• 7 Safe and Natural Ways to Improve Sleep

    Posted by Karen Brimeyer

    sleepWe all need our beauty sleep, myself included. This is true especially in today’s fast paced society where sleep tends to be put on the back burner so that you can meet a deadline, watch a TV show, answer emails, etc.

    But few truly understand the physiological importance of sleep. There are much more imposing implications to a lack of sleep than how beautiful you appear or how sharp you mind functions.

    During your sleep cycles is when your body is most efficient at repairing damaged cells, including those cells that comprise your intestinal lining. And disrupting this natural healing process can stop even your best efforts of healing Leaky Gut.

    In fact, your circadian rhythm dictates this healing process and typically between the hours of 10pm to 2am you body facilitates physical repair. And during the hours of 2am to 6am your body facilitates mental repair.

    With that being said, here’s 7 safe and natural ways to improve your quality of sleep and help bring your health to new levels.

    Heal Your Leaky Gut

    When it comes to sleep, Leaky Gut and intestinal inflammation play a much larger role than you can probably imagine. In fact, most people don’t realize it but the majority of the neurotransmitter serotonin, your body’s natural antidepressant, is produced inside your gut.

    When there’s inflammation present and you can no longer efficiently produce the necessary serotonin, you often see heightened anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders because your brain does not have the necessary chemicals it needs to function properly.

    And no, it’s not just all in your head like your doctor may want you to think.

    But when your serotonin levels are low, it negatively affects your sleep.

    Diet, Diet, Diet

    First and foremost, if you’re not eating the right diet for you then you will likely have sleep issues at some point in time. This is because a poor diet leads to problems with blood sugar stabilization and regulation.

    And when you sleep at night and go for so long without eating it’s quite common for your body to become hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) since your body relies on the food you eat to maintain this balance.

    And because your body must regulate your blood sugar levels in order for you to function and survive, your body will wake you up in order to persuade you to eat and raise your blood sugar levels back up to normal.

    Get Some Sun

    Some people’s sleep issues stem from a deficiency in the hormone melatonin. This might stem from a deeper serotonin deficiency which is common with Leaky Gut Syndrome as mentioned above. Or your body might not be converting the serotonin you do have into melatonin efficiently.

    Regardless of your sleep, you should be getting at least 30 minutes of sunlight per day which is necessary for you overall health and wellbeing. But this 30 minutes of sunlight will also help stimulate your pineal gland which is responsible for producing the melatonin you need for sleep.

    Sunlight

    Avoid Alcohol

    Aside from the fact that alcohol creates inflammation within your gut and is one of the many contributing causes of Leaky Gut Syndrome, it does have an effect on your sleep as well.

    Alcohol consumption affects your brain in such a way that does not allow you to reach a deep level of REM sleep which is necessary for psychological repair and to keep you thinking sharp and straight.

    Put Down the Remote

    Odds are that you’ve become accustomed to watching TV at night. Many people are, so you’re not alone. But you have to understand that even though you’re sitting there in your lazy-boy, your brain is being hyper-stimulated by the constant flashing and changing of scenes on the TV screen. And this hyper-stimulation elicits a stress response within your body.

    And to make matters worse, you watch the news before bed where you learn about all the horrible things that are wrong in the world. And after all of this, you try to fall asleep while fearing for your life at the same time.

    By simply cutting out your TV time and stop watching the news, your brain will not be over-stimulated which can help alleviate stress or stimulation related sleep issues.

    no-tv

    Avoid Caffeine

    This should go without saying but so many people are having coffee after dinner or for dessert. But with coffee containing caffeine, a natural stimulant, it can have lasting effects through the night if taken too late in the day.

    So be sure to never drink coffee after 3pm.

    Dim the Lights at Night

    Your body is designed to function based upon the natural rhythms of your day. When the sun comes up, it stimulates cortisol production in your body which in turn wakes your body up from sleep naturally.

    And throughout your day to when the sun sets, your cortisol levels taper off which puts your body back into a relaxed state and preparing you for sleep.

    But when your house is brightly lit at night, this can promote your body to continue to produce cortisol while it should be suppressing it. And this can be enough to keep you up at night.

    So dim your lights at night to help lower your cortisol levels and make your sleep easier.

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3 Responses to “7 Safe and Natural Ways to Improve Sleep”
  1. Maria Jones

    Hi Karen,
    What about those of us who are required to wake up at 4AM for our jobs?
    Does that timeline then shift to 8PM to 4AM or are we just out of luck?

  2. Rachel

    Will working night shift 3 days a week prevent me from healing leaky gut?

  3. Karen Brimeyer

    That’s difficult to say because there are too many other variables. Stress hormones are highest at night and we sleep at night to protect ourselves from them. So, it’s definitely not ideal. But there’s more to it than that alone.

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