Throughout our life we can have times, seasons or years of dealing with lack of sleep or insomnia. There are a number of reasons that we can be dealing with this issue and the good news is we can move beyond it. But as we age and begin to have changes in our body, insomnia can pop its ugly head and really cause issues in our life that make living abundantly very hard and sometimes impossible. Sleep is so important to our health and well-being and not just a few hours. Our bodies need a good 7-9 hours a night of good deep sleep.
- Sleep resets our body and recharges it for the next days activities.
- Our digestive system works to move things along.
- Our body and our brain detox from all the toxins that have gotten in environmentally or intentionally by what we have eaten.
So, sleep is critical to your health.
What are some of those reasons that we can be dealing with insomnia? I’ve broken it down in three parts. See if any of them apply to your life and then I will talk about what you can do to move past those specific issues.
Lifestyle issues can bring upon insomnia in your life at really just about any season of life. But as we age, we really need to make a conscious effort to be aware of how we are living and leading our life so we can have balance.
One of those lifestyle issues can be stress. Having continual stress in your life and constantly living in your sympathetic system (that fight or flight mode) can cause your cortisol levels to rise and be in that constant risen mode. If we don’t do something to bring our body back into that parasympathetic mode, our cortisol levels will never decrease and our body senses that it needs to be prepared for a fight, or for danger or trauma.
What are some of the issues that can bring that level of stress and cause you to be out of balance?
- Working at a job that you don’t enjoy or spending way too much time working.
- Chronic illness or chronic pain for either yourself or a family member.
- Taking care of elderly family members.
- Relationship trouble
- Financial pressures
- Putting too much on your plate
- Trauma happening to you or a loved one
- New job
Now those are some of the outside forces that could cause a rise in your stress levels. But what about inner issues that can cause you to move into that mode of stress?
- Difficulty accepting things in your life as they are
- Putting expectations on yourself that you cannot meet
- Continual negative attitude; seeing the glass half empty and not half full
- Projecting negativity into your situations and/or circumstances
- Hard time putting boundaries around your relationships … especially those relationships that can be draining.
Do any of these issues line up to issues in your life? Are you saying, “Yes this is me? You described so much of my life. I don’t like it. I want change but I don’t even have any idea how to move beyond it.”
First step is to identify what issues are you falling into and the ones that have you in bondage. Knowing is always the first step. Then making the necessary changes to help you move away from these issues. Sometimes we need a listening ear and some support to help us move beyond them.
Next focus that could be causing sleep issues, could be your diet. Consider removing the following food until you get your sleep under control.
- colas (give this up even if you don’t have sleep issues)
Know that if you are dealing with stress in your life and it is running high, that means cortisol levels are high and high cortisol levels can cause you to crave junk foods and simple carbs. Eating junk foods and simple carbs in an out of balance fashion, could cause you to gain weight.
Understand that your gut is your “first brain” and if your gut is out of balance it will affect many issues in your life. Issues like insomnia, depression and anxiety. Having a balanced gut is critical to your health.
Eating foods like nuts, berries, almond butter with an apple, Greek Yogurt (organic) with some raw honey could satisfy that craving you may have.
Perhaps having a hot cup of tea in the early evening such as Lemon Balm or Chamomile will help relax you and begin bringing your body into a homeostasis level of relaxation.
Another area to look at could be metabolic issues. Perhaps your hormones are out of balance and preventing you to have the ability to relax and either fall asleep or stay asleep. Going to a Naturopathic Doctor or a Functional Medicine Doctor to get a hormone panel of blood tested would be a great idea. I like Functional Medicine Doctors the best and consider it my first choice because they won’t see a hormone out of balance and just put a band aid on it. They will get to the root cause and deal with the problem.
Recommending what you should do with your out of balance hormones would be out of my jurisdiction as I am not a physician. Always seeking the advice of a physician is best. I look at physicians from this perspective:
- Traditional Medicine Doctor – uncovers a problem and gives you a drug to take care of it
- Naturopathic Doctor – uncovers a problem and gives you an herb to take care of it. Some will dig deeper to get to the root of the problem. I would be sure that is their strategy.
- Functional Medicine Doctor – uncovers a problem and begins digging deeper to find the root. They may initially give you natural ways to give you some relief. But they will always find out why you are dealing with your specific issue.
In summary, there are other things you can do to bring relief to your insomnia. Things like:
- Shut off all devices (TV, Smartphones, Laptops, Computers, etc) at least one hour before you plan to go to sleep. The blue light from these devices mess up your melatonin.
- Wear “Blue Light Blocker” glasses or Amber glasses if you are going to be on devices in the evening. You can find them on places like Amazon.com or Dr. Amy Myers website Dr. Amy Myers
- Diffuse essential oils such as lavender, cedarwood, vetiver, roman chamomile … to name a few.
- Consider working with a Health Coach who would look at your Circle of Life and help you see what you could do to take steps for a better night sleep.
Know that you can create a restful night sleep. Don’t just believe you have to live with it. Value yourself enough to say, “I am not going to live like this any longer. I am going to take the first step to have a better night sleep.”
If you would like a 30-Minute Free Consult click there. I would be honored to usher you to have a good night sleep.
Your Health, Wellness & Organizational Coach … believing in you!