Sleep is absolutely vital for healing.

While sleeping, the body goes through rest and repair cycles crucial for healing when sick. 

While you sleep, cerebrospinal fluid and the brain’s lymphatic channels drain and washes toxins out of your brain. The immune system regenerates and is able to tag and remove infections better. 

Your blood pressure lowers as you sleep which gives your cardiovascular system some needed rest. The liver goes through cycles of detoxification and regeneration during sleep helping with optimal function.  

There are a number of things you can do to make sure you get adequate and restful sleep. 

  • Stop using screens at least an hour before bed. The blue light emitted from the screens of laptops, smartphones, and televisions is known to negatively affect melatonin production. Melatonin is the hormone responsible for sleep regulation. By eliminating exposure to blue light, you give your brain a better chance of producing adequate melatonin for sleep. 
  • Using the idea of Pavlovian conditioning (or classical conditioning), set up a nighttime ritual, preferably one that uses a lot of your senses. 
        • For example, before you get in bed every night, turn off the TV and your phone.
        • Then run a bath using a specific essential oil (lavender is a good option; it is relaxing and has a very calming scent). 
        • After taking the bath, do a light lymph drainage massage around your head and neck. 
        • Have a few bites of a protein-rich snack to help regulate your blood sugar throughout the night. 
        • Next, get into bed, take a few deep breaths, and (hopefully) fall asleep. 
        • This ritual is full of specific smells and tastes. The more often you complete this same set of steps, in the same order, the more you are conditioning your brain to expect sleep to come after this ritual.
  • Make your bedroom as dark as possible, either with blackout curtains or a sleep mask. 
  • Try a melatonin supplement like the one I created for Return Healthy.
  • If making a major shift to your routine seems overwhelming, start with just one of these steps and add on as you are able. 
  • Aim to get at least 8-10 hours of sleep. The body does the most healing while it’s asleep.