Volume 1 Issue 5

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The Importance of Quality Sleep By Dr. DelRae Messer, D.C. This editorial topic couldn't have come at a better time! Having a newborn is hard work! Right now, there's no one more qualified to talk about how lack of sleep can affect our health. When my newborn finally slept 5 hours straight one night, I woke up feeling ready to run a marathon. Studies have proven lack of sleep not only affects our energy, but also our immune system, mood, and even our weight. With so many of us stressed to the max, it's hard to "shut off" our brains when we finally lay down for a good night's sleep. Most clients that come to me with sleeping problems either have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep (wake around 3 or 4am and can't fall back asleep). Determining the cause of why you aren't getting adequate sleep is key. Looking only at physiological reasons can be a mistake. More often than not, it is someone's environment that is the culprit. We live in a world where we are surrounded by chemicals and toxins that affect our health and environment. Fresh air, clean food and water, toxinfree cleaning products and personal care products, as well as sunlight are all essential to health and wellbeing. Environmental toxins can affect our health and our sleep. Most people have experienced how working or sleeping in a room contaminated by smoke, or with poor ventilation affects the body. Poor concentration, lethargy and difficulty in sleeping may all be the result of toxins in the air. The reason why I am so passionate about detoxification and reducing our chemical exposure is because I became very sick after living in black mold. I know first hand how toxicity can affect your health and sleep. Improve Your Sleep Although we may have little control over the outside environment, it is possible to make changes in diet and lifestyle to improve your mood, energy, the immune system and help you reach your ideal weight. One of the first questions I ask my clients when they have irresistible food cravings, trouble with feeling full, or weight gain, is are you getting enough sleep?! By adopting a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and taking supplements, if necessary, the body is better able to cope with chemical hazards. Improving the Sleeping Environment The bedroom is a good place to start on a sleep detox. Simple ways to improve the sleeping environment include opening windows to create better air circulation and using natural fabrics such as cotton and silk. Avoid synthetic materials and remove electrical equipment from the bedroom. This means no cell phones, computers, or tablets by the bed!! Or more importantly, by your head! Although not conclusive, more studies are showing the harmful effects of cell phone and computer use and our health. Light Pollution The body is designed to sleep during the hours of darkness. Artificial lighting from street lights to computer screens is part of the environment separating us from natural daylight and the darkness of the night. Unfortunately, it is not possible to turn out all the lights but we can create an environment that will help the body connect to its natural rhythms. Be aware of light pollution in the bedroom – keep lighting to a minimum as you relax and use curtains and blinds to keep the room dark while you sleep. Noise Pollution Noise is also part of modern life. Many people are so used to being in contact with sound that they find it difficult to cope with silence. Sound, especially loud sudden noise, disrupts sleep. Background noise is part of the environment but should be eliminated from the bedroom. Remove electrical equipment and other intrusive sources of sound and try to create a quiet space that encourages relaxation and sleep. Helping the Body Detox Eliminating alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, artificial sweeteners and sugar is essential. All affect health and sleep. Also be aware of additives in food and try to drink plenty of water. Drinking water will keep you hydrated and help eliminate toxins. Wash fruit and vegetables with a fruit and veggie wash before eating and keep an eye open for additives by reading the labels on the food you buy. Page 6 | Abby's Magazine -

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