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Sleep for Life!

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SLEEP IS one of the backbones of health, alongside nutrition and exercise. It is a daily natural recurring state of the mind and body, a resting state for which most body systems are inactive, the eyes closed and the consciousness suspended.

Sleep is divided into 2 parts. The first part is called NREM (non-rapid eye movement) and REM (rapid eye movement). Sleep process is composed of four stages — the 3 stages (NREM): the first stage, is the condition when the body and the brain relaxes (alpha state), second is when you go into a light sleep (theta), the third is when you enter the phase of deep sleep (delta state); the fourth (REM), when the eyes move rapidly behind closed eyelids, breathing becomes irregular, and heart rate increases. On a typical night, we go through this cycle about four to five times.

The body has a biological clock. The wake and sleep cycle is called Circadian Rhyt
hm. It is crucial to have a good circadian rhythm, not only for the purpose of sleep but also for overall wellness.

My mom used to say that we need to follow the flow of nature. When sunlight hits the earth it’s a signal to rise and work; when the night darkness takes over, it’s time to drop everything and retire.

The dark makes the brain produce a hormone called melatonin, which induces sleep. That is why a pitchdark sleeping room is ideal to assure one of good night rest. The lights from appliances or from any source should be avoided for it disrupts the sleep process.

Here are the five common sleeping disordersInsomnia, the inability to fall asleep or go back to sleepSleep apnea, pauses in breathing during sleepParasomnia, an abnormal movement and behavior, like sleep walking, sleep talking, bed wetting, groaningRLS (Restless Leg Syndrome, a constant need to move the legs accompanied by tingling sensationNarcolepsy or sudden sleep attack during day time a neurological disorder that may cause sleep paralysis.

On the health side, poor energy, depression, cancer, inflammation, diabetes, heart conditions, weight gain, anxiety, aging, stress, difficulty in focus, poor physical performance,
lack of sex drive are some of the effectsof insufficient sleep. While napping is fine, it is not for all. If you have a hard time sleeping at night, steer clear from nap.

Sleep repairs and restores the body systems. It is also the only time when some of the major organs gets rested. It keeps the heart healthy, is anti-cancer, reduces stress, lowers level of inflammation, improves memory and mental alertness, enriches intelligence, spikes up mood, promotes weight loss, lowers depression, builds up strength, heals wounds faster. Sleep is the best anti-aging and natural beauty treatment!

An average adult should get seven to nine hours of sleep, according to the researchers of NSF (National Sleep Foundation, USA). Come to think of it, one third of our life is spent to sleep!

Nowadays, sleep deprivation is prevalent and one of the most dangerous threats to life. Unfortunately, this concern is not being well addressed. There is no alternative method for sleep. Have you wondered why some people get sick even with proper nutrition and exercise? It is accounted for sleep shortage.

Education on this matter is crucial, most especially to those who are exposed every day to light radiation coming from cellular phones, computers and gadgets which triggers sleep problems.

On a positive note, here’s the list of the foods to enhance sleep: almonds, walnuts, bananas, avocado, kiwi, whole grains, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, or any food that is rich in tryptophan. Tryptophan is a producer of melatonin and serotonin, essential for the brain functions. The foods that you need to stay away from: spicy, salty, fatty, oily foods and caffeinated and alcoholic drinks. Additionally, avoid eating at least four hours before bed time, though a glass of warm milk is an exception. For lactose intolerance, almond or soya milk will do.

My personal nightly ritual to relieve tension, a cup of hot chamomile tea at dinner; after shower, apply a few drops of lavender essential oil behind my ears and to the soles of my feet. I turn off and unplug all the electric devices in my room and all lights off. A pitchdark room gives magnificent vibes that make you doze off in a jiffy. This simple procedure will make you sleep like a baby.

Herbal: Valerian and passion fruit tea are another sleep stimulator options as well as melatonin supplement.

A regular exercise is another key. Night time workout though may defeat the goal., because exercise stimulates the body energy system, which will keep you awake. Yoga (ancient tradition) is one of the practices that you may want to try. It refreshes and stills the mind, align and strengthens the body which complement sleep.

Other things you could do to boost sleep:
a. Quiet bedroom
b. Aromatherapy – diffuse essential oils for tranquility
c. Comfortable mattress, pillows and beddings
d. Hydrotherapy, fill up bathtub with hot water and mix at least 3 cups of sea salt, soak body for 15-30 minutes
e. Smooth and loose night wear
f. Soft music that soothes the mind
g. Color therapy – light blue and earth tone room color/s
h. Meditate – shut your eyes, slowly breathe-in andbreathe-out, observe the air entering and leaving your nose or mouth (do this for 5-10 minutes), focusing only on your breath flow. As you finished the round, direct your mind to a positive thought until you fall asleep. Your last thought shapes the condition of the next day.

In this quarantine period, stay in bed and get as much vitamin ZZZZ (sleep), smile a lot (it’s anti-wrinkles), commune with the stars and the moon, dream big, believe and delight!

Namaste
. Peace and Light

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