Sleep is one of the most important aspects of healing and recovery, mentally and physically. The less sleep you get the higher your risk for high blood pressure. But sleep can be elusive and contributes to just about every health problem.
Sleep is the one behaviour that benefits health no matter who you are, but the quality of sleep varies greatly among individuals. Everything we struggle with has a root cause. If you are not sleeping well it is critical to understand why. Taking a sleeping pill will not benefit your health in the long-term.
People who sleep eight hours a night are much less likely to develop high blood pressure. Fortunately, there are simple ways to improve both the quality and quantity of sleep which will ultimately lower blood pressure.
Ways to increase the quality of your sleep
1. Watch every sunrise: This sets your circadian rhythm to get ready for bedtime after the sun goes down. A consistent bedtime is very important. Our ancestors went to bed at sundown and woke at sunrise. Today that can be difficult for many people, but at the least, shutting down electronics and artificial light at dusk will be beneficial to the body by allowing it to produce sufficient melatonin, the brain chemical that helps us fall asleep. Waking up with the sun reduces stress on the body and allows it to function according to its innate circadian rhythm. Keeping a routine sets the body up for a restorative sleep which can help to prevent high blood pressure.
2. Optimise melatonin: Melatonin is a hormone released from the pineal gland in the brain that regulates the sleep/wake cycle. Adequate levels are associated with lower blood pressure at night. A nutrient dense diet will help to raise your levels of melatonin, as will the following lifestyle adjustments.
3. Treat Sleep Apnea: a condition when breathing is briefly, but repeatedly, interrupted during sleep. The upper airway is blocked and stops airflow. Sleep apnea can cause hypertension and vice versa, both of which increase the risk for serious complications such as heart attack or stroke. There are a number of ways to reduce the chances of sleep apnea, such as:
4. Turn off the wifi: for better sleep and a balanced nervous system. Sleeping in a dark room includes getting rid of clocks with lights, night lights and any other buttons that glow. The phone needs to be in airplane mode if using it for an alarm, otherwise you are surrounding yourself with “dirty” electricity. Exposure to wifi affects heart rhythm and blood pressure. In the 1940’s and 1950’s radar operators suffered from heart palpitations, chest pain and anxiety. This is exactly what happens to us today from over exposure to EMF. We stay in fight or flight/stress mode.
Sleep can be a struggle for many people, however the payback from consistent restorative sleep is enormous. Not only will you lower your blood pressure, but you will also reap the rewards of better health overall. It is important to be consistent in order to see results. We cannot watch TV until 2am one morning, go to bed at 9pm that night and expect our body to respond positively. Try the above tips for 30 days and see how it goes.