We have been spending quite a bit of time working on our sleep over the past month. This isn't to say that we've spent the last four weeks asleep, but we've been looking at how we are sleeping and what we can do to make sure that we are getting the highest quality rest possible.
This has mainly been prompted by listening to one of our friend Sam's podcasts from the Essential Oil Revolution. She interviewed a guy called Shawn Stevenson, a health and wellness coach who has his own podcast. Although the episode that got us hooked on Shawn's podcast was about breast health, he also talked about sleep and how vital it was for detox and healing and mentioned a book he had written called "Sleep Smarter." Long story short, I bought the book.
It's been huge for us. The book lists 21 easy and practical ways to get a good night's sleep.
The first area is to really recognise why sleep is so important to our wellness. If you 'get' that then you will read on. I remember the times my Mum has been in hospital and why she would be itching to get out. Apart from the crappy food and the constant flow (unfortunate pun there as they pretty much wiped out her gut biome), she was getting next to no sleep! The body simply can't heal without it.
Poor sleep is something most people have encountered in their lives at some point. We certainly have, and Sarah more than me. Four kids might have something to do with that. I hadn't quite realised how exhausting the constant cry of "Mom!" can be until it was followed by "Kim!" Certainly it's an issue which many people seek help (and find it) from our essential oils business.
I've known for a while about how EMFs (electro magnetic fields/frequencies) can have an impact on sleep. It's part of the reason I was drawn to start another business with EnergyDOTs to counter the effects. In the past I have spent far too much time on the phone, with it charging next to my bed. I have evicted it from the bedroom more than once only for it to sneak back again. It and Sarah's is now gone from our bedroom....for good! Shawn also talks about blue light, which can come from our phones, laptops and tablets as well as the good old TV... This effectively wakes us up in the evening at just the point we should be switching off. I have also tried to make a phone/tablet curfew about 60-90 mins before I want to sleep. In the main it's worked, although we aren't perfect and the lure of our nightly dose of "The Good Wife" on Netflix is just too tempting.
Other points that have helped us have been making the room as dark as possible. German shutters help with that. However when the kids are here, one of whom 'needs' a light on at night (there is a very interesting study about short sightedness and kids with light at night), we now use a Jack Russell draft excluder and a beanie to block out the light! Shawn talks about black out curtains but this (cheaper) option works well for us.
Let's face it, a lot of health issues come down to what we eat and drink. A bad night's sleep might be due to mineral deficiencies. Magnesium is the main issue for us. Remember all about the health virtues of Ovaltine? I never liked the stuff (probably because of my hatred of milk) but it is high in magnesium. We found a great powdered form in the UK last year, which the kids take but we have taken too. A bath with Epsom salts, together with our favourite essential oil, helps or the topical oils you can get these days. I also discovered why that craving for chocolate in the evening, which has always been the darker the better for me, is actually my body saying "yes, please" to magnesium.
We also rarely go to bed past 11pm these days and again the research shows that the body is getting the most important sleep between 10pm - 2am. We are really strict on bedtime for the kids (much to their dislike at times) but we know how their behaviour is affected when they stay up too late. They can turn into little monsters which are unpleasant to be around! With good sleep, they can focus and are simply much nicer kids.
Our recommendation? Get the book, listen to the podcast and get moving on getting a better night's sleep. You have nothing to lose.
Finally I have to say that the book affected me so much that I have been wanting to write this blog for ages. However, I told myself that I wouldn't put pen to paper until I had finished reading Sleep Smarter. I am admittedly the slowest reader in the world, but I've read it quickly for me. However the problem is that I can now not get through more than a few pages before my eyes start closing! I guess that says it all really.
Learn more about the topics we discussed here:
Essential oils: www.facebook.com/woofandfancy
Our shop for oily accessories!