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A Holistic Nurses Guide to Sleep - Alternative Healing

Are you aware that most people are not getting even the minimum amount of sleep for their body to function? The required amount for most adults is 6-8 hours. Sleep deprivation is extremely common today and can weaken your immune system, accelerate tumor growth, accelerate diabetes, and impair all aspects of your cognition. When your circadian rhythms are disrupted, your body produces less melatonin and has a decreased ability to fight cancer and other diseases . Melatonin helps suppress free radicals that can lead to cancer. This is why tumors grow faster when you sleep poorly or do not sleep enough hours.

Impaired sleep can also increase stress-related disorders including:

  • Heart disease
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Constipation
  • Mood disorders including depression

Sleep deprivation prematurely ages you by interfering with your growth hormone production, normally released by your pituitary gland during deep sleep. Growth hormone also helps you look and feel younger.One study has even shown that people with chronic insomnia have a three times greater risk of dying from any cause.

Lost sleep is lost forever, and persistent lack of sleep has a cumulative effect when it comes to disrupting your health.

Below are some natural solutions to this problem that  affects so  many.


  • Sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible. Even the tiniest bit of light in the room can disrupt your internal clock and your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin. Even the tiniest glow from your clock radio could be interfering with your sleep.


  • Keep the temperature in your bedroom no higher than 70 degrees F.

Many people keep their homes and particularly their bedrooms too warm. Studies show that the optimal room temperature for sleep is between 60 to 68 degrees. Keeping your room cooler or hotter can lead to restless sleep. This will also help decrease your risk of cancer.


  • Reserve your bed for sleeping.

If you are used to watching TV or doing work in bed, you may find it harder to relax and drift off to sleep. Avoid doing these activities in bed.


  • Get to bed as early as possible.

Your body (particularly your adrenal system) does a majority of its recharging between the hours of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. In addition, your gallbladder dumps toxins during this same period. If you are awake, the toxins back up into your liver which may lead to a disruption in  your health.


  • Avoid before-bed snacks, particularly grains and sugars.

These will raise your blood sugar and delay sleep. Later, when blood sugar drops too low (hypoglycemia), you may wake up and be unable to fall back asleep.


  • Take a hot bath, shower or sauna before bed.

When your body temperature is raised in the late evening, it will fall at bedtime, facilitating slumber. The temperature drop from getting out of the bath signals your body it’s time for bed.


  • Listen to relaxation CDs.

Some people find the sound of white noise or nature sounds, such as the ocean or forest, to be soothing for sleep.


  • Reduce or avoid as many drugs as possible.

Many drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, may adversely affect sleep.

Use essential Oils that promote Relaxation and Sleep.

    Essential oils such as lavender, sandalwood and bergamot can help you fall asleep and also stay asleep. Just make sure you are using a therapeutic grade essential oil. You may decide to use a diffuser or massage a blend of these oils mixed with a carrier on the bottom of your feet before bed.

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