Sleep: Not worth stressing about

Sleep is not just a state of rest, but includes several states which help us to restore physiological function, store memories, clear metabolites, and even tweak our model of the world and increase our understanding of the world.  Sleep also helps us keep our circadian rhythm which influences our metabolism.  Despite the obvious importance of sleep, I never tell people that sleep is critical to health.

Stress, anxiety or worrying about sleep increases the levels of your stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.  Cortisol has the job of getting you up and going in the mornings.  Adrenaline has the job of giving you a jolt of energy to get you away from that tiger in the wild.  It’s not rocket science that stress-induced increases in cortisol and adrenaline are no good for sleep.

Don’t Watch The Clock:

If you check the time when you wake up, then this can raise your stress levels.  Depending on your clock, you may also get a dose of blue light which reduces sleep too.  The retinal ganglion cells in the eye are not involved in vision, but detect the levels of ambient light, especially blue light, to influence the sleep – wake cycle.

A Helping Hand:

If your sleep gets out of balance for too long, you may need something to help you get back into your rhythm.  Sometimes a relaxing Epsom salts bath with a hint of lavender oil will be enough.  A cup of chamomile tea can also be helpful.  Setting up good practices from early evening until bedtime is essential. This is often termed “sleep hygiene”. We have a sleep hygiene information sheet to assist you (free of charge).

If you are over 55 years of age, we can prescribe you melatonin (your natural sleep hormone). There are also lots of great nutrients that can help calm your mind or even induce a feeling of sleepiness.  Please ask our Pharmacy Health Coaches for the best sleep support options for you.  And pick up a free Sleep Hygiene information sheet too. Massey Unichem Pharmacy. Martin Harris. 396 Don Buck Road, Massey Phone 09 833 7235.