Two weeks ago, on "Wellness Wednesday," I moseyed on over to Norma Kamali's Wellness Café to get the skinny on sleep. Geraldine O'Keefe, herbologist, sleep expert and creator of the much touted "Escape to Sleep" tonic was Norma's featured "Wellness Wednesday" expert.
Sleep interests me. Having the proper amount of restful sleep is a critical component to our well-being. Lack of sleep can lead to anxiety, depression, addictive behaviors, weight gain and cardiovascular problems, and it can affect your ability to make split-second decisions. And on the other side of the coin, sleep heals.
A good number of my coaching clients have difficulty drifting off into a peaceful slumber and/or sleeping through the night. Sometimes there are obvious reasons for their lack of sleep. Perhaps they've overindulged in food and drink late in the day or night, or they are stressed to their last nerve and are ruminating on the events of the day. In other words, their basic lifestyle is not a healthy lifestyle. In fact, they've done a bang-up job of creating a "wired lifestyle."
Still, wired, overworked or not, we need to sleep. Requirements vary from person to person. According to national sleep studies, most healthy adults need at least eight hours of sleep to function best. Sleep studies indicate that in addition to the aforementioned "bad" things that can happen to sleep-deprived people, those who average less than five hours sleep per night are 73 percent more likely to be obese. Lack of sleep affects the balance of hormones (ghrelin and leptin) in the body that affect appetite.
I asked Geraldine O'Keefe to supply us with her best-ever sleep tips. She explained, "Sleep heals. As you sleep, your body miraculously sets out to repair from the stress of the day."
In a world that promotes over-the-counter and prescriptions drugs ad nauseam, I thought it might be refreshing to know that there are natural alternatives available.
Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway), if you are taking prescription medications or have any existing medical conditions, you should check with your physician before using any natural products.
And now for Geraldine's 14 tips to "escape to sleep":
- Create a regular sleep routine. You can set your body's natural sleep-wake cycle by creating a familiar bedtime routine. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day. Being consistent is important.