Cultivating Superior Sleep – Part 1

This weekend was the first Mid Atlantic Naturopathic CE conference, and I had the pleasure of both attending and curating the event. It was a success with funds raised to support ND associations in four states (VA, MD, DC, and PA). Both Virginia and Pennsylvania have currently active ND legislative efforts for ND licensure. 

This weekend we were flooded with a plethora of information on a wide variety of topics under the title ‘Clinical Pearls in Endocrinology, Immunology and Neurology’. I found myself reflecting on how much the field of natural medicine has grown and changed since I completed my studies back in 2002! 

NDs have access to highly sophisticated laboratory tests, revolutionary technology to track various biomarkers, and not to mention a plethora of advanced nutritional supplements. I watched the conference with a friend and fellow colleague Dr. Daemon Jones, and commented, Jeez, everything is going so high-tech nowadays, that I don’t feel like I’m really an ND anymore.” She said, ‘Marie, you ARE indeed an ND. You’re an old-school ND – closer to our roots.”   It was a great re-frame because it reflected my belief that simplifying and getting reconnected to nature is the solution to so many of our problems on a small or large scale.

One of my favorite lectures was on the importance of quality sleep by  Dr. Anderson Ross. Sleep is foundational, and when it’s off, even the most elegant therapies and advanced natural interventions will fall short.Sleep is also a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I dealt with chronic insomnia for many years (more on that to come), so I know firsthand how chronic sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on one’s quality of life. I’m now grateful to be sleeping well; however sleep has become my barometer, and when it’s off, it’s the first sign that my body gives me when I’m starting to get
out of balance.

Let’s Shift into Some Sleep Statistics:    
•  33% of the US population suffers from chronic insomnia
    •    28-44% sleep less than 7 hours per night
    •    48% report snoring
    •    38% unintentionally nod off during the day

Sleep has become such a problem, that the CDC recognizes insufficient sleep as a public health epidemic. We need good quality sleep for: immune resilience, optimal blood sugar regulation, hormonal balance, mood, and energy.

So, why has something so basic as sleep become so elusive? It has to do with our busy lives and being a little ‘too plugged in.” So why has something so basic as sleep become so elusive? 

Industrialization and the creation of the light bulb (which created a 24/7 workforce) began a shift towards the patterns we’re seeing today. In 1949, people slept an average of 7.9 hours, and today that average is 6.5. As a society, we are more plugged in than ever which challenges our human design to flow with a circadian rhythm like all mammals.  There is also a stigma that needs for sleep is a sign of weakness or laziness. I think we need to get over that one real fast!

I’ll dive more into this fascinating and extremely important topic further, but wanted to close with some suggestions to help you make your sleep more restful.

Set a routine sleep and wake time, and stick to it. Did you know that we make twice as much melatonin before midnight, so every hour of sleep before midnight is worth twice as much?!

Dim the lights at home to better mimic the light outside. Avoid overly stimulating activities – exercise, getting into heated political discussions (avoid watching the debates if you can manage!), and tackling new projects – anything that may wind you up.

Install a blue light filter on your computer. F.lux has an app that you can schedule to come on as the sun sets.

Unplug and unwind for an hour before bed. Watching TV doesn’t count! Consider lower body stretches, Epsom salt baths (neutral temp – too hot of a bath can be stimulating before bed). Enjoy chamomile or passionflower tea.

For those who wake after sleeping for 30-60 min, it could be a sign of adrenal weakness, so consider a small portion of food complex carbs with protein before bed to keep blood sugar stable. A few slices of apple with almond butter would be a good example.
 Full Moon Healing Journey
Thurs, Oct 1st @ 7:30pm EST
Tonight I’m leading one of my last three Full Moon Healing Meditations of the year, and it’s a full hour of pure relaxation. Some of the best healings I’ve ever had came from one thing and one thing only: energy work. Not green juice or fasting (though very nice compliments!) We are 90% energy, and when it flows properly – it’s a huge support to our physical and emotional health.I offer a guided full moon healing journey each month to help you clear negative energy, transform your belief in what’s possible, reclaim lost energy. I often incorporate the sound of a rattle, so we can enter a meditative alpha brain wave state. We set our intentions as a group and I guide us into sacred space. Some people go into a deep rest and others receive guidance through images or experience physical sensations associated with healing. 

All are welcome.
Zoom link below, and here is a link for donations.
Zoom Link: http://bit.ly/FullMoonOct2020Meeting ID: 437 353 1342Password: peacecalm
Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/3OsMSngb
To your health~
Marie

Naturopathic Doctor
Energy Healer
Artist
Future Herbalist