At FGHC, our mission is to help you achieve optimal health and abundant life. We do this by examining five areas of your lifestyle, called the Five Pillars of Health:
- Spiritual Foundation
- Excellent Nutrition
- Stress Management
- Optimal Movement
- Restorative Sleep
Restorative Sleep is one of them.
Research has shown that by addressing 4 out of 5 of these lifestyle factors we can prevent, reverse and eliminate more than 80 percent of chronic disease.
So today, let’s talk about the Restorative Sleep pillar. We feel this one can be overlooked unintentionally as life tends to be busy. Getting enough restorative sleep can appear lower on the priority list.
We want to help.
Putting healthy sleep habits back at the top of your priority list first requires taking an inventory on your current sleep patterns. Take a moment to consider your needs and preferences when going through these questions:
1. Are you an early bird or a night owl? Or both?
Think about your tendencies when it comes to waking up and falling asleep. Learning your preferences and the way you’re wired can help you make adjustments in your daily routine to best suit you.
At Faithfully Guided Health Center, our desire is to help you develop a lifestyle of health. So, once you identify the way you function best, the next step is to slowly adjust the things that typically stand in the way of you getting your best sleep. Do you want time to unwind after the kids are asleep? Would you rather be up before the sun to have alone time? Maybe you need both. Where can you tweak your schedule to find a balance?
2. Are you getting the recommended hours of sleep each night?
Our bodies utilize the time we’re sleeping to heal itself. Dave Scott, a pastoral counselor at FGHC, recently gave a great example – think of the maintenance workers at a theme park. If these workers don’t have enough time to clean up and reset the park, the park will be a mess when guests arrive the next day. The same thing happens when you don’t get enough sleep—you’re not prepared physically or mentally to function at your best.
Experts recommend 7 – 8 hours each night. Sometimes our bodies need even more – like 10 hours. Please remember to listen to what your body is telling you and don’t feel guilty about sleeping in on Saturday morning when you can!
3. What is your bedtime routine?
Sleep hygiene, or a routine conducive to sleeping well, sets you up for a good night’s sleep while also giving yourself the care and love it needs. Our body is designed to follow what’s called a Circadian rhythm. That’s a biological routine where our hormones respond to external factors – mainly the amount of light present. Long ago everyone’s wake cycle was based on the sun – now we can stay up all night with lighting and technology.
Melatonin is the hormone that increases in the evening and makes us sleepy. The key to increasing your melatonin levels is to decrease the amount of light in your home. Turn off the lights and keep it dark in the evening, and especially in your room at bedtime. Blue light, emitted by screens from our computers, phones, and TV, depresses melatonin. This is why we suggest avoiding screens leading up to bedtime, but you can wear glasses that block blue light in the evening hours to promote sleepiness.
Other ideas for a relaxing routine include diffusing calming essential oils and cutting screen time about an hour prior to bedtime, creating a cozy and clutter-free environment in your bedroom, sipping hot chamomile tea and reading a book. You’ll likely begin to look forward to unwinding and caring for yourself this way.
4. What obstacles come to mind?
Changing daily habits takes time, so begin by identifying things that stand in the way of implementing a healthy sleep routine. Then, tackle one obstacle at a time. Take the pressure off of yourself and feel the freedom to create a routine of healthy habits that work best for YOU.
Kelly Tingler, PA at FGHC, has a few more tips for getting better sleep here.
At Faithfully Guided Health Center, we will work with you to develop an individualized plan, along with discussing your temperament to determine specific needs and the best ways to meet them.
Do you need help in this area? Please call us at (352) 512-0631 and schedule an appointment to complete our Collaborative Intake where we will develop a personalized Health Plan addressing all five of these pillars, starting with Spiritual Foundation.