The topic of the day for the Dr. Oz television program was SLEEP. Dr. Oz’s suggestions are a good start however there are a few more things to consider. For one, my granny. When I was a little girl at bedtime my granny would send me off to bed she gently reminded me why sleep is so important. She would say “you need sleep to grow up to be a big girl, healthy, beautiful and strong.” Granny directly implied if I did not get lots of sleep then there was no growing up for me and if I did, I certainly would not be beautiful. There was no room for discussion. How could my granny be wrong? She was the voice of the expert, at least to me she was.
Now (40 years later) with modern science on our side; I see my granny was right, at least about sleep. Medical experts agree for those who get less than 5 hours of sleep there’s an higher risk of heart disease (strokes, heart attack,), mood disorders (depression, anxiety), diabetes and decreased immunity (autoimmune diseases, allergies, colds, flu). Guess what? Sleep is a beauty treatment too. Lack of sleep causes increased signs of early aging such as weight gain, wrinkles (oxidative stress) and fatigue.
Ayurveda practitioners have long taught the more sleep we get before midnight the more restorative the sleep is. They instruct us go to sleep before 10 p.m. and wake up before 6 a.m.. Why? Body rhythms. The rhythm of our body has sleep and wake cycles. Have you noticed you feel sleepy some parts of the day and more awake during other parts of the day. You may have experienced the 3 pm slump. This is rhythm of our body. If you would like to wake up easier and fall asleep easier try waking up before 6 a.m. and going to bed before 10 p.m.. See how you feel. And that 3 p.m. slump? Try a quick 15 minute nap instead of caffeine. You certainly will feel more refreshed and will be more productive.
Ever hear “she sleeps like a baby” as a description of a good nights sleep? Baby’s wake up every 2 hours, then go back to sleep. Huumm why would we expect any different for us? It is normal for sleep to be in cycles, 2 hour ones. We drift in and out of deep sleep and light asleep all night.
During the light sleep if you hear a noise, see a light, look at the clock or experience other distractions you will wake up. To prevent fully waking up use a sleep mask to keep those eyes closed and ear plugs to keep the noise out. As cute as that pet is you have, keep them out of your bed. You both will sleep better.If you wake up because you’re thirsty or hungry, keep a light snack and water by the bed. Use a night light with a blue bulb if you get out of bed.
Food effects sleep too. The more whole foods you eat the better your will sleep. Foods to eat more of to rest better are soy products (soy milk, tofu, soybeans), whole grains (rice, pasta, breads), beans, hummus, lentils, nuts and eggs. Herbal teas are nice, Chamomile tea will help you to rest if taken just before bedtime. Foods that may keep you stay awake or interrupt your sleep are all forms of caffeine, sweets (sugar) and starchy vegetables eaten near bedtime.
There are also, herbs, vitamins, and minerals you can add to your sleep regimen for that advice you will need a health coach, your doctor or medical profession.
Remember your health is your responsibility.
After all if you don't take care of yourself, who will?
Cindy Cohen RN, Health Coach
C2 Your Health LLC
I agree with the 8 tips from Dr. Oz on sleep hygiene:
1. Obey the 15-minute rule – if you are not asleep get up
2. Reserve the bed for sleep and sex only
3. Wake up the same time every day
4. Make the environment favorable for sleep
5. Power down – make a bedtime ritual
6. Put the head to rest – avoid exercise
7. Stay clear of sleep stealers - , alcohol and caffeine near bedtime
8. Get help if you need it
Click here to read Dr Oz article on sleep