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Can we talk about your sleep? Is it good or could you use some help?
Lack of good sleep can affect our health in many ways. Maybe you have experienced some of these at one time or another.
*difficulty maintaining weight or losing excess
*negative emotional responses (anger, fear, etc.)
*lack of motivation
Lack of good sleep has a negative impact on nearly all of your body’s organs and systems.
Just as poor quality sleep has negative effects, getting good sleep has positive effects.
A good night’s sleep can
*boost your immune system
*prevent weight gain
*strengthen your heart
*improve your memory
Are you ready to learn what you can do to get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis?
CIRCADIAN RHYTHM and MELATONIN
These are two natural systems in your body. You have to get them working smoothly and keep them working smoothly to enjoy restful, rejuvenating sleep. As part of Earth, we operate on her systems. When we are out of sync, we don’t sleep well.
First off, circadian rhythms. They are a lot like day/night, darkness/light, sleep/wake.
They are a natural process that regulates our sleep/wake cycle. It repeats roughly every 24 hours.
These natural rhythms are behavioral changes. We go from awake and alert to slowing down and sleeping. This change or rhythm isn’t instant. It needs a period to adjust. The triggers – or signals – match the sun cycle. The sun comes up, and we are triggered to wake up which begins to stop our melatonin production (I will get to melatonin production in a minute). The sun goes down, and we are triggered, through our retinas, to wind down and fall asleep. Our melatonin production begins and continues until the sunlight starts again in the morning.
Secondly, circadian rhythm is a behavior while melatonin is a chemical.
Melatonin is known as the hormone of darkness. That’s because it is made in the dark. Literally. When the sun goes down and night falls, our pineal gland begins making melatonin. As we wind down, our melatonin production winds up, allowing our bodies the time it needs to rejuvenate. It’s nature. It’s a cycle. It’s necessary for good living.
Melatonin is a beautiful chemical. It boosts our immune system. It is an antioxidant. It regulates our metabolism, improves our memory, can ease hot flashes, as well as halts cancer cells. Melatonin isn’t just for sleep. But sleep is for melatonin!
It is vital to good health to do all we can to pacify our circadian rhythms and bring on healthy melatonin production.
Good night, sleep tight
Create a good bedtime routine to set yourself up for a good night’s sleep.
Remember when your kids were little (or when you were little) and they had a bedtime routine? Maybe they got a bath and/or you read them a story. They were on a sleep schedule. You know it was right for them. The same goes for you! You need a schedule and a good routine. One that helps you relax and eases you into a deep rejuvenating sleep.
Here’s a list of habits to cultivate to ensure you are getting the quality of sleep everyone needs:
Your bedroom is for sleep and sex only.
Make it comfortable and relaxing with good bedding.
Make it dark. Perhaps you need blackout curtains.
Pleasant aromas and ambiance.
Get a good sleep schedule.
Go to bed and wake up around the same time every day.
Budget time for sleep. Put it in the calendar if necessary.
Be careful with naps. You won’t need one soon!
Change your sleep schedule gradually.
Get a good bedtime routine.
Wind down for 30 minutes. (quiet time, reading, journaling, low impact stretching,
Dim the light in the evening.
Wear blue light blocking glasses after the sun goes down when using
electronic devices or watching tv.
Disconnect from your devices one hour before bed.
Pro-sleep activities to do during the day.
Get sunlight – either directly or at least open your curtains.
Find time to move/exercise.
Avoid caffeine after noon.
Don’t eat too late – preferably at least 2 hours before bed.
I’m going to reiterate these things because they are THAT important. This is where the magic happens.
Make sure your bedroom is comfy and pleasant. With good bedding. And dark. Do. Not. Sleep. With. The. TV. On. Use blackout curtains if your neighbor’s lights are too bright. No electronics in your bedroom! It must be quiet. (Maybe you need earplugs or a white noise machine.) Turn off the TV!!! (Yes, I said it again.) Your bedroom also needs to be a comfortable temperature – approximately 65F or 18.3C. Use pleasant aromas, namely essential oils.
Get on a schedule. Remember your circadian rhythm is there to help you. It is a gift from nature. It’s there. You cannot escape it. You may as well get in sync. So, go to bed on time. Get up on time. Try not to nap. (You won’t need it soon, I promise.) If necessary, budget time for sleep. Put it in your calendar. It’s not time to figure out tomorrow’s challenges or today’s troubles. If you need to adjust your sleep schedule, do it gradually.
Create a good bedtime routine. Dim the lights in the evening. Disconnect from electronices one hour before bed. Use blue light blockers after sundown. Don’t eat less than 2 hours before bed. Take 30 minutes wind down time. Read a book, journal, do low impact stretching, get or give a massage, have sex, take a warm bath. Fill and turn on your diffuser. Annoint yourself with essential oils for sleep, grounding, or anti-anxiety.
Things to do in the day to sleep better at night. Move your body/exercise. Avoid caffeine after noon. Get sunlight, either directly or by opening your curtains. Dont eat within 2 hours of bedtime.
By cultivating these habits, you are setting yourself up for a good night’s sleep, night after night. It takes time to establish these routines. But soon your brain will be trained and you will fall asleep with ease and stay asleep.
It takes practice. You are retraining your brain and your body. One night of good practices won’t do it. Give yourself the time and patience to reset your inner rhythm and strengthen your melatonin production.
You can do this. You will be amazed how much better your feel.
Essential oils for sleep.
Essential oils are for far more than something that smells nice. The use of plant essences – their oils – have been used medicinally for centuries, long before our modern medical industry came to be.
Hippocrates, “the Father of Medicine”, used plants for healing. Greek doctors became master herbalists. They believed nature was a great healer. Many of the ancient Greek natural remedies are similar to our home remedies today.
The use of essential oils isn’t new. It is a return to ancient ways with a modern delivery. They are usually steam distilled or in the case of citrus oils, cold-pressed. Then they are bottled in dark glass to preserve the oils and shipped to our doors.
This is where doTERRA has stepped in. Their philosophy is potency and purity are the most important aspects of essential oils’ efficacy. doTERRA’s oils are the most tested in the world. To solidify your knowledge, understanding, and trust, see the “Source to You” videos.
Now that I’ve introduced you to essential oils, let me tell you about some that are excellent sleep aids. We have some flowers, a couple of trees, a root, and a blend specially crafted for sleep.
The flowers are Lavender, Magnolia, and Roman Chamomile. The trees are Cedarwood and Petitgrain. The root is Vetiver. doTERRA’s restful blend is Serenity.
Lavender and Roman Chamomile have a reputation for inducing sleep. Magnolia has the same constituent, linalool. Linalool has powerful soothing and relaxing benefits to our emotions and our skin. (Oils are multi-taskers.)
Cedarwood oil is distilled from the needles, leaves, bark, and berries – not the pollen so many of us are allergic to. Petitgrain is distilled from the leaves and twigs of the wild orange tree.
Vetiver is a grass. The oil is distilled from the roots. It’s compounds and constituents provide calming and grounding effects.
An oil blend curated specifically for sleep is doTERRA’s Serenity blend. It’s perfect for de-stressing and unwinding. It melts away tight emotions helping you feel calm and relaxed.
I would like to venture off for a moment and tell you about my experience with sleep.
I became a “two sleep” person. I could only sleep for about five hours at night and was caught in a vicious cycle of not getting enough sleep at night and then needing a nap during the day resulting in not getting good sleep at night and needing a nap the next day. It was a vicious cycle indeed.
I learned that exercise is crucial for me. The need to physically expel excess energy became vital. The second thing I figured out was eating – my diet – what I was asking of my digestive system. Bottom line, I wasn’t giving my digestive system the break it needed to rest and repair. It wasn’t the only system not getting the rejuvenating rest it needed.
I have figured out my energy/stress level. I had realized that I needed to stop eating late at night.
I still needed some help though. That’s where the oils came in.
As a doTERRA Wellness Advocate, I am passionate about these oils. I am dedicated to them. I trust them. I believe in their power.
doTERRA has curated a sleep wellness program. I jumped in. I committed and invested. It worked!
I am sleeping regularly. I am amazed at the changes I feel. My memory is better. Brain fog and forgetfulness are receding. My energy level is high. I am motivated to keep my healthy habits. I make better food choices. I am amazed.
I want this for you too.
Back to the tools. Tools are vital. Can you imagine eating without utensils? Can you imagine styling your hair without a dryer, curler, or even a hairbrush? Tools make life doable.
Essential oils are a supremely effective tool to help ease tension and stress and allow you to gently fall into the restful rejuvenating sleep that your mind, body, and spirit need to function at your optimal level.
WHAT IF I STILL CAN’T SLEEP?
Been there. Done that. I hear you. I feel you. It takes practice. It takes getting into a routine.
I am willing to bet that your sleep issues have been with you for a while. They aren’t going away instantly.
You need to create a bedtime routine and stick with it over time. Your brain has to be trained and that takes time. Be patient with yourself. You will turn this around. You will be sleeping like a baby regularly! A deep restful rejuvenating sleep, regularly.
IF you are still having trouble falling asleep, here are some tips:
Use relaxation techniques. Breathing exercises are my #1 choice. I use the 4-7-8 method. Breathe in for the count of four. HOld for the count of seven. Release for the count of eight. Repeat four times. Count at the speed that’s comfortable for you. Over time your counting will become slower as your lungs get used to mindful breaths.
Another relaxation technique is to visualize yourself in a peaceful serene setting.
You can also relax individual body parts. Start with your toes and work your way up. Or start with your neck and work your way down.
Other techniques could be meditation, massage, yoga, tai chi, or sound therapy.
Try different ones or research more relaxation techniques. Remember – you are worth it. You deserve deep restful sleep. It’s worth developing a practice that works for you.
The second helpful tip – is don’t stew in bed. If you need to get up to turn down the lights, just do it. If you forget something, get up and take care of it. If you need to check on the kids or the pets, just do it. Don’t stew!
Keeping a sleep diary could be helpful too. I remember that time I ate a bowl of chili too close to bedtime. Talk about trouble falling asleep! I still remember it, so no need to write that one down. However, keeping a diary can help shed light on recurring disruptions and help you resolve them. A sleep diary can also shed light on what works well.
Helpful tip #4 – Give your new habits time to take effect. It takes time to train your brain. Be patient. Be persistent. You got this, friend.
HAVE TROUBLE STAYING ASLEEP?
Set the thermostat to low to mid-60s.
Use soothing background music to block out unwanted noise.
Get blackout curtains. Remember, our pineal gland makes melatonin in the dark.
Getting Adequate Sleep Is Vital For Good Health!
Congratulations on doing what it takes for you to have regular, deep, restful, and rejuvenating sleep!
It takes time, patience, and practice to make lifestyle changes. Make a commitment, a promise, a pledge to create your best bedtime routine and practices to align with your circadian rhythm and boost your melatonin production.
Life works in rhythms. You can and you will find your groove and sleep easily and well, regularly.
You can and will live your best life.