Sleep is one of the most critical aspects of your health that is usually overlooked. Proper sleep will help your adrenal function, promote hormone balance, and repair body systems from the brain to the digestive tract. Acupuncturists and Functional Medicine doctors have patients do adrenal supplement programs designed to re-set their sleep cycles.
Here are additional tips for facilitating a better sleep process:
Tip One: Train the brain to feel sleepy and awake at regular times:
Set fixed times for bedtime and awakening. Stick to this even on weekends, regardless of how much sleep you got the night before. If you have to get up to use the bathroom during the night, do not turn on the light. Do not take daytime naps as this reduces your sleep drive. Get at least 30 minutes of sunlight per day while wearing no sunglasses.
Tip Two: Develop a strong mental association between your bedroom and sleep:
Use your bedroom only for sleep. Don’t read or watch TV in bed. Get into bed only when you are sleepy. If you cannot fall asleep, get up and go into another dimly lit room. Do not lie in bed awake.
Tip Three: Avoid being overstimulated at bedtime:
It will help if you avoid caffeine altogether. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but all the sugar in the alcohol will cause a rapid rise and decline in your blood sugar, which will cause you to wake up. You should stop using devices such as TV, computers & your phone 2 hours prior as blue light inhibits melatonin production. As for mental activity, stop doing active mental work at least 1 hour before sleep. Exercise for at least 60 minutes every day and not after 4 P.M. Always avoid being too full at bedtime. Try not to eat food for at least three hours before sleep.
Meditation techniques help slow the mind down and prepare for sleep and develop a bedtime ritual as described below.
Tip four: Create an environment that is conducive to sleep – Your room should be:
Keep the bedroom dark and cover LED lights. Consider blackout blinds such as – blackoutez.com. Quiet the noise around you by using foam earplugs, not the tapered kind, the cylindrical white ones – Flents Quiet Please Foam Ear Plugs 50-Pair – $12. Studies show that keeping it cool at 64°F is ideal for most people
An evening ritual helps prepare your body/mind for sleep:
- Prepare for the next day by either writing notes on paper or taking them mentally
- Turn off all electronic equipment 2 hours before sleep
- Have a cup of herbal tea (e.g., “Sleepy Time”)
- Have a bath with Epsom salts
- Have a diffuser in your bedroom & use lavender essential oil
- Do some progressive relaxation, gentle stretching, or yoga
- Count your blessings or journal. Consciously forgive yourself and others for hurts accumulated during the day
- Do the same thing every night as you train your body/mind to unwind from the day.
Use 5-HTP before sleep (balance with tyrosine in the morning) – ask Dr. Bennett if this is right for you. This works but must be done in the correct ratios and modified appropriately. This must be supervised by a skilled doctor who understands the dosage and use of proper cofactors. Dosages and timing may need to be modified by the doctor. The local clerk at the vitamin store should not give recommendations on this.
Theanine – ask Dr. Bennett if this is right for you.
Also, take calcium and magnesium 3x a day, including before sleep.