I used to undervalue sleep so much. I mean why sleep when there are so many amazing things to do? I had such a wrong idea about sleep that I thought only weak and lazy people need to sleep more than 6-7 hours (rolling eyes and deep blushing here). Now I’ve got a wiser and balanced view on this and that’s thanks to learning so much about how our body works, our circadian rhythms, our cells' requirements...
There are many clinical studies out there showing that sleep deprivation can have a role in all sorts of health disorders, from mood disorders, digestive issues to hormonal ones. Sleep is as important as meditating, eating well and exercising. We need to sleep in order for our cells and tissues to regenerate, to function well throughout the day, to help heal and recover our heart and blood vessels, to maintain a healthy balance of our hormones, to help fight any pathogens.
So, in order to sleep better here are some recommendations you may find helpful: - We all have a regulatory system called the circadian rhythm, also known as our sleep/wake cycle, which is a 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of our brain and moves between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. Our circadian rhythm works best when we go to bed and wake up at the same times each day; our body gets used to this schedule so going to bed and waking up at the same time each day may improve our sleep quality.
- Avoid bright lights at least 1 hour before going to bed. Put dimmers on every light in your house to help with this. Even if we use the blue light filter on our phone screens it can still interfere with our circadian rhythm by tricking our brain into thinking it is still daytime, so you may want to stop using your phone an hour before going to bed.
- Try to exercise a few times per week but don’t do it for at least 2 hours before going to bed.
- Magnesium is known as the ‘relaxing mineral’ so it may help if you take a supplement 30 minutes before going to bed.
- Try to minimise external noise.
- Avoid any stimulating foods or drinks such as coffee, green tea, chocolate after 2PM. - Using lavender can be an effective way to improve sleep so you may want to invest in a good lavender essential oil and diffuser. - You can also drink chamomile or valerian tea before going to bed.
- My favourite one is meditation. When we are stressed or tensed we cannot sleep easily and if we do, the sleep quality might not be the best one. Not only does meditation relaxes you, but it can help boost melatonin levels; melatonin is a hormone known to assist the sleep/wake cycles. I know it is frustrating to have have problems falling asleep or to wake up tired, but I also know there are ways to tackle this. I hope these few recommendations are helpful so you can enjoy the benefits of a good night sleep.
Be happy and be healthy!X