How To Have The Best Sleep Possible
“Sleep is one of the most democratic, freely available and effective forms of health insurance”. Professor Matthew Walker.
Want some tips on how to get a great night’s sleep (therefore allowing your brain the rest and repair time it needs for you to be the best version of yourself that you can be!)? These tips come from my approach to health and wellness, which I call Evenstar 5 Star Wellbeing – where there are 5 equally important aspects: Sleep, Food, Movement, Surroundings and Being. To quickly cover off the first aspect – Sleep – please read the rest of this article and also refer to my other article, published by Sivana East, Sleep: the simple and essential way to improve your wellbeing and live a long time.
SEE ALSO: Holistic Healing: Science, Not Magic
The key tip here is: the better you eat, the better you sleep, and vice versa! However, there is another important topic to discuss here – caffeine. Most people are aware that having too much caffeine is not recommended, and most people are aware that caffeine can affect sleep, although many people do not recognize this in themselves.
Perhaps more important than how much caffeine you consume, is actually when you consume it. Caffeine remains in the body, affecting the brain, for many hours after you consume it. Specifically, caffeine has a half-life of 6 hours, and a quarter-life of 12 hours. This means that 12 hours after you have finished your cup of coffee, 25% of it remains in your system. So even if you think that drinking a cappuccino after dinner has no effect on your sleep, science shows that it does! Brainwave studies show that consuming caffeine reduces the rates of slow wave (deep) sleep by 20%. The problem is that when we then wake up feeling unrefreshed from this poor quality sleep, we typically reach for more caffeine! So we go into another negative energetic cycle!
What should you do, I hear you ask? To quote Dr Rangan Chatterjee, “enjoy your caffeine, before midday”. This is a change that I have only recently brought into my own wellbeing regime and, just like quitting sugar, it did not take me very long to adjust at all. If you find yourself having a mid-afternoon slump go for a brisk walk, do some star jumps, have a strong peppermint tea (peppermint oil is very stimulating) or listen to your body and have a power nap (20 minutes max).
Similar to the relationship between sleep and food, the more you move your body, the better you will sleep. However, exercise is very stimulating so it’s actually not recommended to exercise too late in the evening. The problem is that moving your body raises your core body temperature and this will prevent you from falling asleep. If the evening is your only window to exercise then make sure you have a nice hot shower or bath before getting into bed, as this will pull the heat out of your core and into your extremities. Now that’s a hot tip!
What is going on around you when you are trying to sleep? Light is a key factor. We are genetically programmed to be awake in daylight hours and sleep in the darkness. The problem is that in the modern western world we have brilliant electrical lighting everywhere and we stay up way past sunset utilizing this! So the key tip here is to use light appropriately. When you get up in the morning throw those blinds wide open and go out into your day without your sunnies on! In the evening turn the lights down, use minimal lighting. Also a big caution against the blue light that is emitted by the screens we are all so addicted to. Turn your screens off an hour before you want to be asleep and when using them in the evening make sure you change the settings to ‘night time’ with red background lighting.
To get good sleep you want your brain to associate your bed with sleep. Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But, if you work in bed, watch tv in bed, eat in bed your brain starts to get confused about what it should be doing when you hit the sack. Easily solved, only use your bed for sleep! Ok, maybe one other thing!! And yes, sex can certainly help with falling asleep too, in fact, the male physiology is designed to induce sleep after orgasm – not telling you anything you didn’t already know, right ladies?!
Meditation is one of the key aspects of Being that I recommend to clients. Meditation rests your mind and body. Many scientific studies have shown that regular meditation improves the quality and quantity of sleep. So, don’t just sit there, meditate!
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