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A Lack of Sleep is Doing a Lot More Than Stealing Your Youth...And What You Can Do (Part 2 of 2)



Part 1of this blog related to sleep, I wrote about the risks of not consistently getting adequate sleep including an increased risk of various serious illnesses and diseases including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and a weakened immune system.  


In part 2, I will focus on a path forward with some strategies and actions that you can implement to start improving the quality and quantity of your sleep. 


Adequate sleep is essential to maintaining a healthy body and mind. During sleep, the body undergoes critical repair and restoration processes that are vital for maintaining optimal health. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritize getting enough quality sleep every night for overall health and wellness.


A Path Forward


While you can use over-the-counter sleep aids such as melatonin, these are not long-term solutions. There are several evidence-based strategies that you can implement to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.


Start by tracking your sleep, using this Sleep Diary from the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). Download the NSF Sleep Diary. Research shows that tracking an activity you want to improve or change increases the likelihood that you will experience success.





  • Establish a consistent bedtime schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time daily. 

  • Maintain a comfortable temperature in your bedroom and keep it as quiet as possible.

  • Creating a bedtime routine can be an effective way to calm your mind and body ready for bed such as:

  • Taking a warm bath with essential oils or Epsom salt, 

  • Diffuse your favorite essential oils that promote sleep such as Lavender, serenity, or Cedarwood about 30-60 minutes before bed.  Use a spray bottle, combine several drops of Lavender or serenity with water, and spritz your pillow. Apply lavender or serenity oils to your pulse points (e.g. wrists, back of neck, bottom of feet) right before bed. 

  • Reading a book

  • Listening to soothing music



  • Incorporate regular exercise as part of your daily routine but not close to bedtime.

  • Avoid eating large meals or caffeinated drinks (found in many coffees, teas, and chocolate) late in the day or close to bedtime.

  • Be mindful of your alcohol consumption as alcohol can make falling asleep more difficult, even in small amounts.




  • Avoid late afternoon naps as it may keep you awake when it's bedtime.

  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine by engaging in calming activities before bedtime, such as reading or practicing relaxation techniques. This signals your body that it's time to wind down. Avoiding electronic devices at least an hour before bed can promote better sleep.

  • Avoid watching television or using electronic devices (smartphones, tablets, and computers) at least an hour before bed. These devices emit blue light, which can disrupt your natural sleep-wake cycle (circadian rhythm and interfere with the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, making it difficult for you to fall asleep. Consider removing television and electronic devices from your bedroom if you currently have them there. If you must have your smartphone in your bedroom, place it away from your bed.   





  • Practice relaxing your entire body by bringing awareness to different parts of your body starting with your toes. Imagine your toes are completely relaxed, then your feet, and then your ankles and work your way up the rest of your body, section by section. This is similar to a savasana at the end of a yoga practice.

  • Manage your stress using a mindfulness practice, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, can help decrease stress and promote relaxation.

  • If financial worries are impacting your sleep, take proactive steps to address them, such as creating a budget or seeking financial advice can provide a sense of control and stability, therefore alleviating stress and improving sleep. 

  • If sleep problems persist, seek professional help by consulting with your healthcare professionals who can identify underlying issues and recommend personalized interventions.


In Good Health,

Deon

DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide medical advice. The purpose is to provide education and a broader understanding to my readers. Always seek the advice of your qualified healthcare provider before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. I do not recommend or prescribe, or recommend changing dosage or discontinuing, any prescription medications or pharmaceutical drugs.


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