13 Crucial Points You Need to Know About Getting a Higher Quality Sleep
Hello folks and thank you for stopping by! As the title outlines it all,this time around it will be about sleep. It is something that the majority of us could relate to. Surprisingly, not everyone’s sleep experiences are the same. We all maybe deficient or overdosing with sleep which raises the question of what is the optimal amount, time range we should be asleep and how daytime experiences could affect our recovery time in our sleep. On a side note, it seems that the majority of our population don’t have it so great.
Sleep is the time when our body (just like the Energizer bunny) has to re-energize and recover from all the distractions we went through during the day. Just like how our phones, vehicles and other engines out there that need to be “cooled” or “slowed down”, our bodies are no different.
The reason why man requires sleep at the end of countless hours of being awake is to mainly restore, revive and recharge our cells, tissues, organs and balance our stress levels. According to the National Sleep Foundation, there are, in total 5 stages of sleep. The first four stages are called ,”Non-Rapid eye movement (NREM)” which on average is 75% of the sleeping time. During the stages of NREM, our body experiences the following, not necessarily in that particular order:
- Breathing and heart rate slowly becomes regular (which is why stressed out folks need more sleep)
- Blood pressure drops
- Tightened or stiff muscles slowly loosen
- Tissue growth and tissue repairs increase production
- Energy levels are restored
- For those developing, growth hormones are in full action
Growing up, especially during my teen years I remember never being able to get enough of sleep – in other words, I slept a LOT. Not sure if that was what most teenagers experienced but no-one was able to convince me that too much was unhealthy for me. To top that off, I would take naps during weekdays after coming home from school and wake up around late afternoons on the weekends. Those days are way behind me and it is no longer the case with me.
I found that as long as I had a clear mind and lead a relatively “stress-free” lifestyle during the daytime, sleep was as blissful as it could get for me. On a side-note, the mornings have always been a consistent struggle but once I was up I was ready to conquer my day at full speed.
I personally found that my skin was always glowing, clear of blemishes, overall was healthier, felt great and compliments always found their way towards me. My personal belief is sleep is the solution to a lot of life’s problems. If you can recharge as much as you can, your anti-aging cells recharge to optimal levels, our aging cells slow down and boost up our energy levels whilst wakeful hours. However, everything in life is to be taken in, in moderation.
Through researching this topic online, I will share some useful yet exciting information with you. From what I gathered of what you need to know to hopefully get your sleep quality back on track, I will supply you with some useful yet affordable solutions which I found to work with me on how to quickly fall asleep throughout the night.
According to a very interesting study done by Dr. Paul Kelly from Oxford University, melatonin levels decrease with age and hence we start to wake up earlier overtime. A person in their twenties would naturally wake up later (ideally 9:30 am) than someone in their late 50s (ideally 7 am). As individuals join the workplace and some work the graveyard shift, this interferes with what the body is accustomed to and working, against our liver’s and heart’s working patterns which could work against our health making us constantly feel sleep deprived and storing paramount health complications down the road. Dr. Kelly proposes that employees should optimally start work at 10 am as anytime before that is forcing our natural body rhythms to work against what is most familiar with. He classified this as sleep deprivation. To confirm Dr. Kelly’s recommendation, traditional Indian ancient science, Ayurveda, talks about how the best times to fall asleep is at 10 am and to wake up at or just before 6 am and having a fixed bedtime ritual schedule is vital. Now, absorbing this piece of info, I took away that as we age, we lose melatonin overtime, which is not based on external factors but a part of natural course of life. It is important to work closely with our body;s needs. For all of those who could afford to choose their starting hours of work, this is a crucial piece of info to consider.
Next I switched over to a few teachings of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is the term for traditional Indian science that has been around for thousands of years. Ayurveda approaches healing from a balance point of view; between the Doasha and Vatas. The concept of sleep in Ayurveda is one ought to be in tune with nature which would mean to sleep shortly after the sun sets as it has proven to be around the most beneficial sleeping times and to wake up around the time when the sun rises. In conventional society, we are now staying up later with having the TVs playing late at night, cell phone emitting shining lights into our dark rooms while keeping us awake longer and of course many of us undertaking more social activities ending later in the evenings. Ayurveda also mentions not to eat or drink heavy or light meals at least 3 hours before bedtime. Massaging warm sesame oil on the soles of your feet, top of your head and the back part of your ears. Saying some positive affirmations for yourself such as “I sleep fast” or “I sleep well” rather than “I can’t fall asleep” adjusts your train of thought to enter into the parasympathetic stage. For some audio I recommend listening to this.
For your convenience, I have listed some tips for you to follow from a conventional, westernized point of view which may a make a difference to your sleeping lifestyle:
- Set a time for yourself to sleep every night (or day) and make sure to work on following that religiously. Our bodies love routine and predictability and the more you could do that to your body, the more you will find your health and sleep improving;
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol – this is true in regards to caffeine at least 5-6 hours before bedtime as it takes time for your liver and kidneys to completely flush out the fluids out of your system. I do not drink but i suppose it has the same effect towards alcohol too;
- Take a warm bath or shower – this may not be a universal solution as taking a warm shower gets some folks energized but personally I often feel drained after a long warm shower. I smell good too which sets the mood to get into bed!
- Make sure your home is safe & secure – I am naturally a paranoid person before going to bed so I tend to ensure locks are done up, stove is in fact turned off, security is in place for a peace of mind;
- Eliminate “light” pollution – this is a fair suggestion as your brain does not have to work as hard and in delaying to release the sleep hormone “melatonin” to keep you alert in the dark. Melatonin is produced only in the dark and any form of light would just delay its release. When you have bright light shining and you keep your brain alert by “going on your phone or television” you are intentionally training your body to sleep late. All forms of light and this goes towards laptops, cell phones & corridor lights. If you are scared of the dark, you could let some outside light seep through your blinds – but not too much!
- Avoid stress of any kind – stress speaks volumes without talking. We all know the detrimental effects it has on anyone immediately and long term. If you could redirect your thoughts into things or memories that bring you happiness and peace I urge you to change your outlook towards that;
- Keep your bedroom cool – according to Dr Christopher Winter, the optimal room temperature for having a restful sleep is between 60-67 Fahrenheit which equates to 15.5 to 19.4 degrees Celsius. Some of the top reasons for sleeping in a cooler environment include: decrease your risk for certain metabolic diseases, less wakefulness during sleep and overall better impact towards cold environment versus warm.
- Research before investing the best type of pillow, mattress and bedding sheets given your condition and budget;
- Exercises always helps towards a better sleep as muscles yearn for recovery after a long, tiring workout. Just ensure that you do this several hours before bedtime;
- Eat foods that are known to make you sleepy such as turkey, warm milk, 1 cup of fresh cherry juice, camomile, almonds are all know to have chemicals or messengers that set your natural melatonin to action. Going to sleep with an empty stomach may have some damaging side-effects. It is best to eat a few hours before going to bed as studies have shown it may not be healthy;
- Follow the 20 min rule of sleep – if you find that you’ve been struggling to fall asleep and its been around 20 minutes, its best to get up and do something to train your brain that you should opt for sleep rather than doing work. Avoid being bright light as it would do the exact opposite effect you are looking for;
- If you are able to afford, look for some good deals online for massages. My personal favorite is a hot stone massage;
- Study more about your social circle and note which ones may have a negative impact on your health and overall life. Personally, I found folks who were always nagging, complaining or even always down on their luck due to their own poor decision making tend to have a major impact on my stress levels. This subtle effect slowly builds its way into your behavior and you, will soon be immensely absorbed into their lives and ultimately become just as much stressed out as they are. Care about your loved ones but master the art of distancing yourself all for the sake of your own health and thus your sleep too!
Sleep Improvement from a Nutritional Standpoint
Now, this category is equally important to investigate and learn just as much as it is in relaxing your body and “setting the right mood” to experience a high grade sleep. Have you ever been at a point in your life where you’ve done everything you could and were still unable to find a relief until randomly one day you are functioning at an all-time equilibrium? Have you been going through some health struggles whether it is dizziness, experiencing pain or ongoing low energy till one day it is randomly gone? This doesn’t have to be sleep related but more so health. Well what could have happened was your body was able to balance out what you were experiencing and thus you were then blessed with relief.
Having difficulty falling asleep because of possibly falling ill is a normal phase in life. Always seek ways to aid your body and health to fight against those nasty bacteria and never wait till you actually fall ill. As creatures of health & wellness, pro-activity is a necessary requirement.
I am a firm believer in correcting any chemical imbalances within me while working on the outside to have a perfect ME. The following relationship between vitamins/minerals & sleep is not completely clear however there are studies out there that point out some association between vitamin deficiency and some sleep disorders.
- Vitamin D – associated with not getting enough sleep
- Magnesium – associated with not staying asleep
- Potassium – associated with not falling asleep
Lastly, if you all that I’ve suggested don’t work and you are seeking of a higher grade (quality) supplement, I do recommend to take the Gentle Sleep Complex by Shaklee. The reason why I endorse this product is because Shaklee (First Natural Nutritional Supplement Company in the USA) conducts at least 100,000 quality tests on all of their products annually. They also conduct double-blinded, peer reviewed studies on the products they sell. Which means they work hard to make sure their products are free from pesticides, herbicides, metals & harmful contaminants. Lastly, what they claim on the packaging of their products is what you will find in the actual product. Personally, over the years I truly found myself stuck on a road bump in trusting my health with supplement companies. Shaklee is one trust worthy company and my gut feeling was comfortable with them. There are countless products in the market that make all sorts of claims however, not all hold true to their standards. I, personally have not used the Gentle Sleep Complex but made my own research of the ingredients in them to cross-reference other places to ensure the ingredients do in fact play a role in promote a gentler, smoother transition to sleep. They are safe, proven and
I believe this product would be great for people who live with chronic pain, chronic inflammation, chronic insomnia and have tried countless items in the market. This had very little side-effects, passion flower, German chamomile, and valerian. Valerian has been used safely and traditionally to promote restful sleep.Key ingredients help promote relaxation and maintain a calm state*
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Hope you learned some beneficial points and thank you for stopping by!
Integrated Health,Wellness & Happiness Coach
Enjoy empowering lives and a firm believer in Hope