Don't Know What You Got Til It's Gone
Sleep, rather the lack thereof. In my blog post last week, I noted that while my Whole30 was successful, the one factor impacting my ability to feel maximum #tigerblood was insomnia. So, in addition to continuing my food reintroductions, my focus last week was on self care, specifically my bedtime routine.Sleep, rather the lack thereof. In my blog post last week, I noted that while my Whole30 was successful, the one factor impacting my ability to feel maximum #tigerblood was insomnia. So, in addition to continuing my food reintroductions, my focus last week was on self care, specifically my bedtime routine.
Insomnia is extremely common. Some research shows nearly 3 million new cases diagnosed every year in the United States. According to sleepeducation.org, approximately a third of those people have brief symptoms of insomnia, 15-20% have short-term insomnia disorder lasting less than three months, and 10% have chronic insomnia disorder which occurs at least three times per week for at least three months. And usually there are two types of people with insomnia: those who have trouble falling asleep and those who have trouble staying asleep.
According to sleepeducation.org insomnia can have devastating effects on health, causing:
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Poor memory
- Mood disturbances such as depression and anxiety
- High blood pressure
- Errors and accidents
And according to an article by Dr. Mercola, insomnia can even cause an increased risk of cancer and heart problems.
Unfortunately, I have been dealing with insomnia off and on for fifteen years. There have been years where it was not an issue at all. However, the last year has been especially difficult in the sleep department. I always fall asleep quickly. However, when insomnia hits, I wake up around 3am and am unable to fall back to sleep. I’m be awake for a couple hours and then fall into a very deep sleep for a few hours. Occasionally, I cannot fall back asleep which makes it extremely difficult to function for about two days.
You can find suggestions on the Internet for how to combat insomnia. But, I wanted to share a few of my personal hacks that worked for me last week as I focused on self-care and a bedtime routine that promotes relaxation: (It seemed to work!)
- Journaling – I start with writing down any negative thoughts swirling in my brain because its the negative thoughts that pop up at 3 o’clock in the morning. I don’t focus long on them, however, and I spend several minutes writing down three things I’m grateful for. I also include why I’m gratiful for them. It’s important to focus on the positive because neuroplasticity is a real thing. You have the power to change your brain and your life with positive thinking. Look it up!
- Reading – I read at least 20 minutes most nights. I read real books, not Kindle or other online book sources because…
- Avoid looking at screens before bed – the light coming from computer and TV screens disrupts the hormones needed for sleep
- Meditation/Prayer – this calms the brain to help you fall asleep and stay asleep
- Stretching – I carry stress in my shoulders and neck so I take at least 10 minutes stretching my back out with a foam roller. I find I become very physically relaxed after a good stretching/foam rolling session.
- Essential oils – I always rub my doTerra lavender essential oil on the bottoms of my feet. Additionally, I inhale it deeply to promote relaxation.
- Practice your routine every night – Just having a regular routine before bed helps tremendously as it lets your brain know you are preparing for sleep.
Tune in next week for a review of my #Whole30 food reintroduction results and how I plan to use that information for my Food Freedom plan.
Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram (@katewilliamshealth) for food pics and other randomness.