By Jo Cordell-Cooper*
NOTHING affects health like sleep issues.
A poor night’s sleep immediately has an impact on your ability to concentrate, focus and problem solve.
We need sleep to regenerate, to boost immunity, tissue repair and cleaning, and to recharge.
Our hormone production and regulation are keenly in tune with our ability to sleep, so if you have sleep issues, managing this is vital to being a healthy human.
Sleep issues include:
Being slow to get to sleep.
Snoring and sleep apnea.
Waking and not feeling refreshed.
Light is the most important naturally occurring cue to wake us and maintaining your ‘circadian rhythm’.
Your circadian rhythm is your natural 24-hour wake/sleep cycle, which is fairly set but can be altered to fit in with lifestyle needs.
However, changing your circadian rhythm does not happen overnight, and you’ll mostly always have a natural tendency (think night owl/early bird tendency).
Solving sleep issues can be addressed by understanding the sleep hormones.
One of the magic balances that occur in the body is the balance between sleep hormone melatonin and awake hormone cortisol.
By the end of the day, we aim to have our levels of melatonin high and cortisol low, and conversely our waking levels should be cortisol high and melatonin low.
Artificial light reduces production of sleep hormone melatonin because it contains blue light.
If you go to sleep with low levels of melatonin you will wake early. It’s that simple.
So, investing in blue light blocking glasses is one very simple starting point for improving sleep quality (make contact if you want them, I have genuine lab tested blue light blocking glasses in stock).
Good sleep hygiene is needed to address long standing sleep issues.
Sleep hygiene are behaviours throughout the day that are most likely to result in a good night sleep and include:
Regular exercise (but not just before bed).
Reduced caffeine intake, particularly from mid-afternoon.
Not eating just before bed.
Minimising alcohol consumption prior to bed.
Relaxing activities with naturally dimming light – watering the garden, walking, having a candle lit bath.
Dimming artificial light or replacing with red globes or OLED light fittings (O = organic).
Explore aromatherapy sleep scents such as lavender.
Turning off screens, electronic devices, smart phones from twilight.
Use blue light blocking glasses from twilight.
Please note, blue light emits not only from computers, phones and other smart devices, but also from our overhead lighting.
Active Solutions and Health Network uses the ‘KAIZEN’ approach (doing little sustainable things every day) to improve health and fitness, particularly when the mainstream gym does not meet your needs.
For more information, visit activesolutionsandhealthnetwork.com.au or phone 0409 862 206
*Jo Cordell-Cooper is the owner of twice award winning Active Solutions and Health Network and founder of not-for-profit Tasmanian Iconic Walks.