Why Can’t I Sleep?

Everybody is tired. All the time. It seems to be a side effect of being an adult. The good news is there are things you can do to battle the sleepies.

So let’s talk about some common sleep issues, and what you can do to combat them.

The Problem: Can’t Fall Asleep

We’ve all had those nights – tossing and turning, checking the clock every hour to find that only 5 minutes have passed. Then, just as you start to doze off, the alarm blares. So what can you do?

Possible Cause: Too Much Caffeine

Solution: No Coffee After Noon

I know it seems extreme, but caffeine is metabolized by your liver. Caffeine will stay in your system longer if your liver isn’t as shiny and new as it used to be. Cutting out caffeinated beverages and foods (coffee, tea, soda, chocolate) earlier in the day may help you to wind down more easily.

Can’t part with your afternoon caffeine boost? Try switching to decaf (which still has some caffeine), or try a ginseng tea to get a similar boost without the lingering effects. (We like Pukka Rooibos and Honeybush)

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Possible Cause: Sleep Cycle is Out of Whack

There are a lot of factors that contribute to sleep rhythms, so we’ll go through them all here.

Solutions: 

  • Make sure your room is completely dark – no electronics glowing, blackout curtains on the windows, etc.
  • Shut down screens 2 hours before bedtime – your brain registers these lights as sunlight, and thinks it’s time to wake up
  • Add some melatonin – melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep cycles. You can take it via supplement, or eat melatonin-rich foods like pineapple, bananas, oats, tart cherry juice, etc.

Possible Cause: Can’t Calm Down

Whether mentally or physically, sometimes it’s difficult to calm down enough to fall asleep.

Solutions: Avoid any strenuous mental or physical activity to close to bedtime. Sip on some magnesium. Drink a calming tea. Go for a walk earlier in the day to get out your excess energy. Lull yourself to sleep as you would a small child: limit noise, visual stimulation, and only engage in calming activities. You can even spritz your pillow with a little diluted lavender essential oil to promote calming.

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The Problem: Waking Up In The Night

Once you’ve managed to drift off to dreamland, there is nothing more frustrating than finding yourself wide awake after only a few hours’ sleep. Whether you fall back to sleep right away, or toss and turn for the rest of the night, the disturbance is keeping you from getting the sleep you need.

Possible Cause: Nature Calls

Your calming bedtime tea has come back to haunt you, as you stumble through the dark to the bathroom. Even if you can make it in the pitch dark, getting up to pee in the night can be a sleep deal-breaker.

Solution: Limit Liquids

If you’ve come to rely on a bedtime tea, consider a switch to an herbal tincture. Many of the same herbs are available in tincture form. Otherwise, try and cut off the water, juice, and vino two hours before bedtime to allow for a restful sleep

Gentlemen: if your prostate is making nature call too frequently, look into our Saw Palmetto tincture to help minimize that effect.

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Possible Cause: Low Blood Sugar

Eight hours can be a long time to go without food. For those with hypoglycemic tendencies, a midnight wakeup may be a sign that your body needs a boost.

Solution: Bedtime Snack 

Having a small protein-rich snack before bed (toast with almond butter, a small protein smoothie) can help keep your blood sugar steady throughout the night, letting you get a good night’s sleep.

Possible Cause: Excessive Stress

One of the most common causes of a 3-4am wakeup (apart from a crying baby) is burnout. When your adrenal glands (the glands responsible for your stress response) are overworked, your stress response gets askew, triggering sleep disturbances, digestive issues, anxiety, etc.

Solutions: Adaptogenic Herbs and Other Stress-Busters

Adaptogenic herbs have special stress-busting properties: if you’re buzzing a little too high, they calm you down. If your energy gets low, they pick it up again. These include (but are not limited to): ginseng, ashwagandha, rhodiola, and maca. They can be taken as single herbal remedies, in teas, or as a blend in Orange Natural’s Stress Tincture.

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Vitamin B5 and Vitamin C are also important for balancing stress levels, so make sure you’re getting enough raw fruits and veg for the C, and mushrooms, avocados, eggs, sunflower seeds, and certain meats for the B5.

Also consider adding meditation, yoga, and other stress-relieving practices to your life.

Losing sleep is never fun, but hopefully these tips can give you food for thought on ways to make the most of the few hours you’ve got allotted for sleep. Good luck, and sweet dreams!

As always, consult your healthcare practitioner before making any changes to your supplement schedule. If sleep issues persist, consult your primary healthcare provider.  


About The Author: 
Kelly Boaz, CNP
Kelly is a holistic nutritionist, specializing in eating disorder recovery and food freedom. She is also a public speaker (TEDx King St. West, TDSB) and a writer. Learn more about Kelly, and about booking private consultations at kellyboaz.com Twitter: @kelly_boaz    Facebook: /KellyBoazDotCom

 

 

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