Regular, adequate sleep is ESSENTIAL to good health.  Of course, sometimes it’s simply impossible to get a good night’s sleep (new Mom, anyone? yawn )Here are some tricks to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep:sleep

Purchase a good quality mattress. I cannot stress this enough. Unless you invest into a good quality mattress you are always going to find flaws in your bed. You need to find a company such as who offers a wide variety of good quality mattresses. Take your time finding the perfect one, don’t rush your decision.

Sleep in complete darkness. Darkness triggers the production of the natural sleep hormone melatonin.  When we are exposed to light at night, the production of this hormone decreases and our sleep is interrupted.  As well, this, combined with going to bed before 11 pm (see “go to bed earlier”, below),  is a really great way to “reset” the endocrine system, for example if you have stressed adrenals….in layman’s terms, if you feel like this: at wits end

Avoid television right before bed.  Yeah, that includes watching stuff on your iPad (sorry).  It is too stimulating to the brain it will take longer to fall asleep.  It’s also disruptive of pineal gland function for the amount of light hitting the eye.

Wear socks to bed.  This may sound strange, but a study has shown that, due to the fact that they have the poorest circulation, the feet often feel cold before the rest of the body and this coldness can increase night waking.

Avoid using loud alarm clocks. It is very stressful on the body to be awoken suddenly.  Those buzzing alarms are awful, once again really not good for the endocrine system.

Go to bed earlier.  Our systems, particularly the adrenals, do a majority of their recharging or recovering during the hours of 11PM and 1AM.  In addition, your gallbladder dumps toxins in the same period of time.  If you are awake, the toxins back up into the liver, which then secondarily backs up into your entire system and cause further disruption of your health.  Yikes!

Take a magnesium supplement like Natural Calm before bed.  Magnesium is relaxing to the muscles and to the nervous system and can help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Take a hot bath, shower or sauna before bed. When body temperature is raised in the late evening, it will fall at bedtime, facilitating sleep.  Better yet, add some 100% pure essential oils like Lavender or Wild Chamomile and/or Epsom Salts, to your bath to relax you even further.

Avoid foods that you may be sensitive to.  This is particularly true for dairy and wheat products, as they may have effect on sleep, such as excess congestion, gastrointestinal upset and apnea.

Avoid caffeine.  This would seem obvious, but many people think if they have it early enough, it won’t effect their sleep.  But a recent study showed that caffeine is not metabolized properly in some people and they can feel the effects long after consuming it, preventing them from falling asleep.

Last, but not least……

Avoid alcohol.  Although alcohol will make you drowsy, the effect is short lived and most people will wake up several hours later, unable to fall back asleep.  Alcohol also keeps you from falling into the deeper stages of sleep, where the body does most of i’s healing.

If you are still having problems falling asleep or staying asleep, there could be an underlying health issue that needs to be addressed.

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