Healthy sleep and ways to promote it

Sleep is vital for person’s health and overall wellbeing.

There is no “magic number” of how many hours of sleep you need as it varies from person to person, however, it is said by many medical resources that a healthy adult should sleep 7-8  hours a day on average.

Sleep is more than just “shutting off” at night to help your body recharge.  Sleep affects how we feel, look, and perform; good sleep or lack of sleep have a tremendous impact on our quality of life and ability to perform day-to-day tasks.

What happens during sleep?

– muscle repair

– memory consolidation

– release of hormones which regulate growth and appetite

– hormone cortisole increases during night to promote alertness in the morning

– sleep contributes to healthy immune system

– hormones that control hunger and fullness (ghrelin and leptin) are released during sleep (if you do not get enough sleep you eat more)

Many things can cause disrupted sleep: illness (both physical and mental), depression, pain, and, of course, stress.  It is very important to discuss with your doctor if you experience any problems with falling asleep or staying asleep. There could be many underlying causes of disrupted sleep which only doctor can determine.  Your doctor could prescribe sleeping medication including Lorazepam (Ativan) and Zopiclone (Imovane).

There are ways to promote sleep that you can try at home.

Medication and herbal supplements:

St. Johns Wart – mild anti-depressant, causes a person to relax, reduces stress and promotes sleep.  You should read possible side effects and interactions with other medications prior taking this herbal supplement.

-Taking melatonin can promote deeper sleep.  Melatonin is a natural hormone release by your body when sun goes down (usually after 9 pm).  During daytime levels of melatonin are almost undetectable.  Release of melatonin makes you tired, yawning and welcoming to sleep.  However, do not overdose on melatonin as it will cause headache, nausea, irritability and thus disrupted sleep.

Benadryl or Gravol contain diphenhydramine and will promote sleep.  However, as with melatonin, overdosing on these two can cause irritability.

Nytol is another diphenhydramine containing over the counter medication that is used to treat occasional sleeplessness.

Valerian root is a very common calming herbal supplement that promotes sleep.

Holistic approach to promote healthy sleep:

– Meditation helps to calm racing mind, relax, reduce stress and release muscle tension

– Taking a walk before bed time

– No caffein intake after 12 pm

– Take a warm bath using sea salts.  Add few drops of lavender essential oil

– Put few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow

– Use oil diffuser with sleep promoting essential oils: lavender, camomile, peppermint

– Have a cap of camomile tea with 1-2 tea spoons of natural honey before bed time

– Use anti-stress oils and sprays.  I personally love Sleep Well Restful Sleep Mist by  Saje company.  It contains lavender, valerian root and  marjoram oils that promote health sleep.  I also love company’s anti-stress products.

– Do not watch TV or use any electronics before bed time as those tend to excite our brain thus making it harder to calm down and fall asleep

Sleep is a part of our life and not waste of time as some might view it.  Good night!


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