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Sleep: so crucial to our health

Sleep: so crucial to our health

Canteris-HartleyIf you were to make only one New Year’s resolution I would recommend committing to getting enough sleep. We live in a society that prides itself on being overworked, over-stimulated, overscheduled and fast paced. The consequence of this lifestyle climate can be sleep deprivation both for adults and children. Sleep is the body’s way of metabolizing excess stress hormones and one of the single most important ways of maintaining good health and happiness. When adults and children are deprived from adequate amounts of sleep it can effect memory and concentration, weaken the immune system, cause irritability, depression, anger or anxiety, ones ability to cope and enjoy relationships, potentially lead to chronic disease and our children’s ability to grow and develop in a healthy way.

To ensure proper sleep: reduce the amount of stimulation in food such as caffeine, alcohol and refined carbohydrates; create a bedroom conducive to sleep that is quiet, dark and free from electronic and wifi devices and phones; exercise regularly and get fresh air daily; incorporate down time throughout the day and week to keep your nervous system relaxed; do activities before bed that help you unwind such as meditation, yoga, going for a walk, take a bath; and unplug from your computer (or any screen) at least 1-2 hours before you want to be asleep. Recent research has shown that lighted screens are having an impact on our ability to fall asleep and sleep soundly throughout the night. For your children, create a rhythmic, slow paced bedtime ritual free of stimulation and screen time. And for both adults and children keep to a consistent bedtime that is earlier in the evening, so that sleep is occurring during the dark hours, getting the most out the daylight hours, especially during the Winter months.

If you or your child experience insomnia it could be a sign of an underlying condition, such as a hormonal imbalance, anxiety and depression, chronic pain and disease, or teething and colicky babies, an over active mind, physical restlessness and discomfort. There are different forms of insomnia such as; waking too early or frequently or an inability to fall asleep.

Homeopathy can one way of treating any kind of sleep disorder in adults and children. Homeopathic remedies stimulate the body’s own innate healing ability, are natural and free of side effects, so they are especially safe for young infants, the elderly and pregnant women. If you or your child have been experiencing sleeping difficulties for over three weeks, it is advisable to seek professional and medical help.

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