A few years ago my brain was almost on alert for 24 hours a day. I was wired during the day, and during my sleep I was thinking and sleeping at the same time. My adrenal glands were turned on most of the time.
I guess I managed about three hours of actual sleep each night. This went on for weeks. I never felt rested, I couldn’t think properly, couldn’t remember things very well, and ended up with adrenal fatigue, which lasted quite some time. When I woke up to the problem, I sought help and the help was surprising.
Sleep needs fuel
I learnt that sleep needs fuel. I was burning too much energy through stress I did not have enough energy to sleep properly.
To most of us sleep seems like a passive process and we don’t often think that it needs fuel, but it is a very active process. There are at least two very important things that sleep does:
- Sleep repairs cells and restores the body, ready to enable it to function the next day.
- Sleep enables the brain to process information, lay down memory, and enables learning.
Without proper sleep we become stressed, and have difficulty functioning properly at work and in our lives. Sleep is not an option, it is essential to normal bodily functioning.
The inability to sleep properly is often due to stress, an over active mind, and some bad habits like working late at night. Many people resort to sleeping tablets, Melatonin, and other supplements. I have done this and found that it made be seriously tired the next day. So when I discovered a nutritional way of dealing with the issue, I was very happy that it didn’t involve popping a pill.
So, how can you get your sleep back?
If you are deprived of sleep the first step is give your body the right fuel at the right times. This will restore energy for sleep and re-train your body to sleep normally again.
One beautifully simple and easy way to do this is through giving your body the right nutrition at certain times of the day, this will provide your body with the quota of energy it needs for sleep. Once the pattern of sleeping is well established you will feel so much better. However, if you don’t make a lifestyle change around the cause of your sleep problems, they will only reoccur.
My 10 tips for getting your sleep back the safe and easy way
The following tips are for people who are generally healthy but suffer from stress, overthinking, and habits which don’t support sleep. IT IS NOT recommended for people who have clinical health issues like sleep apnea, depression or any other serious health issues. Always consult your doctor if you have serious health issues.
Depending on how severe your loss of sleep is, do the following for three to five weeks. Remember this method is to help you rebuild enough energy to get your body back into the ‘black’ for the purpose of sleep.
- Eat three meals a day as normal
- If exercising before breakfast always have a small something to eat. Maybe half a piece of fruit or a protein ball. This is where the energy deficit can begin. In other words, your sleep budget starts with fueling the body from the start of the day. Early morning exercise, without some energy in the body puts your body into a catch up phase.
- In between meals have fruit juice without added sugar on hand to sip (approximately one glass per day). This provides your body with readily available energy frequently. You don’t need to do this for the rest of your life. This is for a specific amount of time – UNTILL your body is back sleeping properly
- Before bed have a small supper. This is a must. You could have a glass of warm milk with or without cocao, stewed fruit, a coconut ball, or a couple of fresh dates. NOTE: If you have sensitivity to lactose or gluten be sure to exclude them from what you are consuming.
- If you wake up in the night – get up and have a snack such as a date, a protein ball, glass of milk, or other small item, but not junk or processed food
- Wind down in the evening. No work on devices or over stimulation of your brain. Practice any of the following: meditation, deep breathing, listening to soothing music, or watching something that makes you laugh.
- Go to bed no later than 10pm and no reading after 10.30pm. Go to sleep, your body needs it.
- Do not keep active devices in your bedroom, especially near your head.
- Make sure your room is dark and that your bed is comfortable.
- To help with locating the source of your active mind you could keep a journal of your thoughts throughout the day for a couple of days. It takes effort to be aware of your thoughts, and you will be rewarded with clarity and understanding about what and how much you push your brain. Doing this will help you to understand what is driving your overactive mind.
My suggestion to you is to do this program for three to six weeks depending on how it goes. You need to commit to this program and do it properly as your body needs this energy. Once you have sleep back, keep the good habits up and delve into the cause of your sleep issues.
For you who is missing sleep, may your rest beautifully beyond this article.