Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS May 11, 2016
Sleep is one of those pillars of health that I have written about in the past along with nutrient-dense foods, efficient exercise, and stress reduction. Your body needs about 7-8 hours of restorative sleep a night. Among many other things, sleep affects the gut microbiome, which in turn affects the mouth.
So, how do you get restorative sleep? I’ve done some research and experimented with my own sleep habits. Here are my thoughts on how to fall asleep, how to stay asleep, and how to wake up naturally:
- When the sun rises, it stimulates biochemicals in your body to get you up in the morning. When the sun sets, the lack of light stimulates biochemicals to make you sleepy. Therefore, it is important to have no light in your bedroom when you are ready for sleep. For a good night’s sleep, make your bedroom dark, quiet, and temperature cool.
- Coffee and caffeine containing foods work on your central nervous system and prevent your brain from slowing down. Caffeine will keep you awake. Consequently, you don’t want to drink coffee or eat foods containing caffeine shortly before bedtime. Here is an interesting video on YouTube that explains how caffeine affects your body.
- Healthy root carbs can increase the production of melatonin, which is a hormone that is important to make you sleepy, while not creating a spike in blood sugar. An example of a healthy carb that can help you fall asleep is a sweet potato. You could eat it with your dinner or as a snack before bedtime.
- If your last meal of the day is more than 3 hours before bedtime, you could have a blood sugar imbalance while asleep that could wake you up in the middle of the night. To stay asleep, try to eat your dinner no more than 3 hours before bedtime. It should consist of a balance of foods including protein, healthy carbohydrates, and healthy fats. This should help maintain proper blood sugar balance during your sleep cycle.
- Light will stimulate you to wake up. Natural sunlight coming into your bedroom will help you wake up naturally. Alternatively, an alarm clock using light to slowly illuminate the room, rather than using loud alarming sounds, can help you wake naturally. You could find many models online by Googling “sunrise alarm clocks.”
There they are – 5 natural ways to get a good night’s sleep that can be restorative for your whole body. Try my ideas, and get the sleep you need – naturally.