Sleep can often be a barometer of your overall health. In many cases, people in good health tend to sleep well, whereas those suffering from repeated sleeping problems might have an underlying medical or mental health problem that can include improper functioning of the adrenal glands. Sleeping well is essential to your physical health and emotional well-being. Ignoring sleep problems and disorders can lead to poor health, accidents, impaired job performance, and relationship stress. Unfortunately, even minimal sleep loss can take a toll on your mood, energy, efficiency, and ability to handle stress. If you want to feel your best, stay healthy, and perform up to your potential, sleep is a necessity, not a luxury.
Practicing good bedtime habits can be helpful in improving your night’s sleep. It’s important to keep regular wake and sleep habits. Consider these factors:
- Avoid napping during the day
- Avoid stimulants, including caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, too close to bedtime
- Try to exercise
- Don’t eat before bedtime
- Get enough natural light during the day
- Develop a relaxing routine before bedtime
- Make sure your sleep environment is welcoming
- Associate your bed with sleep
We all have an internal biological clock that regulates our 24-hour sleep-wake cycle, also known as our circadian rhythms. Light is the primary cue that influences circadian rhythms. When the sun comes up in the morning, the brain tells the body that it’s time to wake up. At night, when there is less light, your brain triggers the release of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy.
When your circadian rhythms are disrupted or thrown off, you may feel groggy, disoriented, and sleepy at inconvenient times. Circadian rhythms have been linked to a variety or sleeping problems and sleep disorders, including insomnia, jet lag, and shift work sleep difficulties. Abnormal circadian rhythms have also been implicated in depression, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder (the winter blues).
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