We think we know all there is to know about sleep and then we learn some more. Why would I do a whole blog on sleep? Because it is one of the forgotten essential elements to wellness. It not only helps to control our hormone levels, it helps within the elimination cycles of our body, in fact without sleep we would die due to literally having way too many toxins in our body.
If knowing that sleep is essential to our wellness isn’t enough then knowing the important role it plays in weight loss may wake us up a bit more!
A good nights sleep, a great bed time routine, a sound and joyous relationship with sleep is vital to wellbeing.
Watch this, it sums up so many things simply and then we can talk more.
As with all things wellness, there is only YOUR way. The way in which you approach sleep, and connect with sleep has to be conducive to only you. There are so many ways to sleep, styles of sleep, patterns for sleep and each of them are only going to work for that person, we simply have to begin to become more conscious of our need to be individual, that we need our own food plan, exercise plan, wellness plan and sleep plan.
Some of the ‘ways’
Yes, the ‘ways’ of sleep. This isn’t just about front sleeper, back sleeper or side sleeper. These are ways we enter into sleep , there are also the ways in which we like to experience sleep.
There is the way, that began many many years ago, perhaps with our grandparents and their parents, of sleeping in two parts during the night. This was deliberate. They would go to bed as the sun went down for their first sleep, until perhaps 10 or 11pm and then rise. This was a needed way of slumber to stoke the fire and keep a look out on stock or loiterers. Then back to bed at 1pm and they’d sleep til sunrise.
Two sleeps are quite popular in many cultures. The famous siesta (afternoon nap) has always been popular in European cultures. They would open their shops or busy themselves in the morning until lunch time, eat their meal with family and then take a nap before resuming work until later in the evening. It meant their evening meals were often around 8pm before hitting their bed again.
Power naps – (or Nana naps) are a growing trend and many cite their benefits. When we are constantly working on our computers or straining our eyes from reading we can become tired. Re-boosting our mind with a power nap, no more than 10 mins, is a great tool that can really refresh the brain and allow us to continue on powered up! As the short video tells us, the simple dumping of the waste build up in the brain that sleep provides shows us that this can benefit us in many ways.
A terrible affliction that many encounter is insomnia. The lack of enough sleep can really prevent a healthy and balanced lifestyle and if suffering from this affliction it can seem almost impossible to function. Over time there has been a noticeable increase as we have moved away from two sleeps - to one large sleep - it prevents us from sleeping when we are tired and forces an unnatural resting time frame into our lives that is often unsustainable and doesnt account to much.
The connection of depression and lack of sleep
Whilst we can see that there are many ‘ways’ in which we can sleep, according to sleep specialist Timothy A. Connolly of Center of Sleep Medicine at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston, “Studies show adults who consistently sleep seven to eight hours every night live longest.” Some people do fine on six hours, and some need 10, but it needs to be in one solid chunk. He goes on to say that each time sleep is disrupted, it impacts every cell, tissue, and organ, and the chances go up for a range of serious issues including stroke, heart disease, obesity and mood disorders. There is a very fine line between depression and lack of sleep and formulating a good sleep pattern should always be a consideration in working with this dis-ease. Modern science is pretty unanimous in believing that sleeping a long, solid chunk each night gives you the best chance of living a long life, natural or not.
What do we need for sleep?
There is a lot we can do naturally to support our sleep behaviours. Remember, that this impacts us body, mind and soul so we need to get this right!
First is determining how many hours sleep is needed for you.
Then establish a FIRM bed time routine around that. Things like, set the time for an alarm to go off when you need to start to wind down and begin the routine. It may be that you begin with closing off all electronic equipment, then a cup of tea and a moment to reflect on the day and even do some journal writing to clear the thoughts from your mind. Then a shower, then bed.
Nutritional support is also essential. You know by now that having coffee within a certain time before wanting to sleep is a no go. So too is alcohol. Heavy meals are added to this list as is deep fried foods all requiring so much more gut action to digest. But there are some minerals that will support us in this process as well.
MAGNESIUM A mineral found in your body that aids in the natural production of melatonin. It is melatonin that supports a good sleep routine within your body.
VITAMIN B6 A component of any healthy diet. It helps regulate sleep patterns.
L-THEANINE Naturally found in green tea (JUN), it has been shown to effectively promote relaxation
GABA Produced naturally in your body, it helps calm activity in the brain and promotes relaxation.
Take the time to work yourself into a solid sleep pattern. If you are in a relationship and find it difficult sleeping with someone, or they disturb you, then separate beds is not the end of the world. Likewise, you will never have the same sleep requirements as your partner or members of the house, so find what you need and support that. I cant tell you enough how much a solid sleep routine is going to support this. Be inspired to create a bed routine that is gentle yet fun and something you look forward to. Sleep is an essential tool to our wellness and deserves the time spent getting it right.