Sleep: One of the pillars of optimal health

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sleepAs we enter the holidays, ask yourself, how is my sleep?

My first thought when I wake up is how do I feel? Did I sleep well?  This sets my day right from the beginning.  It’s important to make getting a good night’s sleep a priority every day. 

Don’t let your sleep go to the wayside due to the pressures of day-to-day living because sleep helps to connect the dots of your health and wellness.  During sleep, your internal organs rest and recover, hormones release and help to regulate appetite, stress, growth, and metabolism.  Your brain regenerates each and every night and requires around seven to eight hours of quality sleep.

Our bodies like routine and adding a bedtime routine increases the likelihood of a good night’s sleep. 

Your evening routine could look like this.

  1. Set the tone after dinner and start winding down by dimming lights.
  2. Try an evening elixir (golden milk) at least an hour before bedtime.  There are many recipes, and my go-to ingredients are turmeric, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon.
  3. Relax with a warm bath and add an essential oil like lavender.
  4. Engage in light reading to relax your mind.
  5. Strive to keep your bedroom dark, cool and quiet and this will be conducive to sleep.
  6. Make use of a Himalayan Salt Lamp. Researchers claim the spa-like accessory decreases air pollution, negative ions and electrosmog caused by electronic devices.  In addition, it reduces symptoms from asthma, allergies, and other illnesses. 

In this 24/7 environment we live in there are things to avoid before bedtime, too, that can diminish your quality of sleep and challenge your health.  Be aware of what zaps your sleep routine and keep these factors in mind:

  1. Power off the gadgets. Light stimulates the brain and it gets harder to turn off the brain as we age. Turn on the blue light blockers when the sun goes down. 
  2. Exercising in the evening has been shown to stimulate dopamine levels.  Strive for regular exercise first thing in the morning and or throughout the day rather than at night.
  3. Don’t eat too close to bedtime, and don’t go to bed on an empty stomach.

Think of it this way: insufficient sleep for long periods of time affects your gut, your brain, and your health. Quality sleep is as important to your health and well-being as nutrition and exercise.   

Remember when we become more aware of how powerful our daily choices are, it makes a difference. When we make shifts in our habits, and we reframe our mindset, results show up quickly, and we see a change.  Our bodies are made to heal and if we give them half a chance, they will.

Sleep is not a luxury, it’s a necessity!

About the Sponsor:

Susan Seifert is a local health and wellness coach who received her training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Look for more of her columns on health topics including the importance of meditation, quick one-dish meals, breathing and its health benefits, gut and brain health, sugar cravings, how to get the most from your doctor visits and more. To learn more about her practice or schedule an appointment, visit her website YummySELF.com.



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