Last week we discussed how sleep can alter hormones in our bodies and have real physical consequences. As we explained previously, these hormones altered by lack of sleep can be regulated back to normal levels shortly after proper sleep is reintroduced.
To review sleeps effects on hormones you can check out the previous post on sleep below.
This week we will discuss some of the conservative methods to get the best night sleep you have had in a long time.
The first and easiest way towards better sleep is to check your pillow. Everybody has a different preference to pillows, and it’s not our goal to say one pillow is better than another. Dr. Karpinsky personally uses a memory foam pillow and has for years, while others swear that an ergonomic neck pillow works best for them. The most important thing is to try different pillows and find the one that is most comfortable for you. Some things to be aware of:
• If you use memory foam pillows and the foam begins to clump, this is an early sign that you need a new pillow.
• If you use a feather pillow and you have to repeatedly “re-fluff” it to get neck support, it is time to replace the pillow.
• If you need to place your arm under your pillow, your body is subconsciously telling you that you need more support and likely a new pillow.
Many of us use caffeine throughout the day, but studies have shown that the half-life of caffeine varies from person to person meaning we all process caffeine slightly differently. This half-life range has been found to be from 4.8 – 11.4 hours meaning that even if you consumed caffeine early in the morning you may have caffeine present in your blood at bedtime. A rule of thumb when having difficulty sleeping is to avoid caffeine all together.
Two supplements that have been shown to be helpful with sleep are Melatonin and Valerian Root (Valeriana officinalis). Melatonin is a hormone that our bodies normally secrete for regulating the sleep-wake cycle. These levels are normally low during the day and increase significantly at night. These levels typically decrease as we age, and could be part of the reason why we don’t sleep as well as we age. Simply taking a dose of 2-5mg at night of melatonin may help you fall asleep easier and actually keep you asleep throughout the night.
Valerian, which is the root of Valeriana officinalis, has been shown to contain two substances that have sedative effects. Typically, valerian is taken 30-60 minutes before bedtime and dosages vary. This is another great natural remedy to try if falling asleep is difficult for you.
If you are not getting the sleep you think you should be please visit or call us at 843-654-9330. We would be glad to discuss more options to improve your sleep and get you feeling great!