If you’ve been having trouble getting a good night sleep, there are three changes you can make…
We all know that sleep is incredibly important. Not only does it allow our bodies to recharge for the next day, but it also improves our memory, and our capacity to learn. But many people throughout the world, for a variety of reasons, find sleep difficult. If this sounds a little too familiar, here are the three top changes you can make to sleep better:
1. Stop looking at screens an hour before you want to go to bed.
Our bodies are incredibly sensitive to light. A lack of light naturally makes our bodies more tired, and sleepy. That is why we have a slow evening to acclimatise our bodies to the idea that we will soon be going to sleep. But there is so technology that our brains get confused, and stay alert. Any backlit device (computer, tablet, television, smart phone) will be firing off the wrong neurons in your brain. Read a book, listen to music, or read a kindle, and you will find yourself dropping off.
2. Exercise, but in the afternoon.
If you exercise during the day, you will sleep better at night. It’s a strange fact, but it’s a true one but there is even more that you can do to make sure you sleep properly. Don’t exercise during the evening, but in the afternoon or morning. This will ensure that your body is properly exhausted, and helps your body to allow itself to fall asleep.
3. Munch on sleep inducing foods.
Everyone knows to stay away from caffeine just before bed, but what should you be eating? Well, studies have suggested that bananas, potatoes, oatmeal, and even turkey have chemicals within them that relax your body, and help it to drift off. No excuse now not to finish off those leftovers!
A good night’s sleep helps our body restore and rejuvenate, grow muscle, repair tissue, and produce the hormones we need such as ghrelin and leptin, which control feelings of hunger and fullness. Some scientists have sought to link inadequate sleep with increased risk of obesity. Insulin, which is responsible for the regulation of glucose in the blood also changes due to inadequate sleep and can result in an increase in blood sugar level. For this reason, chronic sleep deficiency is also linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.
According to the United States National Library of Medicine, sleep is an important modulator of neuroendocrine function (ie, the release of hormones into the blood after stimulation by a nerve) and glucose metabolism. Sleep loss has been shown to result in metabolic and endocrine alterations, including decreased glucose tolerance, decreased insulin sensitivity, increased evening concentrations of cortisol, increased levels of ghrelin, decreased levels of leptin, and increased hunger and appetite. Recent laboratory tests conducted by scientists have confirmed previous findings of an association between sleep loss and increased risk of obesity.
Ensconced in the resort’s tranquil and nurturing environs, and with each day’s activities, sleep will come naturally and quickly. Wake up feeling alert, focused and full of loving energy. Learn how to optimise your sleeping patterns in sync with your Circadian Rhythm for optimal energy and wakefulness during the day, and a natural release of healthy melatonin for healthy and nourishing sleep.
This is a topic full of experts and they make many claims. Some say you need at least 8 hours of sleep a night, some say it depends upon your age.
The younger you are, the more sleep you need, for example. Some experts claim that too much sleep increases your health risks just as too little sleep does.
There is no end in sight to this debate and no one knows for sure what is right for each person and that is the point of this chapter.
I have found that people who are very healthy and have positive attitudes do not need that much sleep. They tend on average to need less sleep than people in their age group. The problem with sleep, centers around the fact, that each person has a different sleep pattern and seems to get a different amount of sleep. So to say that there is an ideal amount means nothing. If you tell someone they need eight hours a night and they usually only get 6, what are they to do? Most of us cannot control the amount of sleep we get.
We can however control the quality of our sleep and this is what I want to focus on. Did you know that our natural bedtime is sunset? Yes, sunset! That means going to bed around 8:30 or so in the summer and much earlier in the winter. Farmers tend to follow this sleep pattern and they are much stronger and healthier than the rest of the population.
Staying up late each night is bad for your health. It throws your biological clock off. Large volumes of scientific information confirm that too little sleep and poor quality sleep correlates to poor health. The question is: what came first, the poor sleep or the poor health? In other words, does your declining health cause your sleep patterns to change for the worse or does your poor sleep pattern cause your health issues?
It really does not matter. What matters is how you can control the quality of your sleep. I stated that our natural bedtime is sunset. So that is point number 1.
Here is a list of factors, that you can control, and these in turn will help you get the best sleep possible:
- Make sure the room you sleep in is pitch black. Absolutely no light should be evident in the room at all.
- Your room should be as quiet as possible. This is a hard one to control. I noticed that when my neighbors are away I sleep much better, longer and sounder. I don’t hear their cars in the morning. But I cannot control this.
- You should not eat or drink after 7 PM each night.
- You should not have stimulating foods and drinks during the day. These include caffeine. Remember I am telling you what I think works. You have to decide if this is what works for you.
- Try to pray or meditate before going to sleep. This helps relax your mind and calm your body down.
- Don’t watch TV late at night, it is too stimulating.
- Don’t eat big meals at night. In other words your dinner should be steamed vegetables and perhaps some rice. A light meal at night allows your digestion to relax and your body to heal. People who wake up in the middle of the night, typically around 3:00 AM tend to be suffering from digestive issues brought on by heavy meals, late in the day.
- Don’t eat fruit late in the day or during evening hours. The sugar in fruit is too stimulating toward the end of the day.
- Make sure you get plenty of exercise each day. Physical exertion helps you sleep better. Your body is really tired, not mentally tired.
- If you wake up in the morning very tired it can mean that you are not digesting your proteins properly. You are eating too much at night and too many heavy foods.
- Don’t go to bed angry. Resolve your issues, the best way possible, and then go to sleep.
- Warm baths can relax you and help you sleep. We will discuss this in more detail.
- Do not drink milk at night.
- If you are waking at night to go to the bathroom, try drinking earlier in the day. Drink very little around dinner time and nothing after 7 PM.
- Make sure you have the best mattress. The Sleep Number beds work the best. They are worth the investment.
- Make sure your pillow is comfortable. Pillows do not last a long time.
- If you have to get up at night use a flashlight. Do not turn lights on.
- Use essential oils, such as Lavender. They relax you and help you sleep.
- Make sure your room is not too hot.
- Do not use strong lights at night. Reading at night with a strong light will interfere with your sleep.
- Try to go to bed the same time each night.
- Stop smoking. Stop the pot. Sorry, but it is not good for you.
- Do not exercise close to bedtime – 4 hours or more.
- Do not sleep with animals (no I am not talking about your significant other).
- Eating the right foods makes you healthier and sleep better.