At Toppled Barn Farm, we focus so much on what we eat that it’s easy to forget other ways we can take care of our health. In fact, we are building a business dedicated to food. From the soil up, our lives revolve around growing the healthiest veggies possible.
But for some reason, this time of year makes me think about sleep. Maybe it’s because the cold, cloudy days make me want to snuggle in and hibernate like a bear. Or curl up in front of the fire like a spoiled house cat and nap. All. Day.
And if your a woman in my age group you can relate when hormones can get all riled up. Then comes night sweats and all kinds of sleep disruptions making me tired during the day increasing my daydreams about night things in the middle of the afternoon.
So I pulled out some of our favorite health-related books to see what can be done. Oh my! Is there a lot of info about sleep! Why we need it, how it affects our bodies in many different ways, how to improve it, etc. There is no way I could write out for you everything I have learned. I will try to cover some main points and leave the rest up to you.
Own your health and research sleep. Look in your own books, google it, do whatever it takes to learn what you can. Getting enough sleep is very important, and you owe it to yourself to nourish your health in the area of sleep.
Doctor’s Dean and Ayesha Sherzai in their book The Alzheimer’s Solution pages 208-211 compiled medical research findings showing that sleep helps our overall health, immunity, mood, focus and attention, learning, coordination, decision making, alcohol and drug abuse, diabetes, stroke, headaches, weight regulation, libido, and brain atrophy. Wow! That’s a long list. I could use some improvement in many of those things.
In another book, Chris Beat Cancer pages 202-204, Chris Wark explains how not getting enough sleep can increase your risk of getting cancer.
About a year or so ago, I began to struggle with getting enough sleep. I would wake up in the middle of the night with my brain in wake mode not wanting to shut down. In my research, I was able to find and implement some solutions that have greatly improved my sleep.
Ony’s sleep tips: (These are what works for me, not an inclusive list by any means!)
- Eat an early dinner. The last meal of the day should be light and several hours before bedtime allowing the digestive organs to rest during the night.
- Perform bedtime routines, i.e. dim lights, shower, brush teeth, relax with stretching exercises.
- Avoid anything stimulating, i.e. bright lights including light from screens, caffeine, sugar, spicy foods, work, social media, strenuous exercise, etc.
- Get rid of all light in the bedroom, i.e. night light, clock, block light from the outside with light-blocking shades and curtains.
- Keep the bedroom a cool 65 degrees or less. Our thermostat is automatically set to go down to 60 degrees at night.
- Get comfortable. I like to turn on an electric blanket and crawl into a warm bed. Then I turn off the blanket. Make sure you have a good mattress and pillows that support your neck keeping your spine aligned while you sleep.
- Try to go to bed at the same time each night to sync your circadian rhythm.
- My favorite is to use an essential oil diffuser with sleep-inducing essential oils. It also helps humidify the dry winter air.
- On occasion when I wake up and my brain won’t go back to sleep, I have used the 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise. (Scroll down to Breathing Exercise 2.)
What are your favorite bedtime routines? What has helped you when you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep? Share your ideas to help others who may be struggling with sleep.