Who hasn’t read at some point or other that all humans need 8 hours of sleep per night? Regardless of age, sex, diet, health or even environmental factors, main stream though on sleep is that we all need the same 8 hours, no matter what.
Do we really need 8 hours?
The real problem is not how many hours one gets per night, but rather how effective those hours are at rejuvenating your system in preparation of a new day. I know many people who are getting 8 hours of sleep every single night, and still wake up unrested and fatigued. Many people perform best after just 6 hours of solid sleep. The key is in getting a good night’s sleep, waking up rested and feeling energised until bedtime that night.
Why do we need to have good night’s sleep?
Sleep is when our bodies reconfigure themselves. It is when children grow. It is when our bodies heal. Without enough sleep, we can encounter imbalanced hormones, poor concentration, lethargy, headaches, weight gain, gastrointestinal issues, and so much more. We need sleep to reset our systems, and prepare for the day ahead.
Has this always been prevalent?
Today it is really difficult to ensure a good night’s sleep. We are bombarded with electronic devices, screens, stress, responsibilities, pressure and a lot of us have even been stricken with varying degrees of mental health issues. This was certainly not always the case. In the past, before weighing ourselves down with countless stresses, we were able to go close our eyes, and simply fall asleep. That is definitely not the case anymore.
How to get a good night’s sleep
There are things we can do to encourage a good night’s sleep. From diet and exercise, to meditation, to changing the temperature in your bedroom to breathing exercises or even simply learning to lie there with eyes closed. The following is a list of useful tips that will help encourage a good night’s sleep.
1. SCHEDULE BED TIME
Our bodies love a nice rigid schedule. When we create a regular sleeping schedule, our bodies automatically adjust to accommodate the hour. What this means is our bodies will anticipate bedtime and provide enough energy to get you to that point, and allow you to fall asleep easily at the end of the day
2. SCHEDULE MEALS
Based on the same fact that our bodies love a rigid schedule, eating at regularly scheduled time of day, every day will help your body create a good rhythm, thereby encouraging a good night’s sleep. Don’t go to bed hungry or full. It is important that your body had already begun to digest food long before you go to sleep
3. TURN OF ELECTRONICS
Not only does the blue glare keep us from getting a good night’s sleep, the constant flow of stimulation before bed does not allow for your brain to shut off for the night. Reading, meditating, or practicing breathing exercises will have you falling asleep in minutes, rather that what can sometimes seem like hours. There are countless guided sleep meditations that can be listened to to help fall into a deep slumber.
4. DON’T SWEAT IT OUT
As humans, we tend to sleep better in cooler environments. Lighter more natural fibres like cotton or bamboo offer a nice cool sleep experience. Also consider a lighter blanket or duvet, as this too will offer you a cooler sleeping environment, thereby encouraging a better night’s sleep
5. TRY SOMETHNIG DIFFERENT
If you find yourself tossing and turning, and unable to fall asleep, don’t just hang around waiting and getting frustrated. Get up out of bed and partake in some slow paced, calming activity, like reading an article or doing a puzzle. Do this for 15-20 minutes, then go back to bed and practice breathing.
There are some great supplements that can help you fall asleep, stay asleep and have you waking up rested. These are natural tools to help you get over that hump.
· Melatonin – Take 5-10 mg 20 minutes before bed. The key here is to be in complete darkness. Any sign of light and our bodies flush it out of us
· Passion Flower Tincture – This herb calms our thoughts and slows things down. It reduce stress and alleviated elements of anxiety and panic
· 5-HTTP – This is a precursor to serotonin which converts into melatonin naturally. Taking one on the afternoon with lunch and then a other an hour before bed will encourage good melatonin production
· Magnesium Citrate – Nature’s muscle relaxer, Magnesium relaxes you and helps encourage a deep sleep without interruptions. It can also help with migraines, and leg cramps