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How to Sleep Well

Posted by Angelica on August - 25 - 2011 with 0 Comment

Quote of the day

There is only one thing people like that is good for them; a good night’s sleep” – “Edgar Watson Howe”

A human spends almost 1/3 of their lives sleeping and this should already tell you why a proper sleep is imperative more than anything else. Studies show that those who sleep between 6 to 9 hours live the longest. This has been proven to be the ideal and optimal sleeping period which is needed by a person.

 

Why is a proper night of sleep important?

Everyone out there at one point or another would have gone through the sleepless nights when the body so badly needs its rest, but somehow the mind doesn’t stop functioning. Dozing off at this point of time might seem like the most impossible thing to do. It’s like someone telling you “Don’t think of pink elephants” and what’s the first thing that appears in your thought? Click the link below that directs you to the alertness test. This illustrates on how well you’ve rested for the day.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/sleep/sheep/

Contrary to this, some other people find that they sleep more than they should be. The cause of oversleeping is mainly due to the lack of sleep itself and other reasons such as disorientated sleeping patterns, habits, stress, or other medical conditions such as diabetes or heart diseases.

Anything more than 9 hours in a day leads to oversleeping which is linked to medical problems such as diabetes, obesity, back pain, heart disease, depression, and increased risk of death. Anything less than 6 hours in a day leads to sleep deprivation which is linked to even more problems such as fatigue, daytime sleepiness; clumsiness, weight loss/gain, trouble focusing, and it affects the brain & cognitive functions. Long-term total sleep deprivation can also cause death.

 

Sleepiness

 

The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life, including your mental sharpness, productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality, and weight. Proper sleep is the most effortless activity which gives you this many benefits and a quality life.

 

The Sleep Cycle – the stages of sleep

There are two types of sleep which is Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) known as quiet sleep and Rapid Eye Movement (REM) known as active sleep. Below are the stages of sleep that takes place when a person hits the bed. The stages below are not necessarily in the order of 1-5.

 

Stages of sleep

The Secrets to a Good Nights’ sleep

Sleeping

 

  • Make sleep a priority
  • Aim for 8 hours of sleep every night
  • Maintain regular sleep schedule, even on weekends
  • Establish relaxing bedtime rituals such as reading, or having a warm bath
  • Make sure not to go to sleep when you’re angry
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, & alcohol in the evenings
  • Try to stay away from long naps of more than 2 hours during the day
  • Make your bedroom as dark as possible and avoid distraction of TV/Laptops
  • Listen to relaxing music’s like light Jazz, meditative music, classical piano, spa tunes, etc
  • Keep a miniature fountain by the bed. Flowing water sends relaxing signal to your brains
  • Try breathing techniques from Livestrong.com to help promote sleep
  • Stop working at least 1 hour before bedtime. Your brains need to calm down and relax to be able to fall asleep fast
  • Exercise during the early parts of the day to tire the muscles. This will result in easier dozing off at night as the body would automatically crave for its rest
  • If you don’t fall asleep within 15-30mins upon hitting the bed, get up and do some light activities like reading or listening to music until you feel sleepy again
  • Write down worrying thoughts in a piece of paper which you can review the next morning. Never go to bed with any bothering thoughts in your head.
  • Try warm milk with honey. It has proven to relax your mind and promote better sleep
  • Shop for a good eye mask & ear plugs if the bedroom seems bright or if you have a noisy neighborhood/ partner
  • Invest in a good pillow that helps promote sleep. Check out SleepingPillow.org for more tips on choosing the right pillow.

 

Herbal Remedies to Promote Sleep

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile Tea – sometimes referred to as pineapple weed, it helps to calm the nerves & soothes stomach. Taken in a hot tea form.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) – it’s a mild sedative herb that has been reported to help patients with insomnia & sleeping disorders. Its best taken in capsule form due to its strong smell.

PassionFlower (Passiflora incarnate) – safe sedative particularly helpful for insomnia caused by anxiety, worry or an overactive mind. Taken in capsule/ extract form

Kava root extract capsules (Piper methysticum) – a sedative that produces mild euphoria & works as muscle relaxer. Best to be taken in capsule form due to its pungent smell & taste

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) – Traditionally used to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain & discomfort from indigestion. Works better when combined with other herbs like valerian.

Try lemon balm as a topical use as the smell is believed to promote relaxation

Ashwagandha
(Withania somnifera) – also known as winter Cherry or Indian Ginseng, this herb carries a Latin name that literally means “sleep inducer”. It has tranquilizing effect that relieves anxiety, increases resistance to stress, uplifts mood and relaxes muscles. It’s taken as a supplement capsule form.

Other herbal products to aid sleep

 

What you need to know before purchasing herbal products:

  • Research if your herbal product can interact with other medications, food or medical conditions.
  • Talk to your doctor before trying an alternative approach and be sure to tell all your doctors what alternative treatments you are using.
  • If you experience side effects such as nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, diarrhea or skin rashes, stop taking the herbal product and notify your doctor immediately.
  • Avoid preparations made with more than one herb unless it has been researched before & proven effective.
  • Beware of commercial claims of what herbal products can do. Look for scientific-based sources of information.
  • Select brands carefully. Only purchase brands that list the herb’s common and scientific name, the name and address of the manufacturer, a batch and lot number, expiration date, clear dosage guidelines and potential side effects.

 

 


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