6 Tips to Help You Combat Insomnia
I think we all have heard it a million times - For your best health you have to sleep 7-8 hours per night. To a mom of 7, who works in the ER until midnight, who blogs and writes in my "free time" this is almost comical. I actually stopped wearing my fitbit at night because as a type A over-achiever, I got pretty dang tired of my watch giving me a terrible sleep score. Come on fitbit, I wasn't really tossing and turning that much.
But, nevertheless, one of my goals for 2020 is to own my health and do things that bless my body. That means movement, drinking water, making healthy choices in foods, taking my supplements and getting enough sleep. Why, I'm a bit of a hot mess when I'm tired. Want to know the science behind it? Read this Psychology Today journal article. My favorite line:
"Forcibly depriving a person of sleep is a profound assault on the entire biological system at the foundation of that person’s mind and body "
So how the heck are we ever going to hit our big life goals if we ruin tomorrow before it even hits. We are starting the day with our body assaulted. How are we going to make healthy diet choices when you start out the day already spent? I've actually seen patients in the ER numerous times for the chief complaint of insomnia because everyone is looking for a magic pill to solve their life's problems. But here's the good news, there are some non-pharmaceutical and all natural ways to combat insomnia before it ruins your tomorrow.
So how the heck are we ever going to hit our big life goals if we ruin tomorrow before it even hits. We are starting the day with our body assaulted. How are we going to make healthy diet choices when you start out the day already spent?
1) Binaural Beats - This is my new go to for insomnia, anxiety, stress and focus. You can find these sounds on amazon music or youtube. How binaural beats work is if the left ear registers a tone at 220 Hz and the right ear registers one at 200 Hz, the binaural beat is 20 Hz — the difference between the two frequencies. Different frequencies help with different goals and this article breaks it down. Make sure you listen with headphones for the best effect. The research is a little mixed on it, but like most things in medicine, our oath is to do no harm. If this works for you, great. If not, it won't harm you and move on to suggestion number two.
2) Meditation - Just this word may be ominous to some. Maybe you picture a hippie girl smoking weed and doing yoga in the mountains or maybe you picture a Buddhist monk and hear Tibetian bowls in the background. Here's what I say to you, what do you have to lose? There have been multiple studies how meditation can significantly improve your sleep. My meditation journey started in yoga classes connecting with my breath but this is a practice I do at night to connect with my spirit, mind and body. Yes, for me it can be deeply religious and spiritual, but even for an agnostic person, there is something profoundly relaxing with this practice. If you are new to it, start with an app. Here is the one I love.
3) Turn off the Screens
Here's something we all know, electronic screens are terrible for us. It
makes us have worse vision at an earlier age, it distracts us and it messes up our sleep. Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and looked at your phone screen and it takes you over an hour to fall back asleep. Don't do that! Nix the screen. 2 hours before bed turn off the screens - tv, ipad, computer and phone. Read a paper book or spend time and be present with your loved ones instead.
4) Lavender Oil
Ok, ok. I know what my medical professional friends are thinking. Essential oils Joni? Come on. But again do no harm. Wouldn't you rather have your patients, family members hooked on lavender oil instead of a lifetime of prescription pills. Besides, here is a study that showed inhaled lavender improved people's sleep. So put a few drops of oil with water in a diffuser, and see if it helps you. At the very least your room will smell lovely.
5) Nix the Caffeine
It goes without saying, but caffeine is a stimulant. It is hard to fall asleep if you are downing expresso in the afternoon or evening. So limit your caffeine intake to one cup of coffee or a total of 150mg of caffeine in the morning.
So before you jump to a prescription medication for insomnia, try something your body makes naturally already. Melatonin is made by your pineal gland in your brain and helps regulate your sleep cycle. This is especially good for those that are jet lagged or like me that do shift work so you can help get yourself on a more regular sleep cycle. I especially love the ID Life Sleep Strips because they have a mint flavor and melts in your mouth.
So it is time to stop sabotaging tomorrow before it happens. Try these techniques and let me know what worked for you. Don't forget to subscribe for more updates
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