Sleep does wonders for our health and happiness - a good sleep is more effective than the best makeup for making you look younger and more vibrant. It is also one of the best cures and preventions for illness. Heck, a good sleep can take a world of problems off our shoulders when we wake up the next day with a clear mind and fresh perspective. And those are just a few benefits of many.
But what happens when we don't get enough sleep? Not getting a good night's sleep for even just one night can throw your body out of whack the next day, messing up hormones and triggering us to feel hungry, irritable, exhausted, emotional and even low libido. So, one night isn't going to make or break your whole week. But, if we get into a pattern of not enough sleep over an extended period of time, that can lead to serious problems.
Our immune system is directly affected by a lack of sleep as well. Our bodies repair and heal while we are sleeping and when this is disrupted or diminished, we are walking around with decreased immunity to sickness.
If you've found yourself in a cycle of sleep deprivation, I hope you will find these tips helpful:
1) Don't make any big decisions before bed. This includes work, relationships, personal life, etc. If we start in on something right before going to bed, our minds will be racing. If there is something important to discuss, let it wait for the next day when your mind is fresh.
2) Don't let your electronics be the last interaction you have before bed. If you are up reading emails up until lights off, this will overstimulate your mind and cause unnecessary stress. Turn off emails at least 30 minutes before lights off.
3) We've all heard it before, but I'm going to say it again...don't fall asleep with the T.V on. I know, I know, for some of you this is a tough one. I promise though, you will get a better sleep without it. I believe the reason many people do this is because they have trouble falling asleep. Okay, so I am going to suggest that instead you try falling asleep with a little bit of white noise, classical music or even a meditation CD instead.
4) Do take a hot bath, shower, soak, hot tub, etc. Heat will relax you. An added relaxation benefit is adding Epsom salts to your tub if you are going to take a bath. Epsom salts draw impurities from our bodies and they have calming properties.
5) Do take your sleep seriously. Tell whomever you live with that you are going to make a commitment to sleeping better and that it will benefit them too because you'll be a happier person. This way, people around you will know not to distract you or try to get you to stay up late with them. People who care about you will respect this.
6) Consider a natural supplement to help you relax at night - but make sure to clear this will your healthcare specialist before doing so. Supplements can benefit you by aiding relaxation naturally. I take GABA (an amino acid that calms the nerves) and melatonin (a hormone that helps control sleep/wake cycles) before bed and I sleep like a baby. If you are currently taking any medications, you should talk to your doctor before trying any supplements.
7) Try aromatherapy. I love Aura Cacia's Relaxing Lavender Room and Body Mist - its just lavender oil and water. You could even make this on your own, but I get mine at Whole Foods. I spray my pillow with it before I read in bed.
I hope you found these tips helpful. The goal here is to make sure you enjoy and have fun. The more relaxed you are in the process, the better sleep you will get. Treat your sleep with the same importance you give being to work on time. Its even more important, yet so many people neglect this aspect of their lives. Getting good sleep is the secret to health and longevity and will make you far more productive the next day.
If you have tried the recommendations above and still are having trouble, then it may be time to consider seeing a medical professional.
Thanks for reading my blog!