Balance is forever needed in all aspects of life whether it be nutritional, educational, intellectual or emotional. And we need balance daily and seasonally too!
The winter in New England reminds me how bears hibernate. Our bodies have basic needs for nutrients, air, water, sunlight and sleep.
Our bodies need a certain amount of deep restful sleep in order to regenerate. With the proper amount of high-quality sleep, the body is able to restock hormones, process toxins, repair damaged tissue, generate vital white blood cells for immunity, eliminate the effects of stress and process heavy emotions.
Sleeping is vital to restoring our bodies, resting our minds and maintaining our mental and physical health. But what do we do if we’re not getting the amount of restful sleep that we need?
Your circadian rhythm and sleep
Our body’s internal clock or circadian rhythm regulates our sleep, eating patterns, alertness, core body temperature, and many other involuntary activities that the body performs seamlessly. Most of the time, we don’t even notice our circadian rhythm, unless something is off.
If you’re finding yourself wide awake until one or two in the morning, it could be because your environmental surroundings are interfering with signals that it’s nighttime and your body isn’t producing the needed melatonin to help your body rest. Blue light from your devices might interfere and be keeping you awake.
What to try?
Put away the devices an hour or so before bed. And as tempting as it can be to watch TV to unwind at the end of a long day, try reading a book or magazine instead. Or, maybe try doing a relaxing hobby, like knitting or a puzzle instead.
You might also try using essential oils like lavender, chamomile, or bergamot, or taking a magnesium, melatonin or 5-HTP supplement before hitting the hay as well. (note: 5 -HTP is contraindicated if you are on an SSRI)
Diet, Exercise and Sleep
Diet, exercise and sleep are all energetically connected. In fact, they are one big happy triangle.
The amount of daily sunlight changes constantly. And our body’s needs for nutrition, sleep and exercise adjust accordingly based on the season, climate and even altitude.
I thought about this while on a family ski trip. We were on the mountain enjoying the natural sunlight and fresh outdoor air on an otherwise cold day, while others were doing various indoor leisure activities. But most importantly we were sleeping better than ever.
Why were we sleeping so well?
Because we were tired from a productive day of skiing! Sure skiing is great exercise. But also the fresh air and absorption of natural sunlight contributed to the equation. Plus being on the mountain and getting a mental break from the daily stress in our lives brightened our mood.
Then it dawned on me; all of these things probably contributed to our increased slumber experience.
What to try?
If you’d like to sleep better and engage in more positive eating habits, I highly recommend taking up an outdoor sport. It can be as simple as walking outside and may provide you with some seasonal resilience.
Okay, but what if neither of those are helping?
Poor sleep could be a side effect from something else happening in your body. Hormones, stress, nutrition, lifestyle and so much more can impact how you’re sleeping.
If you feel like you’ve tried building better sleep hygiene, reducing blue light before bed, eating and exercise, it’s time to dig in a little deeper. Schedule a complimentary chat with me and we can begin to explore what the root causes of your challenges might be. Together we can formulate a plan to help you reverse the cause of them.
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Editorial note: This post was originally published in 2017. It was updated and republished in January 2022.