Getting enough good quality sleep is essential to good health. Sleep repairs the body, resets hormones, detoxifies the brain and just makes us feel ready to take on the day.
But anyone who has had insomnia knows that the suggestion to just “sleep more” isn’t possible. As tired as an insomniac is, and as committed to getting to sleep as they might be, they still are unable to get the result they so desperately want.
As Naturopathic Doctors, we know that despite what the dictionary says, sleep isn’t a verb. It’s a noun. It’s a thing you get, not a thing you do.Sleep isn't a verb. It's a noun. It's a thing you GET, not a thing you DO. Click To Tweet
Most people who are not getting enough sleep fall into this category. They are the folks who despite making time for sleep, can’t actually fall asleep, can’t stay asleep or never feel rested when they wake. The sleep behaviour is there, but they are not getting the result.
For these people, sleep comes as a result of other behaviours, like:
- Eating an anti-inflammatory diet. Understanding which foods are inflammatory for you and removing them from your diet can go a long way to increasing sleep quality. Decreased body aches, stuffiness and snoring make for a less restless and more restful sleep. Ensuring a high-quality diet can help with leg cramps due to magnesium deficiency, or restless legs due to iron or B12 deficiency
- Drinking water. Imbalanced relationships with caffeine and alcohol decrease sleep quality, increase wakefulness, and increase hot flashes and night sweats–one of the most common causes of sleep disturbances in the post-40 crowd.
- Quitting smoking. The oxidative stress on the mucous membranes of the nose and lungs creates lots of inflammation. This inflammation needs to be healed and repaired at night. Those repairs cause lots of mucous….and snoring and sleep interruptions in turn. Yet another good reason to quit
- Moving your body. Regular exercise is one of the best sleeping pills. Stimulating blood flow and increasing oxygenation helps your body to heal and resolve the inflammation of the day.
- Addressing chronic stress sources. Relationship troubles, financial struggles, job woes and other mental and emotional challenges make for poor sleep. The more you address these things, even in tiny steps, the better sleep becomes.
If you aren’t sleeping, ask yourself: Are you just trying to sleep, or are you doing the things that actually deliver it?Are you just trying to sleep, or are you doing the things that actually deliver it? Click To Tweet