by Helen Mawson
In this article, I share with you some information on why sleep is important and some of my top tips on how to help you sleep better and how this will influence your general health and well-being in a positive way.
How much sleep is enough?
The amount of sleep is dependant on the individual and specific needs and lifestyle factors. Personally, I need a minimum of 8 – 9 hours per night, other members of my family however, are happy with 6 hours sleep per night. Knowing what works for you is essential. For example, when I am treating people with chronic fatigue issues or adrenal problems making sure they go to bed around 10 – 10.30 is essential. This ensures enough sleep, but it also works with the body’s circadian rhythms making sure that the sleep is good quality as it is working with and optimising the body’s complex biochemistry.
The benefits of getting enough sleep
Getting enough sleep ensures our body and mind are balanced and working optimally. For example, sleep has a big impact on the nervous and immune systems which has implications for our health in many ways from fighting infections and recovering from illness to our mental health and well-being.
What happens to your body when you are not getting enough sleep
Sleep deprivation is becoming increasingly common and can have a dramatic impact on our health. It has significant implications for the nervous system which leads to other imbalance in the body and psyche. It can also weaken the immune system, accelerate and increase the risk of disease and impair cognition. Luckily there are lots of things you can do to improve sleep which I will discuss later!
What you can do to improve your sleep
There are lots of things you can look at to improve your sleep and the list below is by no means exhaustive. I work with clients individually to identify the things they need to consider in order to optimise their sleep.
When we are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals it can have serious implications for our health and well-being. I will often recommend supplements and remedies when appropriate for the individual. My go-to vitamins and minerals for assisting with sleep are Magnesium, a good B complex and a good multi-mineral complex.
Gentle appropriate exercise stimulates the body on many levels and certainly has an impact upon sleep. It helps to release endorphins, gets the blood pumping through the body and helps the lymphatic system to work better. Having a healthy lymphatic system helps the body eliminate toxins more efficiently which in turn helps the body feel better. When the body is working more efficiently and effectively sleep will naturally be better.
Minimise your exposure to electrical devices
Minimising your exposure to electrical devices such as computers, mobile phones, and WiFi is really important to keep the human electrical system healthy. Too much exposure disrupts the hormonal and electrical systems and may cause problems with sleep patterns and even chronic insomnia. Try not to look at screens at least an hour before going to bed and don’t have electrical devices in the bedroom.
Balance your nervous system
When our nervous system is in balance and we are in parasympathetic state healing, repair, digestion, relaxation and good sleep will occur naturally. This is the state we should be in most of the time in order to feel balanced and well. Unfortunately, most people are in sympathetic state whereby the flight, fight loop is activating pretty much constantly. When our nervous system is balanced, and we are feeling good our bodies release a whole host of balancing hormones and neuropeptides from Oxytocin to Nitric Oxide. Great sleep is a natural side effect of being in a balanced state.
How I work with sleep issues
In practice, I work with client’s individual needs and this is no different when it comes to addressing sleep issues. We are all different and have differing needs for sleep and optimising this. For example, it might be that someone is struggling with hormonal imbalance that is disrupting sleep patterns. The hormonal imbalance will need to be addressed before the sleep issues are resolved. Or someone else may be struggling with digestive problems that are having an impact on their sleep. I offer treatments tailored to the needs of the individual and we will take a detailed consultation before we decide on the best course of action. As you all know I work with the therapies of Kinesiology and The Bowen Technique. Bowen is very gentle and relaxing and has a big impact on the nervous system balancing and restoring a sense of well-being.