Sleep has to be the biggest complaint I hear in Police Officers. When I polled my 911 Stress Management Group most of you started sleep issues 1-3 years into the job.
It’s so hard for your body to know when to sleep and when to stay awake on a shift schedule. It often feels like sleep is totally out of your control. I get it. There are so many factors that can disrupt your sleep.
How can you control them all?
The answer is that you can’t. BUT there are many you can. The more stress that you can control, the more reserves you have left to manage the stresses you can’t. Which in your job add up quickly. So let’s start there.
Through reading my blogs you now know how large a role environmental toxins and hormone disruptors play in adding to your bodies stress load. And how simple it is to start decreasing this load. If you missed the blogs you can read them here. One Of The Easiest And Most Effective Stress Reducing Techniques and Is Your Bathroom Stressing You Out?
Today we are going to build on this by talking about your bedroom and how to create the best sleep environment from a toxic perspective.
When reading this don’t think you have to make all of these changes at once. Try to focus on one thing at a time and when it is done, then move to the next. Go at your own pace. Every little change helps. It’s been years since I started greening my home and I’m still working on it.
You are in your room for a big chunk of time. Often with the door closed, which means you are breathing the same air in an enclosed area over and over again. Allergens, hormone disruptors and other toxins as well as germs attach to dust particles and float in the air.
Adding a HEPA filter in your bedroom cleans the air that is recycling taking stress off of your body as you sleep. An added bonus is that it decreases the amount of dust that accumulates in your bedroom over time and for people like me who don’t like dusting this is great news.
Air fresheners are often filled with synthetic fragrances which also contain hormone disruptors. Switching them out for diffusers with pure essential oils can help calm and relax your mind, purify the air when you are sick, clear your chest, decrease your allergies and the list goes on depending which oil you use.
If you are new to essential oils I’d suggest starting with lavender as many people love it’s calming properties. Make sure that the oils are from a reputable company that third party test their products to make sure they do not contain fillers which can be toxic.
Did you know that wrinkle free products are made possible by the help of formaldehyde which is a carcinogen? And when we sleep they off gas and are absorbed through our skin? If you have new sheets wash them multiple times to try to get as much of the chemicals off as possible.
We covered some of this in last weeks blog. If you experience headaches and sleep issues moving your electronics and wifi away from your bedroom or use a power bar with a timer so you can turn them off when you sleep. This will reduce your exposure to EMF’s. EMF’s interrupt your brain waves as well as place a toxic load on your body.
Charging your phone emits more EMF’s than when it’s not charging. When possible, place it in another room altogether. I charge mine in the kitchen. I find I get to bed faster, not only because of the EMF and blue light reduction, but because I don’t get sucked into scrolling.
Mattresses and Pillows
About ⅓ (or we try) of our life in our bed. Foam based and other mattresses and pillows with flame retardants off gas toxins from the material as the material breaks down and then we absorb and breathe it in.
I have yet to replace our mattress as it is an investment. But the more and more research I do a new mattress keeps raising higher on our to do list. For now we try to vacuum the mattress every time we change the sheets and vacuum around it more frequently to decrease the toxins we breathe in.
This may seem overwhelming. Keep in mind that one change compounds over time as we have discussed, controlling as many stressors as you can takes a load off of your stress management system making it stronger so it can handle the stresses you can’t control.
If you are struggling with sleep as a Police Officer or First Responder you will want to read 5 Quick & Simple Sleep Tips To Stop Shift Work Burnout which considers the other stress triggers giving you actionable steps you can take the help calm your tired and wired brain and stop waking mid sleep.
Click here to grab your free copy today
The advice provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is meant to augment and not replace consultation with a licensed health care provider. Consultation with a Naturopathic Doctor or other primary care provider is recommended for anyone suffering from a health problem.
About the Author
Andi Clark is a mom, wife of a Police Officer and the founder of 911 Lifestyle.
Andi suffers from a genetic stress condition that puts her body in an increased stress response state all the time, similar to what Police Officers and First Responders experience when they put on their uniform and have to mentally prepare for whatever may happen in their day.
Through years of research and studying, Andi formulated a completely different way to look at and handle burnout. One where it is possible to reverse and prevent an officer from getting to a point where they struggle to get through their days by taking a preventative approach instead of a reactive one. And one that reduces the negative effects of shift work on the body.
Through her husbands career as an officer her focus has been on preventing burnout, exhaustion and tanked immune system that she knew can result from poorly managed stress, not to mention the toll things take on family life.
As she watched his co-workers struggle with everything from sleep, exhaustion and anger leading to divorce, PTSD and even suicide it became apparent how LIFE-SAVING the foundations she was laying down for her husband actually were, because not only was he tolerating the shiftwork lifestyle, he was thriving in it.
Andi knew that the strategies her husband was using MUST become available to all Police Officers and other First Responders. She couldn’t watch others suffering when she knew there was a solution. And 911 Lifestyle was born.