Sleep is critical for health and healing. We all need a solid night’s rest regularly and, –just so you know– there’s no gold medal for the person who gets the least sleep. In our fast-paced society, people neglect their priorities and cheat themselves of rest. In the long run, that means they’re cheating their health.
So many people don’t realize the impact sleep can have on every aspect of life –especially their health. Doc gets asked all the time by patients, “What can I do to improve my health?” The simplest answer is healthy sleep because it’s such a critical foundation of health. If you don’t sleep, you don’t heal. Your body needs rest because it supports regenerative processes, healthy hormone production, regular brain wave activity, and other biological processes. That’s where supporting your circadian rhythm comes in.
Why’s Circadian Rhythm Important?
All living creatures are dependent on their circadian rhythm for biological functions. This internal clock determines the body’s physiological functions over the course of about 24 hours, including eating and sleeping. There are internal and external factors that impact your circadian rhythm. Internal factors include hormones and neurotransmitters, and external factors include light and temperature. A healthy circadian rhythm means your body increases cortisol in the morning to wake you up and decreases it throughout the rest of the day until it’s time to wind down. Supporting your circadian rhythm with healthy sleep habits sets you up for good health.
8 Tips to Get Better Sleep
1 – Set an Early Bedtime
If you go to bed by 9 pm or even 10 pm regularly, it will have a dramatic impact on your health. This especially applies to women whose hormones are more affected when they don’t get enough sleep. Men don’t need quite as much as women, but they will wake up earlier, which is a good thing. If you can’t fall asleep immediately, just be patient and pick up a novel. Eventually, you’ll get there.
2 – Get Inverted
Inversion is a great way to help you sleep better. An easy way to do this is with an inversion table. You can usually find them second-hand for cheap. When you’re inverted, it takes the pressure off your adrenal glands and heart, setting you up for good rest. Don’t want to invest in an inversion table? Try yoga poses or elevate your feet to relieve insomnia.
3 – Do a Pulse Check
Do you hear your heartbeat in your ear when you lay your head on your pillow at night? That could be a sign of low potassium or magnesium. These essential minerals are needed to regulate biological functions; sufficient levels can help you sleep. Make sure you’re eating loads of leafy greens to replenish your levels. Eating your vegetables is the cheapest way to get these minerals. If you cannot get enough vegetables in, you can purchase supplements.
4 – Try CBD Oil
No matter how much I say reducing stress is vital for health and restorative sleep, many people still have trouble controlling the stress in their lives. CBD oil has many benefits, including reducing stress and relieving insomnia. Here are some tips for choosing a CBD oil, or you can try this CBD oil (It’s Wellness Way, so you know it’s high quality).
5 – Sleep in Total Darkness
Light affects your circadian rhythm. To get the best sleep, you must sleep in total darkness. Get blackout curtains, block light emitting from any electrical devices, and keep your devices out of the bedroom. Yes, we are all addicted to our phones, tablets, and TVs, but these don’t belong in the bedroom. Skip the electronics 30 minutes before bed to avoid light stimulation, insomnia, and reduction of melatonin.
6 – Skip the Alarms
Who likes the sound of an alarm clock? No one! Throw it out and find a different option, like a light clock or music to wake you up slowly. When you use an alarm clock, you startle yourself awake, which spikes your cortisol. It’s neither good for your hormonal rhythm nor a pleasant or healthy way to wake up.
7 – Practice Grounding
There are so many benefits to grounding, and good sleep is one of them. Some people call it earthing. No matter what you call it, it’s as simple as getting outside and getting your bare feet on the natural ground, whether it’s the grass or the beach. When you ground, you transfer the electroactivity of the earth to your body, which helps regulate your cortisol levels and helps you sleep better. All these things transpire through normalizing your circadian rhythm.
8 – Get Tested
Are you a night owl? Does this sleep schedule sound crazy to you? You need to get your hormones tested. Your body is designed to rest at night. Do you wake up at 2 am to get a snack? You need to get your insulin and blood sugar tested. Needing to get out of bed and eat is a sign of hormone dysregulation. Do you have significant trouble sleeping? Getting tested is the only possible way to know what’s going on. You can determine which tests are best for you by talking to a proficient provider. Cortisol, melatonin, hormones, and insulin contribute to a healthy circadian rhythm and physical function.
Take Care of Yourself and Get Better Sleep
Getting a good night’s rest can set you up to have a great day. Getting poor sleep can make for a terrible day. Consistently getting poor sleep can lead to serious health outcomes and inhibit your body’s ability to adapt to daily stressors. Don’t let restless nights be your normal experience. Instead, use these tips to get better sleep. Healthy sleep habits lead to a healthier you.
Written by Dr. Patrick Flynn