Week 1 – Introduction to Natural Sleep
John climbs into bed at night to sleep. He sits awake for about 20 minutes on his phone scrolling through his social media feed. After deciding to get to sleep, he lays in his bed only to toss and turn for the next 30 minutes. Finally, only after another 20 minutes of restlessness, does he nod off. Unfortunately, he wakes up during the premature hours of the morning, after only one or two hours of sleep. John tries reading, taking a shower and listening to calming music but nothing seems to help him get back to sleep. John decides at 5 a.m. that it would be better to start his day a few hours early. After a painful prep for the day he begins his driving commute to work keeping himself awake with coffee. The day seems to drag and John struggles to stay focused. After work— and a few more cups of coffee— he heads home too tired to help his kids with homework or help his wife with evening tasks. After pulling himself through the last hours of the day, John retires to bed early, yearning for some quality sleep and a more energetic day tomorrow, only to have the same routine occur. Unfortunately, John’s story is not unique.
Does anything about this scenario sound familiar to you? Do you, like John, struggle to focus through the day because you’re tired from lack of sleep? Chances are you’re frustrated with all the things you’ve tried to help you snooze that haven’t worked out. All you want is to sleep at night and wake up in the morning feeling rested. Well if you’re feeling that way, know that you are not alone. Sleep is a vital aspect to good health and many people struggle with it at different points in their life. It is estimated that 30-50% of the American population has some sort of sleep disorder. At Equilibrium we see patients with sleep issues all the time. We’ve helped many people like you get the rest they need each night.
Last year a 42 year-old mom of three children came into our clinic with a chronic history of bloating, gas, constipation, fatigue and difficulty sleeping. She had tried several medications and had given up; nothing really seemed to help. We worked with her on changing a few aspects of her diet, implementing cleaner eating habits like avoiding sugar and processed foods. We also started her on magnesium supplements to take at night before bed. She came back in only a week later and had significant changes in not only her overall digestion but her sleep each night. She was really happy with her results. You can also see these positive results in your own sleeping by following at least one of the suggestions below per week. The tips in this guide are natural solutions that you can try right now to get quick results.
Are you ready to make some simple changes in habit to get better sleep and have more energy again? While changes in habit and lifestyle aren’t always a breeze, making one or two adjustments each week in your daily health practices can make a bigger difference than you may realize. With a few simple habit changes, after 30 days you could be more prepared for sleep at night. You could have an easier time getting to sleep and staying asleep. You could wake up feeling more rested and ready for the day’s adventure. When your sleep improves, so will your focus and energy throughout the day. It is important to remember that, with any change in health habits, it may take a little longer for the body to adopt or adapt to the changes. In other words, if the results aren’t immediate, give it some time and remember that your health is worth investing in.
A Few Things to Remember
The human body is truly amazing in its ability to heal. Your body is constantly healing and repairing but sometimes that process can be hindered or blocked. Our task is to remove those blocks and vitalize that healing ability again. Looking at the different aspects of your health can give insight: We look at your physical structure, your emotional health/stress status, as well as your own biochemical makeup (like your diet). In the interest of supporting yourself in each of these areas ask yourself: Am I moving in a functional way everyday? Do I drink enough clean water? Am I applying stress management skills each day, such as breathing deeply? As you try some of these you will be supporting your basic health needs. When you do that you build a foundation on which you can heal better.
The healing process is supported with increased awareness of your surrounding environment, how active you are, the things that you are putting in and on your body, how you are interacting with others and stress management skills. The other thing to remember is that health and healing is a daily practice, it won’t happen all at once. Give yourself time to practice different techniques, your health is worth your investment.
Natural Solutions for Better Sleep
Magnesium and Calcium Supplements
Take between 250-1000mg of magnesium (based on individual tolerance) within an hour before bedtime. Magnesium can also be taken with calcium citrate for additional effect. The best forms of magnesium are glycinate, citrate, malate and orotate. Topical magnesium spray is a nice alternative to tablet form. Follow the directions on the spray bottle to figure equivalent amounts.
Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant, supports the cardiovascular system and the metabolism among many other positive aspects. Because magnesium is not as common in our modern food due to mineral depletion in our soil, most of us are deficient. Calcium citrate is also a natural muscle relaxant. Because magnesium has a stool softening effect, it should be avoided if you have diarrhea.
Epsom Salt Bath
2-4 cups of epsom salt in a hot bath before bed can help loosen tight muscles and prepare your body for a more relaxed sleep. You can add 2-3 drops of lavender to the bath for more relaxation.
Epsom salt is another form of magnesium. This method of external supplementation can help you to relax before you sleep.
Set the temperature range of the room between 60-75 degrees fahrenheit depending on personal preference.
A cooler environment helps the body fall into sleep much easier. As the body cools down it naturally gets more sleepy.
Old Fashioned Lighting
One half hour (or more) before bed, set the mood by turning the lights down low. That means turning off all electronics, including tablets, phones and television sets.
Before the advent of artificial lighting and electronics with a blue lit backlighting people used sources like candles and fire to light their homes. These light sources are more calming. Low light such as fire and candles do not stimulate the brain like blue backlights which trick the brain to think the sun is out and, therefore, trick the body into thinking it should be awake.
One step at a time...
You can access the additional lessons by signing up with your email. As you advance to the next lessons, we'll check in with you each week through email. This guide, broken into four lessons for four weeks, is designed to help you practice simple natural solutions in your day and thus get the quality sleep you need. We also have a 'game plan' sheet to download so you can identify which tips you'll practice that week and on which days. Additionally for help finding any of the items mentioned in this lesson you can ask our receptionists by emailing us from our contact page or call our office at 360-698-4141 during business hours for a live person to help you.
Please note that it takes some effort to implement the techniques we've explored today and will continue to introduce. While making health changes isn't always easy, we submit that holistic natural healing provides the best results. You must ask yourself if you're going to make some changes to get the quality sleep you need. Is your health worth your investment? Whatever your answer, we are here to help you in your efforts. Remember also this isn't about practicing all the solutions we present at once (unless you want to.) This is about taking baby steps, picking one or two tips each week and practicing them consistently.
We look forward to seeing in you in the next lessons!
Please note, this guide is in no way a diagnosis of your individual symptoms. If implementing these tips into your daily life does not provide a resolution of your symptoms, it is important to visit with a health care provider for further help and evaluation. There may be important pathological issues that need to be diagnosed and treated with a trained healthcare provider. Please refer to your physician before starting any supplements or lifestyle changes. Here at Equilibrium Natural Health we are committed to helping patients find the root cause of problems. We are available to help you get well. Visit our website at www.equilibriumwa.net to learn more or call the office today to book an appointment at 360-698-4141. We have Naturopathic Primary Care and available to help patients reach optimal health.