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Sleep does wonders for our bodies….if you are getting enough!
Sleep helps to regulate the endocrine system, improve immune function, decreases inflammation, and replenishes the nervous system.
We all know how we feel when we get enough sleep…..like a million bucks. So why not work your sleep routine, to get the most out of the sleep you are getting.
Melatonin is a hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. It is mainly secreted by the pineal gland when it is dark out (when one should be sleeping).When it is sunny out, melatonin is suppressed from being secreted by natural light. Thus one of the main roles of melatonin is to help us sleep!
Ever noticed how on gray days, you feel sort of groggy…your body is secreting small amounts of melatonin as there is not enough light to suppress it completely.
While supplements have their place, I always like to start with the Foundation of Health when it comes to improving sleep quality. The Foundations of Health is a comprehensive protocol that I use with patients to establish a “foundation” to health so that once we remove all the natural therapies we have used to help heal the body, the body remains strong and doesn’t slide back into disease.
If you are having trouble sleeping start with this simple Foundations to Health tip: sleep in complete darkness.
Here is how this works:
~No nightlight, no alarm lights, no tv lights, no street lights coming through the windows. No light at all in your bedroom once you are lying in bed ready to close your eyes. It doesn’t matter that your eyes will be closed. The pineal gland still picks up light though sensors in your skin.
~It should be SO DARK that when you move your hand in front of your face (right prior to closing your eyes), you CAN’T see your hand! This will get your pineal gland to secrete an ideal amount of melatonin for sleep. You may even find a black-out curtain useful if there is outdoor light coming through your window.
When you wake up, open the curtains and turn on the lights (in the winter we love blues buster lightbulbs in my house). This light will begin to tell your pineal gland it does not need to release any more melatonin. If you are able to, get outside for 5 minutes, to really wake yourself up. Take a few strolls around the house or down the driveway. This is really great for those of you who wake up groggy. This will help reset your sleep-wake cycle.
Throughout the day it is good to enjoy natural light by going outdoors or working next to a window, so your melatonin remains low.
Try this for a solid month and as the time goes on, you will notice that your sleep becomes deeper and you are more awake during the day.
You will be helping your body secrete it’s own melatonin at the right time. Nighttime!