How does sleep affect your health? Learn how (and why) to banish insomnia.
It’s 3 AM. You’re wide awake with racing thoughts and an alarm that will sound off in just a few hours.
You’ve woken up multiple times through the night. You’re tossing and turning, trying your best to go back to sleep, but you can’t.
Time is going by and the frustration of how tired you will be once the day starts is setting in.
“Why am I awake?,” you ask yourself.
The short answer? Insomnia. While you may not have the kind that keeps you up all night, trouble sleeping is certainly a form of insomnia you may not be as familiar with. It’s hard enough having to deal with it for one night. But, if it persists, it can be a very vicious cycle to fall into and equally as hard to get out of.
This is the most common culprit of interrupted sleep cycles. When we don’t manage our stress levels effectively, they can wreak havoc on our health by dysregulating our hormones. Stress can be caused by many different things, such as work, social factors, finances, illness, and more.
Your bedroom might be as comfortable as you can possibly make it, but what’s going on outside of your bedroom? Are there bright lights creeping through your window? Loud noises that wake you through the night? Appliances in your home that are too loud for you to sleep through? These are all things that may trouble light sleepers.
How late in the day are you drinking caffeine? If you have a hard time falling asleep, you probably shouldn’t be drinking caffeine in the afternoon.
How do you prepare yourself for bed? Are you mindlessly scrolling through social media on your phone for hours? Maybe watching TV? It is recommended to start winding your body down for bed one to two hours ahead of time. That means turning off your devices that radiate blue light. Blue light increases alertness and prevents our bodies from producing melatonin, a hormone that signals our bodies when it’s time to sleep. If using your phone or watching TV is a must before bed, try using blue light blocking glasses or dim the blue light on your devices if possible.
Please note that the listed causes of insomnia are the most common known contributing factors, however, there are other possible underlying factors that may contribute as well. If you suffer from chronic insomnia, it is best to see a doctor or trained professional for further guidance.
In a study completed by the University of Arizona, two-thirds of the participants said that lack of sleep led them to choosing unhealthier foods, typically sugary and processed foods. A combination of lack of sleep and satisfied junk food cravings can lead to further binge eating, resulting in over-eating. These habits have been linked to obesity, diabetes, and other health conditions.
When we enter a deep sleep, our bodies start processing short-term memory into long-term storage. Lack of quality sleep can lead to forgetfulness if our bodies don’t have a chance to process while we sleep.
If you lead an active lifestyle, it’s important to know that the magic happens while you’re sleeping. Our muscle tissues are torn apart while working out. While we sleep, our bodies secrete human growth hormones, which work to build and repair our muscles making them stronger.
Get yourself on a regular sleep and wake schedule. Once you develop a routine your body will start winding down and relaxing before you go to bed, making it much easier to fall asleep and reach a deep sleep.
Turn off all electronics that emit light and sleep in cool, loose clothing.
Maintaining clean bedding helps you avoid a stuffy nose that might develop from allergies or asthma.
If you absolutely need to take a nap, sleep for no more than 20 minutes.
Try to avoid being in bed during non-sleeping hours. If you only get in bed when it’s time to sleep, your brain will start to associate your bed with sleep, signaling your body to wind down as soon as you get in bed.
If you wake up in the middle of the night and lay there, growing more and more frustrated, get up. Move to another room, preferably with dim lighting, and do something calming such as reading a book until you feel sleepy and ready to get back into bed.
Find a way to manage your stress. There are many things you can do to relieve daily stress, including meditation, yoga, forest bathing, exercise, and journaling.
Magnesium plays a vital role in healthy sleep by helping your body relax and reducing stress. Magnesium is available in many fruits and veggies. If you’re eating the recommended servings each day, there is no need to obtain it through a supplement unless recommended by a doctor or health professional.
At Las Vegas Integrative Medicine, our team of naturopathic providers is here to help you say goodbye to insomnia so you can get the rest and rejuvenation you deserve.
Ready for a good night’s rest? Schedule your appointment here.
Chahine, E. (2021, May 20). How Magnesium Can Help You Sleep. Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/magnesium.
University of Arizona Health Sciences. (2018, June 1). Sleep loss linked to nighttime snacking, junk food cravings, obesity, diabetes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 4, 2021 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180601171900.htm