Being able to switch off and recharge is really, really important. There are a number of really important processes that happen in our system whilst we are asleep (essentially processing waste built up over the day), and if these don’t occur it will have a longer term detrimental effect. I am always interested in an individual’s quality and duration of sleep, and how they feel when they wake up, whether they sleep through etc, and typically if someone is coming to see me their sleep is not great. In this regard sleep is a barometer for how stressed someone’s system is as if they cannot switch off then we need to figure out why and address this.
There are numerous things that you can do to help promote the quality of sleep that you get that should become habitual, unfortunately though people often lack the discipline to do them. With others they do all of these things and the sleep still doesn’t improve and then we need to go looking deeper for a reason their system doesn’t feel safe enough to allow itself to switch off.
No screens in bed. Stop using your phone and your computer in the hour or two preceding bed. TV as it’s further away is typically not such a problem, but don’t watch TV in bed. In the evening use a blue light filter on your phone and computer.
Don’t drink any fluid for the 2 hours prior to going to bed. People often wake up and then get up to go to the toilet. You don’t wake because you need the toilet – you wake up and realise that you want to go. So make sure that if you do wake that you don’t need to go.
Read or journal before going to sleep. If you have a “busy” mind then this is great way to focus on something else and help switch off. If journaling then put all these busy thoughts down on paper to get them out.
Get into a routine of always going to bed at the same time. You can literally program your body so it has an expectation to go to sleep at the same time.
Sleep in a cool room, this promotes quality of sleep.
In the evening have a shower and at the end run the water as cool as you can tolerate for 60 seconds +. This promotes the “rest & relax” part of the nervous system (as well as being anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, and helping shift waste) priming it for recharge.
Use lavender in the bedroom either in a diffuser, lavender bag under the pillow, drop or two of oil on pillow, or put a drop of lavender oil on each foot. Lavender stimulates the “rest & relax” system and so helps us disengage.
If you don’t fall asleep within the first 30 minutes or so of going to bed then get up and go and read, meditate, or do something else relaxing rather than tossing and turning – but no screens.
When someone’s sleep starts to improve then this is a sign that the body is able to get into its recharging state and this is extremely beneficial. If problems whilst doing all of this then there is something that is keeping the system on high alert that needs to be identified and addressed. Most commonly this is either mental / emotional; a deep rooted infection / parasites; or an old injury such as a head trauma.