Lately, I have been having trouble sleeping.
Whether it’s the weather, stress, too much caffeine and not enough water, or a combination of poor lifestyle choices, I have been having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and sleeping soundly.
I’m not waking up refreshed, ready for my busy days homeschooling my kids, blogging, teaching about essential oils, and doing VA work.
If I’m not at my best, I make mistakes. I loathe making mistakes.
I need to sleep well.
My kids also need to sleep well.
I make sure they get enough rest. If we have a rare late night, I don’t get them up early in the morning. Homeschooling can wait.
We eat well – whole foods with very little processing. We drink lots of water. We take vitamins and supplements like cod liver oil.
I encourage my kids to get plenty of exercise and outdoors time.
We pray the bad dreams away. I monitor their screen time and reading materials. We talk about things that cause anxiety and we use oils to help! My kids have freedom to try oils and are learning their uses.
- time away
- permission to not be helpful
- something ‘“unproductive”
- connection to art and nature
- solitude to recharge
- a break from responsibility
- stillness to decompress
- safe space
- alone time at home
Sleep is a Super Important Part of Health!
Want some numbers? Sleep is so important and we’ll pay to get it. But wouldn’t it be better to get to the root of the problem rather than treating it as a symptom?
- It is estimated that Americans spend $14 billion dollars, every year, on sleep disorders!
- 30% of adults experience symptoms of insomnia a few nights or more per week
- Approximately 40 million people in the US have a chronic sleep disorder
- 35% of adults report at least one symptom of insomnia every night or almost every night
- It is estimated that sleep orders cost employers $18 billion (wow!) in lost productivity
Nearly a third of Americans are getting inadequate sleep — including police offices, healthcare workers and truck drivers — and it is getting worse with every passing year, says a new study from Ball State University.
“Short Sleep Duration in Working American Adults,” an analysis of more than 150,000 working adults from 2010 to 2018, found that prevalence of inadequate sleep — 7 hours or less — increased from 30.9% of respondents in 2010 to 35.6% in 2018. The study was posted Monday by the Journal of Community Health.
The study also found that the people who report getting the fewest hours of shut-eye include native born Americans, who are female, have children at home, work for the government, and live in the South.
“Inadequate sleep is associated with mild to severe physical and mental health problems, injury, loss of productivity, and premature mortality,” said Jagdish Khubchandani, lead author and a health science professor at Ball State. “This is a significant finding because the U.S. is currently witnessing high rates of chronic diseases across all ages, and many of these diseases are related to sleep problems.”
The study found that in 2018, professions with the highest levels of poor sleep including those in the police and military (50%), health care support occupations (45%), transport and material moving (41%), and production occupations (41%).
“There is no definitive cause found for these trends in sleep duration in working American population,” Khubchandani said. “We see the workplace is changing as Americans work longer hours, and there is greater access and use of technology and electronic devices, which tend to keep people up at night. Add to this the progressive escalation in workplace stress in the United States, and the rising prevalence of multiple chronic conditions could be related to short sleep duration in working American adults.”
The study also found:
- For men, about 30.5% reported getting 7 or less hours of sleep in 2010 and by 2018 about 35.5% reporting inadequate sleep.
- Among women, those reported too little sleep grew from 31.2% in 2011 to 35.8% in 2018.
- By race and inadequate sleep prevalence, the trend from 2010-2018 was 29.2 to 34.1% for whites, 40.6 to 46.5% for African-Americans, 29.5 to 35.3% for Asians, and 35.2 to 45.2% for multiracial adults.
- From 2010 to 2018, the largest increases in sleep deprivation were reported by men, multiracial individuals, older adults, those living in the western U.S., and widowed, divorced, or separated people.
Some lifestyle changes to help with sleep:
Fresh air, sunshine, and exercise help us sleep better.
Get sunshine first thing in the morning to help set your circadian rhythm. It’s been so dreary, cold, and snowy the last couple months that we haven’t been outside much. We’ve been loving the meltdown of snow this week and the warm sunshine and we’re taking advantage!
I also love my happy lamp. I also feel better once I can start playing in the dirt and running barefoot in the yard again.
I limit my caffeine intake and never have any after mid-afternoon.
I try to eat dinner at a reasonable hour. We’ve limited our out-of-house experiences in the evenings so we try to eat a home-cooked, healthy dinner at home about 6-7 PM (We’ve been using eMeals and loving it!) and spend time together playing quietly afterward. Eating late disrupts sleep patterns.
We sometimes take a family walk outside after dinner if it’s not too dark.
I try to limit my screen time in the evenings. I need time to wind down before sleep. Even reading on my Kindle app isn’t the best, so I try to read a real book. There are these blue light blocking glasses, but I haven’t tried those yet.
Just like the kids need a bedtime routine, so should I. No late nights working or I don’t sleep enough or well and my days aren’t successful. A warm bath or shower, prayer and Bible time, story time with my babes helps my body to slow down and get ready for rest.
Slow breathing and gentle stretching exercises before bedtime helps sometimes too.
We limit and combat stress with slowing down and resting, and taking extra vitamins and antioxidants when it’s a rough season. I often drink chamomile tea before bed.
If our schedule is terribly disrupted, like during PCS or travel, we add a little melatonin until we are at rights again, no more than a few days.
I also recently started using magnesium spray a few nights each week. It helps sleep and bowels. It tingles!
Our kids and I love putting a dab of of essential oils blends before bedtime.
Insomnia is when you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night.
Restless Legs Syndrome, also called Willis-Ekbom disease, causes an uncomfortable sensation and an urge to move the legs while you try to fall asleep.
Narcolepsy is a condition characterized by extreme sleepiness during the day and falling asleep suddenly during the day.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when a blocked airway prevents the body from getting the oxygen it needs. Breathing can stop for several seconds numerous times during the night.
4 side effects of sleep apnea:
Depression is linked with OSA and works both ways. “That is, people who are depressed are more likely to develop OSA, and people with OSA are more likely to develop depression,” Dr. Lynn Lipskis says. “One study found that slightly less than half of people with OSA showed depressive symptoms. This is not so surprising, considering that restful sleep is so important for physical and mental health.”
As with depression, chronic pain may be a cause of, or may be caused by, OSA. A study found that over half the people with OSA had chronic widespread pain and that the risk was higher in women than in men.
Sleep is a critical time for the body to regulate hormones. “An important one to note is the growth hormone HGH, which is produced during Stage 3 sleep,” Lipskis says. “It helps with cell reproduction, cell regeneration, and metabolism. If Stage III sleep is cut short, or never reached, HGH can’t perform its job. So rather than repairing itself during sleep, the body continues to break down.”
This is the frequent need to urinate at night. “People with OSA are more likely to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom,” Dr. Edmund Lipskis says. “That’s because it affects the release of antidiuretic hormone (ADH), which prevents fluid from filling the bladder and prevents the need to urinate during the night. When ADH can’t do what it’s supposed to, the bladder fills and the urge to urinate appears. This is yet another way that OSA disturbs proper bodily functions and compounds disordered sleep.”
If you suffer from OSA or suspect you do, have a sleep study done, which includes a diagnosis by a medical physician.
Do you have trouble sleeping? What have you found helps?
- How to Sleep Well: The Science of Sleeping Smarter, Living Better and Being Productive by Neil Stanley
- The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep is Broken and How to Fix It by W. Chris Winter, M.D.
- Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife Crisis by Ada Calhoun
- Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker