I've seen many clients who struggle getting a good night's sleep, and in fact it seems to be acceptable and common to not get enough of it. But sleep is such an important part of our health. In fact, it's one of three keys to amazing health. A lack of sleep disrupts our endocrine and nervous systems (leading to difficulty managing weight, moodiness, brain fog and aggravated thyroid dysfunction amongst other undesirable feelings). Without plenty of good quality shut-eye, our immune system weakens because we are simply not giving our body time to get its shit together. Sleep is THE time for all the regenerative, restorative processes happen in our body and if we're not getting deep enough sleep, those things simply won't happen. So, why aren't we sleeping deeply?
Most commonly, besides being on our phones, iPads or watching TV before bed, the thing that stops us from catching good zeds is our inability to switch off. Generally, we experience more stress in our daily lives than ever before, and it's difficult to reduce some of that underlying stress. We lay in bed thinking about how our day was, what we need to do tomorrow, ideas we have for our work/hobbies/families, we stew over things that haven't gone our way, think about what we need to buy to make dinner...the list goes on and suddenly our brains are concentrating on everything BUT falling asleep.
My number one tip for people with active brains is to BRAIN DUMP.
Brain dumping is when you keep a journal, notepad, scrap piece of paper or anything else you can write on (ie, not an electronic device) next to your bed. Every night, you jot down anything and everything that is taking up thinking space in your brain. This might be a stream of consciousness, or lists, or a doodle of how you're feeling. It might be writing down some things you're grateful for, or your intentions for the following day or a combination of any of the above. Whatever works for you! The point is to get everything down on paper so your brain can relax in the knowledge that it doesn't need to hold on to anything; everything will be there in the morning and you can pick up your thinking where you left off without the stress of forgetting anything.
The pen and paper element is important. If you can make brain dumping part of your evening routine (and it doesn't need to take long - even a couple of minutes!), it becomes a cue to your body that you're just about ready to sleep. It's also a heck of a lot more satisfying to write things down as opposed to keying stuff into your phone. Plus, you can also start to replace your phone-in-bed habit with brain dumping which will inevitably lead to better quality sleep (due to less stimulation & red-based light disrupting your serotonin-melatonin pathway) and more room for "activities" ;)
Check out my free brain dumping template below. It includes an explanation, instructions and a template you can print or copy the format of, all in one handy free PDF download. Just click below!
If you're feeling super fatigued and struggling with sleep, hormones, poor immunity, mood disorders or feeling overwhelmed, book an appointment with me below.
Gemma is Australia's "Real Talk" Nutritionist helping Australians achieve healthier, sustainable modern lifestyles while cutting through the BS we are surrounded by on a daily basis. She has a Bachelor of Health Science (Nutritional Medicine) and a Bachelor of Arts (Communications), so she's more than capable when it comes to health and explaining the geek-speak in your terms. Gemma has naturopathic training, which means she takes into account all of the puzzle pieces that make up our health – our history, diet, lifestyle, emotional health, physical health, vitality. Gemma practises the “non-diet” diet approach, where focus is on whole food nutrition and happy and healthy relationships with food.