How to improve your sleep quality
Hormones and mood disorders, paired with stress from work and caregiving, make women much more vulnerable to insomnia. A woman’s lifestyle affects her sleep schedule the most, with hormonal and mental health following closely behind. While sleep medications may be helpful, they aren’t recommended for long-term use, as they can be addictive and cause severe side-effects and health risks. Due to this, developing healthy habits will help ensure a better night’s sleep and will be a safer option for your health in the long-run.
Valley Sleep Center president and clinical sleep expert, Lauri Leadley, suggests adhering to a strict sleep schedule to maintain the timing of the body’s circadian rhythm, or internal clock. In time, it will become easier to fall asleep and wake up and you will notice the improvement in your sleep patterns. Creating a safe sleep environment is also important. What does that look like? Cool, quiet and dark. A ceiling or oscillating fan will keep you cool, and black out curtains will keep it dark. Put your cell phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ to avoid waking up to notifications in the middle of the night. Try to meditate; imagine yourself doing something you love to do in a place you enjoy, see, hear and feel the surroundings of this place. Focus on your breath, the rise and fall of your chest is similar to ocean waves. Meditation and Imagery will help you drift off to sleep and stay asleep longer. If you don’t see improvement within a couple weeks, your insomnia could be caused by an underlying issue such as restless leg syndrome or breathing issues, and you should contact your doctor immediately.
“If physical or mental health issues are causing sleep disruptions, do not ignore them,” says Jami Hagler, PA-C, FastMed’s Vice President of Western Region Medical Operations. “Consider addressing it with a medical professional to get your sleep routine on track and address the underlying causes of sleep disruptions.” Hagler notes that following a healthy diet that includes daily exercise along with avoiding nicotine and excess intake of alcohol and caffeine can also significantly improve one’s sleep wellness. Healthy habits don’t just come in the physical form but mental as well. Relaxing by practicing meditation and avoiding things that can cause stress before bed, such as checking social media or work emails, can also impact your sleep schedule. If you are unable to fall asleep within 20 minutes, get out of bed and engage in a relaxing activity that does not involve bright light, such as meditation.
On top of meditation, acupuncture is another practice commonly used to promote a deeper sleep and improve overall sleep quality by helping quiet the mind, increasing relaxation and decreasing stress. “Traditional acupuncture utilizes tiny needles to access distinct points on the body,” Dr. Tiffany Avery, of Modern Acupuncture explains. “This helps to restore balance, alleviate pain and improve your overall well-being, which in turn enhances sleep.” Most people notice better sleep after one session, regardless of what the treatment was for. In fact, it is also used for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea, vomiting, pain, cancer-related fatigue, hot flashes and neuropathy. Looking better, feeling better or getting a great night’s sleep – no matter what your goal for acupuncture treatment – following a treatment plan provided by a licensed acupuncturist will help you achieve optimal results.
Humans are notorious for dehydration, creating a cascade of negative side effects as the body attempts to preserve the fluids that are available. IV hydration holds a multitude of benefits for women, as each IV is filled with vitamins such as Magnesium, Zinc, and B complex, which all play a role in sleep function. When an IV is used to infuse these vitamins, the body absorbs a higher percentage and benefits from their effects. “By receiving fluids in an IV, the body escapes the fight or flight sensations of the sympathetic nervous system and can settle into a place of calm and peace complimentary to a good night sleep,“ says Danielle Withycombe, owner of Hydrate IV Bar Arcadia. ”We are committed to promoting the health and wellness of individuals by healing from the inside out. By addressing hydration and vitamins levels, your sleep and overall state of wellbeing will improve.”
There are so many ways to improve sleep quality, and just like insomnia, those steps to getting a better night’s rest are dependent on lifestyle. Sometimes something as simple as turning on a fan and blacking out the windows can add a couple hours to your sleep. If getting poked by needles doesn’t sound appealing, maybe a relaxing massage will help instead. Regardless, a solid sleep will help boost your mind and mood and can help prevent health problems.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
• Lauri Leadley – Valley Sleep Center’s President; Clinical Sleep Educator
• Jami Hagler, PA-C – FastMed’s Vice President of Western Region Medical Operations
• Dr. Tiffany Avery – Modern Acupuncture’s Clinic Director; Licensed Acupuncturist
• Danielle Withycombe – Hydrate IV Bar Arcadia Co-Owner