Getting a good night’s sleep is so important for your overall wellness. Are you on the computer or watching TV right up until you crawl into bed, or are you in bed while doing so? The mind and body need to wind down for a peaceful, restful restorative sleep. The electromagnetic energy of TVs, computers, and cell phones keep our nervous system over-stimulated which can prevent a restful night. Give yourself a good hour of reading a relaxing book (not on business) or listening to music instead.
Why? The body begins to produce melatonin in the early evening so you fall into a restful sleep. Try to stick to a pattern of when you rise and when you go to bed; even on weekends. Keep a pad of paper and pen beside your bed to write things down that might be keeping you awake.
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. As our body rests it repairs itself and we produce growth hormones and melatonin which help us sleep.
- 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 our blood sugar at the time we need to prepare for sleep, not digestion. If you do need to have a light snack, make sure that it is easily digested such as fruit, yogurt, or a light cereal.
- Keep to the same schedule every day even on weekends; up by 6-7 am, in bed by 10pm
- Heat up organic milk with nutmeg and cardamom.
- Place a few drops of the essential oil lavender on the forehead or your pillow.
If anyone says they are a night owl, they are likely out of sync with 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!