Did you know sleep is a key factor in our health and aging? Deep sleep is in fact the most efficient way to improve our physical and mental wellbeing. Restorative, nourishing, deep sleep is essential for experiencing clarity of mind, optimism, vitality and energy, allowing us to achieve balanced fulfillment during our day. 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night is what is considered a good night’s sleep, which is uninterrupted with extended periods of deep sleep (REM). Today, 30% of Americans get less than 7 hours of sleep a night consistently.
There are many factors that can inhibit our sleep, stress and anxiety are both key issues in effecting our ability to sleep well. Anxiety is the #1 health issue today; its effect can be felt on multiple levels, insomnia being one that is very prevalent. The brain simply doesn’t know whether to choose relaxation or arousal/stimulation. “More than 75% of all physician office visits are for stress related ailments and complaints.” – Miami Herald How can we reduce stress and anxiety in our lives? We can attain a better night’s sleep through stress and anxiety reduction techniques attained through meditation practice, breathing techniques, mantra/healing affirmations and through dietary and herbal remedies, including essential oils.
Meditation has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Meditation is one of the best ways to eliminate excess energies, where base emotions are transcended, allowing the meditator to recharge, achieve replenishment and revitalization each day. Whether practiced for 3 minutes a day or 30, the benefits of meditation are ours for the taking, by simply sitting in silence, being still in the present moment. One of the simplest ways to practice is to breathe deeply, breathing in while thinking “I am” and breathing out while thinking “relaxed.” MRI scans show after 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation practice the brain’s fight or flight center, the amygdala, appears to shrink. The primal region associated with fear and emotion.” Scientific America
Some natural and alternative approaches that can be helpful for a better night’s sleep include dietary and herbal supplements such as: magnesium, melatonin, 5-HTP, turmeric, tart cherry juice, bananas and better water intake (½ your body weight in ounces daily). Avoiding excess sweets and caffeine is also very beneficial in aiding the body’s stress response and ability to achieve better sleep. Additionally, adaptogenic herbs can help the body adapt to stressful situations and maintain normal function when under mental or physical stress. One of the easiest approaches for better sleep, yet can also be the most difficult for many, is to reduce our exposure to bright light at least 1 hour prior to retiring for bed and yes, this does include without a doubt our televisions, smart phones, tablets and computers.
For a restful night’s sleep I like to apply 1 drop of lavender oil with carrier oil to the bottoms of my feet before retiring. Or I use a calming blend of 3-4 drops each of lavender, marjoram, roman chamomile, ylang-ylang and sandalwood diffused into the air.
Sleep well and be well!
Deborah Michael, ND
Mariposa Home and Health Transformation, LLC
***Disclaimer of Information and content: The content of Mariposa Home & Health Transformation and Deborah Michael, ND website is for information and education purposes only and is not meant to replace the advice of your healthcare provider. The information herein does not constitute the rendering of medical or rehabilitative advice or the provision of treatment or treatment recommendations.