or television at night will signal to your brain that light is still out and it is not time for bed. If you have to work late or enjoy Netflix when the kids are finally in bed, check your phone for a night status to block blue light or grab some blue light blocking glasses from Amazon. This will signal to your brain that it is not receiving light and you can start the process of falling asleep.
6. Sleep friendly bedroom: have your room as dark as possible, cool, and minimize noise. Keep work and the television out of your bedroom and focus on reading or meditating at night. This will help your body and brain break the association of needing to be alert in the bed.
7. Calm your nervous system. Use weighted blankets or additional blankets to calm and balance your brain. Combined with essential oils this is the perfect match. Make your own or check out etsy for weighted blankets.
8. Journal and tap: Staying up all night with stress, worries, and anxiety? Journal all your worries every night first, then write a gratitude list for all that you are grateful for in your life, and then utilize EFT or tapping to work through your stress and emotions so you can go to be rested and worry free.
9. Support your digestion: if you are still full or have acid reflux after dinner, take digestive enzymes to help your body break down food so you can digest, absorb, and use your nutrition from dinner. Plus, you won't struggle with the digestive upset and you will sleep better.
10. Snoring and sleep apnea struggles: I refer my patients to Dr. Larson at WildHorse Dental, who is an expert in dental sleep medicine and has alternatives to a CPAP that is typically covered by insurance.