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Four Major Causes of Stress - #2 Lack of Sleep

lack of sleep
Our bodies heal during sleep.  Getting 7 - 9 hrs per night is essential for good health.  If you have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, Dr Mark Hyman in "The Ultra-Mind Solution" has some good suggestions:
Establish a pattern for sleep and stick to it.  Try to get to bed every night before 10-11pm and use these tips for a more restful sleep:
Avoid substances that interefere with sleep - caffeine, sugar, and alcohol.
Avoid medications that interfere with sleep: sedatives, antihistamines, stimulants, cold meds.
Avoid stimulating activities for 2 hrs before bedtime:  TV, Internet use, answering emails, etc
Do: exercise daily for 30 min before dinnertime - a brisk walk is ideal.
Get regular exposure to daylight for at least 20 minutes, preferably first thing in the morning. Light from the sun enters our eyes and triggers our brain to release specific chemicals and hormones, like melatonin, that are vital to healthy sleep, mood, and aging.
Eat no later than 3 hrs before bed.  Eating a heavy meal late in the evening will lead to a bad night's sleep.
Do worries wake you up before the alarm does?  Write your worries down.  An hour before bed, write down the things that are causing you anxiety and make plans for what you might do the next day to reduce your worry.  It will free up your mind so you can move into deep and restful sleep. Next to your worries, write down 3 things that you are grateful for today.
Take a special kind of relaxing bath:  add 2 cups epsom salts and 1/2 cup baking soda plus 10 drops lavendar oil to a warm bath and listen to restful music for 20 minutes.  The magnesium in epsom salts gives your body deep relaxation and induces restful sleep. Baking soda is alkalizing and reduces acidity in the body, often a cause of stressful sleep. Lavender oil reduces cortisol (a stress hormone).
Take an extra 200 - 400 mg magnesium citrate or glycinate before bed.  Magnesium relaxes muscles and makes for less muscle tension and makes leg cramps a thing of the past.
Following Dr. Hyman's suggestions is bound to help you get a good night's sleep, but if you are still having trouble falling asleep, try 1 - 3 mg melatonin half hour before bed.
Sleep is the body's time to heal - don't stress your body and brain by not getting enough of it!
Warm hugs and a good night's sleep to all!