Getting a good night’s sleep sounds obvious, right? Well it doesn’t seem to be for many people. Nature dictates that 1/3 or more of our life is invested in sleep. Our combined sleep debt of 130 billion hours annually in North America has a direct cost of $16.8 billion and indirect costs due to work-related accidents / time off. By the end of the year most of us are short almost a full 3 weeks of sleep. That is scary! Long-term sleep debt can cause obesity, cancer, strokes, depression and diabetes. A full sleep cycle is 8-8 1/2 hours, or up to 9 for some adults is optimum. The body repairs itself while we sleep and we produce necessary growth hormones and melatonin (the sleep hormone).
The body begins to produce melatonin in the early evening so you fall into a restful sleep; let it do its work. And, try to stick to a pattern of rising and going to bed; even on weekends. I find it helpful to keep a pad of paper and a pen beside the bed to write things down that might be keeping me awake…it’s usually your to-do list!
If you are on the computer or watching TV right up until moments before you crawl into bed, or in bed watching – yikes! The mind and body need to wind down for a peaceful, restful restorative sleep. The electromagnetic energy of TVs, computers, and cell phones keep us over-stimulated and wide-awake. Give yourself a good hour of reading a relaxing book (not on business) or listening to music.
To sleep we must:
- Have a bedroom that is fully dark, no blinking lights from TV’s, VCR’s clocks, & no nightlights. There are light monitoring cells on our skin that sense the light and keep us awake.
- Try not to eat after 8pm, especially processed or sugary foods which elevate blood sugar at the time we need to prepare for sleep, not digestion. If you do need a light snack, make sure it will be an easily digested item such as fruit, yogurt, or a light cereal.
- Keep to the same schedule every day even on weekends; up by 6-7am, in bed by 10pm.
- Heat up organic milk with nutmeg and cardamom to just bubbly on the surface, not boiling.
- Place a few drops of the essential oil lavender on your forehead or pillow.
If anyone you know calls themselves a night owl, they are likely out of sync with their natural biological rhythms. Late night reading and TV watching creates those habits. You owe it to yourself and your long-term wellness to take sleep as serious business. Sweet dreams…!
I wish you an abundant fall and winter filled with much love, passion and adventure. As always I am here to support you in this life journey and love your feedback. See you soon!