I turned over and turned off my sleep app after waking up from a pretty typical night of roller coaster sleep action. Before even analyzing the details of my night, I pretty much knew the readings would be trash. I vividly remember all the disruptions and I sure didn't feel at all rested so what else do I need to know, the numbers would just seal the deal. Here is what I recall happening.
11pm- Lights out
1am -Get up to pee
3am- startling visit from the 6 year old reporting her dream in surprising detail.
5am- looking at the clock and seeing it is indeed 5am.
6:30 am- Alarm went off
I decide to look at the data and the numbers were worse than I thought. 72% sleep efficiency score which takes in account the amount of time you are in bed compared to the amount of time you are in the various stages of sleep.From the numbers I pretty much was in a wake/light sleep from 3-6:30a never getting back into deep sleep. No wonder I feel like crap I think to myself. Experts agree anything under 82% is an issue. Before implementing holistic interventions I averaged 70-80% every night. 72% is an outlier for me now. It happens occasionally from time to time. Because I have learned techniques to prioritize and improve my sleep my mood has improved dramatically and my cravings are under better control.
I have increasingly been focusing on my sleep quality and quantity since having kids. The constant sleep disruption of the newborn and toddler phases coupled with the daytime hyperarousal that comes with family and work commitments left me feeling stressed, chronically fatigued, moody and my weight loss efforts seemed to stall to an agonizing halt.
After not getting much guidance from my primary care provider around my sleep disturbances and its effects on my health, I decided to take a holistic approach to solving this problem.
Sleep deprivation is endemic in our society. Many people don't find any sustainable and effective solution after visiting their PCP or worse no mention of it being a real problem to be addressed in the first place. Sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system, body temperature and blood pressure. Sleep deprived people are naturally hungrier and produce hormones that spurs the appetite regardless of the time of day. Sleep deprivation is not only a major concern in maintaining optimal health and well being it is also a public health and safety priority. As much as 20% of fatal accidents in the US are attributed to the diminished faculties of a drowsy driver. In addition to a variety of individualized lifestyle and dietary interventions to improve sleep, there are habits we can start TONIGHT to improve our sleep for a better tomorrow.
Decide on your bedtime and put your phone away 1-2 hours before that time. The exposure to the blue light wavelengths emitted by screens inhibits melatonin production and promotes a wakeful state.
2. Set the mood for sleep. Put on your favorite set of pj's or lounge wear. Make your bed if not already done and turn down the covers. Humm yourself a lullaby or a relaxing tune. Give yourself permission to release the weight and business of the day.
3. Avoid the midnight munchies. Try to avoid eating too close to your bedtime. Digestion is a process with a lot happening during that initial breakdown phase. You want to communicate to your body it is time to rest from the work of converting energy not encourage it to work the late shift. If you are hungry (not craving) feel free to get a snack. Just make it light.
If you are interested in holistic approaches to sleep disturbances, Feel free to schedule a free Virtual consultation at the Nurture Clinic!