We need Good Sleep

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf we don’t get enough and restful sleep, we don’t perform well during the day. Lack of sleep affects our personal life; we may get “grumpy” and we might not get along with others as well. It also affects our professional life as our productivity and work quality decreases. Sleep also affects our health tremendously: Sleep deficiency is associated with increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, obesity and depression.

 

Deep sleep is the body’s most effective way of processing excess stress hormones from the day. REM sleep, the kind we have when we are dreaming, is essential for good healthy functioning of the brain to process information. If we don’t get enough sleep, stress hormones stay elevated. Hormones that regulate appetite are affected as well. If we are tired, we are more likely to drink caffeinated beverages and eat sugary food to give us energy and to help us keep going. This again elevates stress hormones and puts on weight. It is a vicious cycle!

 

Tips to find better sleep:

 

  • Develop a sleep routine: Respect your internal biological rhythm by setting a regular bed time. Go to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time each day, and keep this even on weekends.

 

  • Make your bedroom a restful place: Your bed should be associated with sleep (and pleasure, if you like …), but not with work, TV or computer. Make sure you have things in the bedroom that you appreciate and make you feel comfortable.

 

  • Eat healthy: Do not go to bed on a full stomach. Have your dinner at least three hours before going to sleep. Reduce sugar and refined carbohydrates (found in white flower products and processed foods).

 

  • Avoid or reduce caffeine: Even one cup of coffee in the morning might keep you awake at night, because of the neurological effects caffeine has. Try out to stop drinking coffee for three days to see, if that is the case for you (It takes three days for caffeine to clear from your body.)

 

  • Avoid alcohol: Alcohol is a sedative, but it also disrupts the brain-stem sleep mechanism, resulting in insomnia. A martini might help you doze off initially, but you are more likely to wake up in the middle of the night and have a hard time getting back to sleep.

 

  • Get regular exercise: Regular exercise improves one’s ability to get a good night’s sleep. Make sure you get your exercise – whether it is walking, running or cycling – preferably in fresh air! Choose an activity that you like; then it is more likely you keep it up on a regular basis.

 

  • No news or TV before going to sleep: Turn off the computer & the TV at least an hour before you go to sleep! Your nervous system is not designed for handling this much stimuli before going to sleep.

 

  • Unwind before you go to bed: Take a bath, read a novel, do some gentle yoga or have an Alexander Constructive Rest … This will help you fall asleep easier and sleep more deeply.

 

  • Reflexology Treatments: Reflexology has shown to be very effective in finding better sleep. Many clients report better sleep after only one to three Reflexology sessions.

 

  • Bach Flower Remedies: These remedies address the emotional causes that may underlie the sleep problems. The Bach remedies don’t only help in finding better sleep, but also to feel better during the day!
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