Our next Super, Simple Step to Health and Wellness is…
Yep. Just like water, sleep is also crucial to your health. I hear you though, you’re busy. A woman’s work is never done. But it’s time to re-prioritize.
Here’s a few reasons why.
- Melatonin: Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland, which is part of your endocrine system. Melatonin controls your wake/sleep rhythm. Getting out of your rhythm reduces the amount of melatonin your body produces, disrupting your rhythm even more. A lack of melatonin can have detrimental effects. For instance, reduced immunity which could lead to an increased risk of cancer1,2.
- Stress & Immune System: The act of sleeping reduces stress, which in turn supports immunity.
- Repair & Detoxification: Your body uses the state of sleep to divert its energy to repair and detox. Without adequate sleep, your body will struggle to function.
- Disease: A lack of sleep is associated with many diseases such as dementia3, depression, high blood pressure and obesity4.
Newborns, unhappy toddlers, a husband’s work schedule – crazy shifts, out-of-town, deployed – I’ve been there. It’s chaos! All the more reason to rest.
The amount of sleep each person needs differs. The general rule is whenever you wake up without the alarm clock, you’ve had enough sleep. Of course there are exceptions, for instance if you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, bless your heart, you never feel like you get enough sleep!
But if you’re dying to have a number, it’s 7…more or less.
Your Super, Simple Goal Today
Begin creating a sleep routine that works for you! Not me, not your husband, not your best friend…YOU.
Below are some ideas to get you started!
The Most Important:
Turn off all electronics at least an hour before bedtime. Light, whether natural or artificial, tells the pineal gland not to release melatonin. Your body senses the light and believes it daytime. Dim light begins the release of small amounts of melatonin, while darkness results in the release of enough to put you to sleep.
Research shows that even a small amount of light, like from your alarm clock light, will reduce your pineal gland’s production of melatonin!
The olfactory system is partly associated with memory. So by associating aroma with sleep, your body responds accordingly. Cool right? What’s super cool, is that same aroma during the day tends only to relax you, not put you to sleep.
Essential Oils to Try:
Many essential oils are called by one common name but are actually different essential oils. When you purchase your oils, look for the Latin name I have listed below, otherwise you might experience a different effect than what you intended.
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): There’s an untold amount of research on how it helps with sleep. I’d try this first, if you haven’t already.
- Orange (Citrus sinensis): I personally find this relaxing.
- Cinnamon bark (Cinnamomum zeylanicum): Fall favorite!
- Frankincense (Boswellia carterii): This one is expensive, so use it after a really stressful day…and breath deeply.
All of these oils have plenty of other uses, and would be a wise investment.
Please note, you will become accustom to a particular essential oil after using it night after night. How do you know when that happens? You can’t smell it anymore! Take a break, and then go back to it a few days later.
What to Do With Them
Diffuse! Place a diffuser, preferably an atomizing diffuser, close to your side of the bed. Choose any of the oils above, or your favorite relaxing essential oil. I love orange and cinnamon together!
Massage lavender or orange diluted essential oils onto your back or feet. Using a small bowl with a lid, combine 1 teaspoon of coconut or olive oil with 1 drop of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) or Orange (Citrus sinensis). Cover any leftovers with the lid.
I find instrumental to be the most relaxing. When there are words, I tend to start singing…and maybe dancing a little.
Five minutes each night of doing the same thing over and over and you have trained your body for bedtime.
You Have Monkey Brain
This is the worst, and it has gotten the best of me before.
If you wake up and can’t go back to sleep because you are thinking of your To-Do List, or whatever, then take advantage of the quiet time and pray. Ask God what His Will is for your day (Jer. 29:11-12).
Maybe you are worried about something? Have a candid conversation with Him about what you are worried about and what you should do, if anything (Ps. 46).
The Light Exception
This is the exception and not the rule, but if you really can’t sleep, then turn the light on and get your Bible out… or your devotion or that memory verse. When we struggle, we have to go to God with it or the Enemy will surely get into our heads.
If you find you are constantly struggling, I strongly encourage you to work through Dr. Charles Stanley’s “30 Life Principles”.
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If you’d like some help being accountable for your water and sleep goals this week, and/or want some encouragement, be sure to join the Mom, Be Well Accountability Group on my Facebook page here. Plus, I’ll post a question(s) each week, a quiz if you will, for points. The most points wins! And yes ma’am, there are prizes. Be sure to vote for your favorite if you haven’t already!
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