Secrets to a good nights sleep

by Erin Gray [G+] | on 28th June 2013 |

Sleep is one of those things that everyone does, everyone needs, yet no one seems to know much about it. We know that if we do not get sleep it affects us in negative ways. When we do get a fair amount of sleep on a regular basis, we feel better, we can think more clearly, we’re more productive, and we’re in a better mood. We just don’t know why that is. With all of the studies, research and medical advancements being made though, we are starting to realize more and more the detrimental effects that the lack of sleep and poor sleep habits have on us. By being able to pinpoint the negative effects of inadequate sleep habits, we will be better able to isolate the positive attributes of a full night’s sleep.

Secrets to a good nights sleep

Melatonin is an antioxidant that helps boost your immune system. A strong and functioning immune system can help fight off cancers, tumors and anything else that impairs your body from functioning at a high level. This all starts slowly of course, but over time when impaired sleep becomes a habit, the small things like not thinking clearly, short term memory loss and a decrease in your ability to solve problems can escalate into more serious problems.

The problems just stated can lead to stress, and undue stress on a daily basis opens all kinds of doors to more serious issues. For example, stress elevates your heart level. When your heart beats regularly it beats in a certain rhythm at a certain pace. When that is disrupted, it disrupts the natural rhythm of everything else in your system making everything work harder. When that happens your immune system becomes deficient.

The immune system keeps sickness at minimum, tumors that are benign from becoming active and cancers from even forming. This all may seem like unrealistic consequences from a simple lack of sleep but, again, over time, disrupted sleep patterns can cause a multitude of problems. Like the old saying, “Watch your pennies and your dollars will take care of themselves”, so to “Watch your minutes and the hours will take care of themselves”.

One common misconception about sleep is that lost sleep can be made up the next night or during the course of the week. This simply is not the case. Lost sleep is lost forever, which is why it is necessary to get into a healthy sleep routine and stick with it. One way to help make this happen is to make sure that your daily routine runs as smoothly as possible.

There are only 24 hours in a day so we should use them all wisely. We all know the benefits of eating regularly, eating healthy and having a workable fitness regimen, so those are things we can do to stay healthy and, of course, awake and alert. So what can we do to optimize our sleep time, so it is uninterrupted, 8 full hours (which is optimum), deep and beneficial to the other 16 hours in the day?

Sleeping family

The first step should be getting into a routine that helps your body and mind relax. You want the segue way between being awake and being asleep to be as natural as possible. Whatever it is that helps you relax is what you should do when you get to the bedroom and shut the door. For some people, it is soft music, or drawing a warm bath, soft lighting or simply reading a terrific book. Whatever it is that helps you relax is what you should do to help you get ready for sleep. The key here is to do it every night and, optimally, at the same time every night.

Another thing to consider is the natural rhythm of your body. In this modern age of electricity and differing work schedules our bodies are subjugated to routines that nature did not intend. People use to go to bed after the sun went and wake up as it rises. Much like what other animals do naturally. This was a natural occurrence because our body dumps toxins and re-charges at the same time every night. Typically in the hours before and after midnight. This is why getting to sleep as early as possible before this time frame is highly recommended. It gives the body enough time to wind down so it can do what it does to help refresh you for the following morning.

Now that you have a better idea on how to get your body prepared to sleep, let’s focus on how to keep the sleep as uninterrupted and restful as possible. One of more obvious suggestions is to keep your bedroom as dark as possible. If you think it already is, take a look around your room just to make sure. Do you have nightlights? An alarm clock with LED lights? Do your window coverings block out all the light from outside such as streetlamps or the moon? If so, then you will want to get rid of any source of light in your room, no matter how minimal, so your room is as dark as possible.

This is all quite important because as stated earlier, your body clock has not quite evolved from the days when there was no electricity or man- made lighting. Your body still wants to go to sleep when it’s dark outside, and it wants to wake up when the sun rises. This is simply the nature of things, but we do not see that anymore because of the modern conveniences that allow us to do what we want, when we want.

We fail to realize that while the modern conveniences can make things easier for us, it did not change our internal workings that still want to do things as they did before. Basically, we are at conflict with what we want and what we need. We can minimize that conflict by keeping the room where we sleep as dark as possible.

Along with unneeded light that disrupts our natural sleep patterns, there are also unneeded sounds, as well. Many people find it easier to go to sleep when watching or listening to their television or radio. This is not a particularly favorable idea. It may be a habit that people have gotten into and that habitual behavior may be a routine that your body has gotten into, but that does not mean it is a healthy routine.

Using sound to wake you up, an alarm clock, for example, can be a sudden stressful change to your body. So too can sound be detrimental to your sleep pattern. Whether you are actively listening to a sound or it is a distraction in the background, it is something that keeps your senses working. When you are asleep, everything about your system has wound down to a level that makes sleep possible. Anything, like sound for instance, which disrupts that level also disrupts your sleep. It may not keep you awake, but it does keep your sleep from being as restful as it can.

One of the ways that your body “winds down” as it sleeps is that your body temperature is lower than when you are awake. Approximately 4 hours after you fall asleep, your body temperature is at its lowest. The room temperature should reflect this as it can interfere with the natural workings of your body, thereby not giving you an optimal night’s sleep. Most studies recommend a room temperature of approximately 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

This number will fluctuate slightly because what is comfortable for one person may not be comfortable for another. That and not everyone’s body temperature will be exactly the same. Remember also that there is a certain time of the night when the body regenerates itself. This is the same time of the night when your body temperature falls to its lowest point. Body temperature plays a key role in this in that it helps everything else work as it should work. Not sleeping with an optimal room temperature will disrupt the natural workings of your body, thereby disrupting your sleep.

Sleeping girl

This next suggestion may seem a bit unorthodox at first sight, but it does make sense. We know that light and sound can disrupt sleep patterns, or even make it hard to get to sleep initially. These lights and sounds are generated by electricity. There is a device called a Gauss meter that measures the electromagnetic field (EMF) in whatever room you are checking. In this case, check the EMF in your bedroom. You want as little activity by way of electricity in your room as possible. This might seem like an extremely minute detail, but for those who suffer from chronic insomnia, it can mean the difference between sleeping and not sleeping.

Food is another vital factor to keep in mind. Many of us like midnight snacks when we wake up in the middle of the night to help us get back to sleep. Not only is waking up in the middle of the night disrupting your sleep pattern, but so too is eating foods that your body is going to have to work to digest. This can keep you from going back to sleep quickly, and can also make for a restless sleep. The obvious problem here is waking up in the middle of the night though. Foods rich in B6, which helps make melatonin, can help you get to sleep and stay that way through the night. Fish is a superb choice here as is cherry juice.

Jasmine rice is an excellent choice, as well. Whole grains are healthy for you all the way around and are proven to help you get a decent night’s sleep. Yogurt is a nutritious snack you can finish your day off with while you are reading. Both of those combined can help you get to sleep and stay asleep for, hopefully, 8 straight hours.

Next are some things that you should not ingest before going to bed. Caffeine is the obvious choice, so if you love your coffee it would need to be decaffeinated. Sleeping pills are not an agreeable idea because while they may be formulated to help you sleep, they are also designed to be a one-stop cure-all.

Meaning that there is a broad scope of ingredients, many of them not natural to begin with, designed to help the average person go to sleep. The problem is that everyone’s system is a little different as to what agrees with their system and what doesn’t. What works for you may not work for anyone else. Alcohol is not recommended either because although it is a depressant, it is not a natural one.

As with all medical issues, sometimes you will need to see your family physician for a more detailed analysis of your sleep issues. One last suggestion that can help in this regard is keeping a journal so you can write down everything you do in your preparations for sleep. How they help or not, what you do or do not do, the times you do everything and if anything happens that breaks you out of any routine you may have. By following your own progress in this way, you will be better equipped to make any changes if necessary.

This will help you stay on track with what you need to be doing for yourself. Writing down your progress will also help your doctor analyze it all, so he or she offer more help if needed. There are natural medications that he or she can prescribe or recommend which can help. Your doctor can look through your notes and see if you are missing something. All in all, keeping a written transcript of your sleep issues, and how you deal with them is a highly effective way of rectifying the issues that you have.

These suggestions are aimed at helping you lead a more restful and productive life. They are not meant as a substitute for a doctor’s advice, a physician’s advice or the advice of any other qualified professional, but rather as a supplement for that advice

Video Source: Youtube

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