Restful, blissful, wonderful restorative sleep. Ah…not so much, huh?
Really great sleep eludes so many of us and the damage of not getting deep sleep is harmful to us in a variety of ways.
I am sure that if you are having trouble sleeping well, that you have read any and every article out there to try and make changes that will fix your issue and allow you to get some rest. But I dig for underlying causes and I say, let’s take a much deeper look into what can be happening.
First, how do you feel when your sleep is less than stellar?
Based on my clients and my own past poor sleep habits, I can tell you that even if I woke up several times during the night, I did not wake up tired the next morning. That came later in the day. I felt very emotionally sensitive, though, and even a bit distant. I have clients tell me that they experience feelings of sadness, anger and even paranoia after days or weeks of poor sleep.
Unfortunately, sleep is usually the first shortcut we make in our lives. It should be the one area of our health that we treasure because so much of our body’s healing capacity is based on good sleep.
Many of us rise early, go to work (and work late), come home, take care of kids, cook dinner – we all have some routine that creates a situation that pushes our bedtime further and further out. We feel the need to “get it all done” and making it to bed by midnight may even feel like an accomplishment to you. We don’t want to go to bed because: still too much left to do OR catching up on TV shows OR afraid we will miss something.
Having done all these things myself, I know how it feels to push through and to make sleep the least significant part of life, as if the very act of sleeping was inconsequential. Let’s turn this around, starting with our mindset.
Sleep is critical to health and healing and feeling good. No way around that one!
Most of the time, what I hear from my clients is that their sleep patterns are so bad, that they become anxious thinking about going to sleep…okay, now we are on to something. Is that the case with you? Do you hold off going to bed because you just know you will lay there for hours and you could be up doing something productive anyway? Or do you fall asleep easily but you KNOW you will wake up again shortly, somewhere between tired and wakeful?
So you know sleep is critical but now you also become aware that your sleep may be causing such anxiety that you put off going to bed until you feel real exhaustion.
What are some of the underlying reasons for poor sleep?
Cortisol is a hormone that, when balanced, works with our circadian rhythm. It should rise to wake us up and fall slowly throughout the day until we go to sleep. This pattern can get out of sorts, though, through poor eating habits, unstable blood sugar or stress. Having a high cortisol pattern right before bed only serves to leave us with a head full of chatter and can keep us lying awake for hours. (This is also why you should not exercise right before bed!)
What does our gut have to do with sleeping? A lot, really. Your immune system does its work during your sleep time and with an unhealthy gut can come an immune system that is working double time. In return, that may prevent the deep sleep you are seeking.
Neurotransmitters are another gut related cause. We have calming NTs and excitatory NTs and they should work in harmony with our circadian rhythm…but most of our calming serotonin is made in our gut and when gut dysfunction prevails and we are not able to make enough of it, we lose the benefit of restful sleep. Oh, and stress does this very same thing.
What can you do?
On your own, it is important to understand what influences sleep. Things like lowering stress, doing calming activities before bed, eating a diet of food that serves you best…these are great steps to get you started and you can see directly if what you are doing is working.
You can also complete specific lab testing that will identify imbalances in how your body is functioning. Once you know the cause, a clear path to supporting your body and its needs is there to guide you.
Want to know more? Of course you do! Visit me for a 30 minute Strategy Session to discuss changes that you can make to your own individual lifestyle that will help with getting you back to dreamland 🙂