It’s hard – if not impossible – to function throughout your day without getting quality sleep. Sleep is a crucial part of life. We all need quality sleep and deep rest for health and vitality. Every health practitioner and shift working professional has their schedule built on this lack of getting deep rest. Or at least, it’s highly compromised and it takes consistency, along with a powerful sleep routine to successfully manage getting quality sleep. And if you do work night shifts on a consistent basis, you practically have to be a superhero to get your head to the pillow and fall asleep!
What is your current relationship with sleep? Not where it should be? Get ready to fluff up your pillows!
Sleep is part of our body’s restorative function and without it, life wouldn’t be possible. The trouble is, some of us struggle to get more of it, while many can’t get enough sleep. And there are folks out there who have a very healthy relationship with sleep, and once their head hits the pillow – till morning – they are deep in a happy slumber dreaming of unicorns flying high in the sky.
How Does Sleep Affect Your Life?
Getting enough sleep can make or break your day and has a significant impact on people’s quality of life. Whether you do or don’t get adequate restful sleep is one of the most important contributing factors to one’s overall sense of health and wellbeing. The bottom line, if you can manage to get a good night’s sleep, you feel prepared to master your life and health, and manage your day with all that life can throw at you. Without that proper rest, life can seem challenging and taxing.
Balanced sleep is one of the pillars of having good emotional health, and is just as important as having a healthy diet. The sleep state is when your body is healing itself, and letting go of the stressors from your day, and repairs any physical imbalances. When you exercise throughout the day, you’re stressing your body out. Your body actually secretes a stress hormone called cortisol when you exercise. It’s actually during the sleep cycle that your body recovers from that stress. If you think about it, you’re adding stress to your joints with every step you take. Remember that hike you had over the weekend that might not have seemed too rigorous? Well, the sleep state is when your body will recover from it.
Our Body’s Natural Rhythms
In Ayurveda, you have 3 main types of Dosha energies: Pitta, Vata, Kapha, and they all define how your body and mind’s energies work together. In nature there are 5 elements: earth, wind, air, water, and ether. It’s been said that if you know your dosha, you’re able to live a more balanced and harmonious life based on how your energies work with each of these elements. I’ve known that my dosha is primarily Pitta. Knowing this can help you understand the challenges you experience with balancing your emotions, body and mind, in relation to the elements.
How does the Dosha relate to restful sleep?
Well, there are different types of sleep imbalances and they coincidentally correspond to these 3 doshas.
Those who have a predominant Vata energy system may have difficulty falling asleep, and the Pitta sleep imbalance might present itself by easily falling asleep, yet if woken-up in the early morning hours (by your 7 year old child) might be unable to fall back to sleep. And a Kapha-related sleep imbalance might present itself as feeling like you need more sleep, despite having had many hours of deep sleep.
Which of the 125 millions Americans might you be that reports having issues with sleep? Getting deep restorative rest might present in one of those 3 ways for you. So, what can you do to help yourself?
Support sleep with these healthy habits:
- You can look for supplements that contribute to your type of sleep imbalance. If you need deeper rest, or have trouble staying asleep past 2:00am, or wake up with less than 6 hours of restful sleep, like the pitta-imbalance I mentioned above, you could benefit from Best-Rest Formula, a unique blend that contains valerian, passion flower, chamomile, lemon balm and hops, which are traditionally used in Herbal Medicine. Double-blind trials involving valerian alone and in combination with other herbs have indicated its potential to support both sleep onset and quality. Episode 29 discusses the good, the bad and the ugly side of supplements and what to look for in order to ensure you’re providing your body with what it truly needs.
- Vata related sleep imbalances can also benefit from this same formula to fall asleep more easily or try Pure Tranquility liquid includes a convenient combination of neurotransmitters, including GABA, plus Suntheanine® l-Theanine to support relaxation. Both GABA and l-Theanine have been shown to enhance alpha wave production in the brain, promoting relaxation and moderating stress. This can support the Vata imbalance, helping you get deeper sleep so you’re not tired and sluggish when you wake -up.
- Keep your room cool at night. A hot stuffy room tends to wake people up.
- Focus on shifting your routine in order to get to bed before 10:00pm and start winding down your home with the sun setting. Turn-off the phone, and lights in your home, a little earlier than this to promote melatonin release – a hormone that regulates sleep.
- Avoid eating 3 hours before your bedtime. By eating a large meal too close to bedtime, you are telling your body to digest and continue working; affecting your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep.
- Avoid any office work after diner. Your mind needs to wind down as well, so shut it down at least 3 hours before bedtime.
- Establish a fun bedtime routine that sets-up your mind to start thinking about sleep, such as putting on comfortable clothes, brush your teeth, and avoid any evening snacks so your body can prepare itself for slumber.
- Listen to your body when it’s ready for bed!!!
Remember that sleep is a restorative process that allows your body, mind, and emotions to function in harmony with nature. If you’re stressed and not recovering properly, you have options to take supplements to help support your beautiful body to function properly throughout the day.
Otherwise, you will deteriorate and your life won’t be as harmonious as it can be. Honour yourself and be mindful of the final hours of the day.
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