The Wellness Duo is back this month to talk about one of the most important aspects of living a healthy life: sleep. Almost everything you do, or consume, during a day, can have an impact on the length and quality of sleep you get every night.
Here are a few important tips on what to do, and what to avoid, to promote getting the best sleep you can and avoid the awful slippery slope of insomnia:
What you consume in the hours before bed can make or break your sleep for that night. Foods that include tryptophan, magnesium, Vitamin B and fibre are all generally excellent choices to consume at in the evening.
Foods rich in tryptophan include nuts and seeds, specifically walnuts and almonds. Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps make melatonin, the sleepy-time hormone. Melatonin is secreted into a pea-sized gland found in the middle of your brain called the pineal gland, which has the main purpose of regulating and controlling sleep/wake cycles.
Almonds and walnuts also contain high levels of magnesium, a nutrient that helps regulate many of our essential functions. Bodies that are low in magnesium may have a difficult time staying asleep, waking up multiple times during the night. A handful of nuts and seeds before bed can act as a reducer of stress and stabilizer of mood, leading to a more restorative sleep quality.
Fibre-rich foods, including chia seeds, quinoa, artichokes, beans, strawberries, mangos, dark leafy vegetables, apples, carrots, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, lentils, and oats help the body maintain blood sugar and prevents melatonin levels from decreasing. They also are high in antioxidants and contain many vitamins.
Choosing the right herbs can also help you promote sleep. Valerian is a natural sedative also addressing pain and nervousness. Chamomile has been a long-used remedy, effective in helping manage anxiety and stress as well as bringing antioxidant properties. If you have a racing mind, passionfruit also helps calm anxiety and soothe nerves, bringing on a restful sleep. Hops are also a natural sedative that helps increase sleep duration while decreasing body temperature, with a high body temperature contributing to a restless night. Be careful with hops they should not be taken alongside other sedative medications as they can cause increased sleepiness and drowsiness.
Earth Kisses Sky has created Cup of Love, a herbal tea created for sleep, with added wellness benefits. The tea can also be infused with cannabis strains that promote restfulness. The product can be found at www.earthkissessky.com/store
It goes without saying that people should avoid caffeine before sleep, because caffeine contains chemicals that block you from being able to sleep, changing the quality of your sleep. Fruit juices and pop contains high levels of fructose (sugar) that keep our bodies awake as it tries to break it down.
Proteins that contain tyrosine, an amino acid that stimulates brain activity should also be avoided. Tyrosine is also found in fermented cheeses, pepperoni, soy products, yogurt, red wine, and beer. Finally, alcohol may help you fell asleep, but it will prevent you from experiencing a deep and restorative sleep, waking you up many times during the night as it’s metabolized.
At the very basic level, people will generally want to stay away from sativa strains of cannabis, as these strains are known to promote alertness and energy. Instead, opt for an indica or indica-dominant strain, as this strain family is known to produce more sedative effects.
To go a level deeper, terpenes are the building blocks of the cannabis plant, that give cannabis strains their flavor and aroma, but also carries important medicinal and therapeutic properties. Terpinolene produces sedative effects while also carrying antioxidant properties. Myrcene produces tranquilizing effects and is great for winding down at night while acting as an anti-inflammatory. Caryophyllene is also a terpene that reduces stress and promotes restfulness while boasting pain relieving properties.
When accessing cannabis, look at the terpene profile of your strain and look for those that are rich in terpinolene, myrcene, and caryophyllene.
More and more, we’re seeing high-THC strains show up in the recommended strains for promoting sleep and relieving insomnia. Licenced Producers have indica strains as high as 28% THC, usually combined with CBD or cannabidiol for its effectiveness in bringing about restfulness.
We recommend looking at your Licensed Producers or at your legal cannabis stores to find high-THC indica strains and experimenting with dosing to get the right balance to promote that feeling of relaxation and subsequent sleepiness. Many brands will actually promote certain “night time” strains, in response to what their users are finding helpful for sleep.
Acupuncture is an excellent treatment if you have difficulty with sleep because it lessens anxiety, stimulates melatonin production, induces sleep onset, and reduces sleep disruption and arousal during the night. In some cases, acupuncture is used for pain relief, which is often a cause for people having difficulty getting to sleep. Sometimes it’s about using a combination of therapies to find the underlying problems associated with sleep problems.
Along with being mindful of what you eat, using herbs, and finding cannabis strains that promote sleep, there are a number of things you can do to improve your sleep.
First, listen to your Circadian Rhythm, our natural sleep/wake cycle that’s in line with the sun – it’s a powerful internal clock. Don’t push your bedtime too late, and if you can wake up with the sun, you will likely notice a lesser feeling of tiredness during the day.
Second, limit your exposure to electronics at night. Many bring their mobile phones into bed with them; cut the cord and leave your electronics outside the bedroom.
Third, be strict with yourself with bedtimes. If you’re finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning, that should be an indicator that you’re simply not getting enough sleep. Pushing your bedtime even just an hour earlier, and sticking to a consistent time, can make all the difference in training your body in an effective sleep/wake cycle.
The team at Earth Kisses Sky combines holistic medicine, nutrition, and medicinal cannabis to provide relief from pain and help regulate the body through its endocannabinoid systems. Through their work, they contribute to the health and well-being of the whole person through their integrated clinical practice that includes acupuncture, massage, holistic nutrition, holistic medicine. Their array of infused medical cannabis products is designed to reduce pain and inflammation and promote healing. Earth Kisses Sky offers medical cannabis salve for Pain & Inflammation and Healing & Beauty.