A good night’s rest can do wonders for your health! Something magical and transformative takes place under the cover of deep sleep.
While we appear to be still and inactive, our body is actually working. It takes an inventory and restocks the supply of essential hormones. It rinses away any traces of toxins and repairs worn-out tissue. It builds our immunity by bolstering the generation of disease-fighting white blood cells. The mind processes thoughts and emotions. And the body counters the effects of stress.
This is the reason we wake up recharged and motivated every morning. However, if we are not, it is likely because of lack of sufficient and restful sleep.
Understanding your sleep pattern – Whether you are a light or heavy sleeper? What position do you sleep in? Are there constant disturbances from light, traffic or neighbourhood noises that bother you? Is your job stressful or do you often engage in thought-intensive work right before you hit the bed? What causes you to fidget or become restless? And what can soothe you? – can be fundamental.
A good sleep hygiene is a habit that takes building. It lays the foundation for great health and more.
Sleep Disorders and the Reasons for Interrupted Sleep
From trouble falling asleep to waking up intermittently during the night, and even insomnia. There are a number of sleep disorders that plague our generation.
Technology and our fast-paced lifestyles are greatly responsible for the general lack of sleep we experience. Our smartphones are always on, delivering messages from across the world. And there is a cacophony of disturbing hues and sounds that emanate from all our gizmos.
Sleep and the Pineal Gland
The pineal gland is a petite lobe located near the middle of our skull in the interbrain. Here it secretes a neurotransmitter and hormone called melatonin.
Melatonin is responsible for us feeling drowsy. And the diffusion of the hormone causes our brain to relax and our voluntary muscle functions to cease temporarily. It does this by suppressing the activity of other neurotransmitters, particularly cortisol which is a stress hormone.
Ideal Sleep Perquisites
There are a few necessary conditions required to create an ideal sleep situation.
The secretion of melatonin is largely in response to darkness. This is why darkness induces sleep. Low noise and soothing ambient sounds reduce our cortisol levels and trigger the feeling of safety and comfort. So, switching off your devices before going to bed may ensure that you sleep uninterrupted for longer.
The position you sleep in may also affect the quality of your sleep. And you may want to try a few different styles before deciding on one that is most comfortable. Additionally, use a suitable mattress, cover it with proper bed ware and linen, and use an appropriate pillow. You will find paying attention to these fine details may be well worth the effort.
To Induce Sleep
Apart from creating the right ambience, following these tips may prove beneficial for improving and remedying sleep-related problems.
- A session of daily meditation. In the garden or out in the yard. Alone or in the company of friends.
- Engaging in calming activities that reduce stress. Such as gardening and being in nature. Long walks in fresh air. Lighting candles and incense. Reading a book. Creating something and working with your hands, like art, craft and sculpture. Playing with a pet or grooming it. Listening to music. You can do any number of simple exercises.
- Developing a bedtime ritual. This includes switching off those gizmos. Having a bath with bath oils and Epsom salts. Changing into your pyjamas. And applying your night cream. Avoid heavy thinking or intense activities such as budgeting, planning, or having confrontational conversations before bed.
- Avoiding late and heavy meals. And caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee or chocolate before bed.
- Fluff up your pillows and choose proper linen. Beware of temperature fluctuations and weather conditions. Use earplugs to keep the noise from distracting you.
- Say a prayer or a positive affirmation. Or perhaps write in your gratitude journal if you maintain one.
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