The Symptom of Sleep

is important. It is a key foundation to a healthy and happy life. When you get good sleep it makes things better, life flows better, you crave less caffeine and sugar and things seem easier.

When you don’t get enough of it. When you are struggling to sleep or even sleeping too much. When you wake up and feel exhausted, irritable and angry. This is when your body is screaming to you that something bigger is going on.

Your sleep patterns including the quality and quantity of sleep that you get are a key indicator of physical, mental, emotional, relational and spiritual wellness. If you are constantly fatigued, waking up struggling with no energy and feel like you are literally dragging yourself through each day it might be time to start looking at your sleep in the context of a bigger picture.

Often sleep problems are closely related to other issues. These include but are not limited to hormonal irregularities, digestive disorders, food and nutrition problems, addiction, biochemistry, weight, inflammation, mental health, depression, anxiety and amino acids!

Lack of sleep or lack of quality sleep (where you wake to feel refreshed, mentally clear and motivated to get out of bed) will coincide with poor sex drive, irritability and behaviour challenges. It tells us as a first indicator that there is something else going on in our bodies/lives/psyche and we need to widen the lens and look further afield.

However, “feeling tired” is a 21st century norm – a result with our obsession with “being busy” -and this normalisation can mean that many people deal with tiredness and fatigue by getting a bigger coffee, without realising that excess caffeine will actually worsen the situation or that their body is trying to tell them something. Their body is trying to give them a head’s up.

If you suffer ongoing sleeplessness, struggle with to stay asleep or are finding it hard to actually get up and out of bed (which can be a sign of depression), it is important that you take some action and ask yourself some questions.

If your sleep disturbance is a new experience and hasn’t been happening for that long you might want to try some easy tips to see if it improves the situation:

  1. Reduce your caffeine and refined sugars, if possible cut them out completely
  2. Look at your sleep hygiene – is your bedroom dark and cool, do you have your devices out of the room, WIFI switched off and blue blockers in place?
  3. Introduce a sleep routine – try herbal tea at night, meditation 30 minutes before bed or even look at melatonin as a nightly supplement

However, if it is an ongoing issue and you can’t remember the last time you woke feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world it might be worthwhile to take a deeper look.

To start with you must determine if it is a physical or mental problem although they are generally interconnected. Looking at your stress, beliefs, values, mental wellness and alignment in these areas is a great first step. From here you may like to talk to a professional who can help you look at where and how your mental wellness may be impacting these things.

You can also start with pathology looking at your overall health and testing your gut health, hormones, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and the like. What is most common in people with ongoing sleep challenges is that there is a number of physical and psychological factors contributing to the problem.

The key is to test and not guess. Testing provides you with the facts you need to make the right changes for you – in life and health.

At the end of the day, sleep is a key factor in whole life health. It is the time when the body repairs itself, the mind rests and you can replenish. Sleep is important and yes there are times in life when you won’t get much (hello new parents), however regardless of the situation prolonged chronic lack of sleep will cause considerable damage to a person.

Only you can know if your sleep is a problem or if it is indicating something bigger might be going on and it is your responsibility to move beyond the normalcy of “being tired all the time” and start to ask WHY? Your life, your health, your mind and probably your friends and family will thank you for it.