Sleep is a natural human instinct. Sleep health is an essential component of natural self-healing.
Research studies have shown that all living things sleep. A Swiss research study indicated that gold fish, having been deprived of sleep for an extended period of time, would stay still for a protracted period of time to make up for its sleep deprivation; and that also applied to cockroaches. In other words, sleep deprivation would only lead to an increased need for sleep later, and all animals need sleep and instinctively know how to sleep. Man is no exception: sleep health is the essence of his being, without which there is no self-healing.
Unfortunately, sleep insomnia is one of the common sleep disorders. Many people not only have difficulty in getting natural sleep but also have to rely on sleep aid to help them sleep. Indeed, sleep insomnia is a growing health problem in modern society.
Sleep health is as important to the body as to the mind. Sleep health is mental health necessary for body-mind healing.
We all want to sleep, but not all of us sleep well, or know how to sleep for that matter. The science of sleep health is to know how to sleep well.
The Sleep Environment Affecting Sleep Health
To know how to sleep, you require a sleep environment that not only promotes natural sleep without any sleep aid, but also makes you sleep better.
• The temperature
Temperature affects your sleep, because your body temperature plays a pivotal part in the sleep process. Your body temperature changes according to your biological clock, which makes you want to sleep. Your body temperature rises in the early evening, and gradually cools down throughout the night until around 4 o'clock in the morning. Accordingly, the temperature of the bedroom and that of your bed must be optimum to induce natural sleep: that is, a temperature in the range of 62ºF (16º C) and 71º F (24º C); anything above or below that temperature range may cause restlessness that prevents good sleep.
• The humidity
Adjust the humidity of your sleep environment. A too-dry sleep environment may cause bronchial passages, leading to constant coughing, which interrupts deep sleep. To prevent dryness, place a bowl of water to humidify the bedroom environment, especially in winter with the heat on.
On the other hand, a too-humid bedroom causes dampness, which may raise your stress hormone levels. To avoid dampness, you may want to have your bed linen made from natural fabrics to help absorb any perspiration as well as to allow your skin to breathe more freely.
• The sound
The quality of sounds affects the quality of your sleep. Nerve impulses from surrounding sounds, picked up by your brain, may cause certain emotional connection that they could wake you up in the middle of the night.
Harsh background noise, such as the sound and vibration of heavy traffic, may disturb and interfere with your sleep, while gentle sounds of water may make you fall asleep fast.
• The light
Pay attention to the intensity and color of light in your sleep environment. If you are accustomed to or have acquired the habit of sleeping in a dark environment, then the intensity of light is critical to obtaining good sleep. Colors are also important to natural sleep. For example, blue and green colors are generally more relaxing, and thus more sleep promoting than red and yellow colors. Therefore, the use of drapes or shades, and bedroom decor can help you sleep better.
The Human Behavior Affecting Sleep Health
Human behavior can affect not only the sleep quality but also the ability to fall asleep and sleep well.
• Eating behavior
Eating increases your metabolic rate as well as your body temperature, which are critical factors in natural sleep. Body temperature dropping is conducive to good sleep. That explains why you should not eat at least three hours before going to bed. A high body temperature prevents you from falling asleep, not to mention the bloated feeling that may bother you if you eat too much before bedtime.
You may also have experienced sluggishness after a heavy lunch meal, but that doesn't mean you can actually go to sleep faster or sleep better. The explanation is that a heavy meal causes your brain to divert energy from your muscles to work with your digestive system. This may disrupt your brain activities, and thus preventing you from sleeping well.
Generally, it is better to eat smaller meals than to eat one heavy meal with one or two light meals in between. Eating too much at one meal stresses not just your digestive system but also your brain.
Your eating behavior also includes the types of food you consume during the day. Cheese, for example, is said to give nightmares because it contains tyramine, an ingredient in cheese that can elevate blood pressure. MSG (monosodium glutamate), a taste enhancer in most restaurant cuisines, may cause digestive upsets, heartburn, and headaches, which often interrupt natural sleep. Yellow tartrazine (E-102), often added to fizzy drinks, candies, and cookies, may increase hyper-activity that may prevent you from falling asleep fast. In short, foods that damage your health may also impair your sleep health.
• Drinking behavior
Many seniors have erroneously believe that if they drink too much, they need to frequent the bathroom more often, and thus may affect their sleep patterns. However, dehydration may adversely affect the brain, and hence the ability to sleep well at night. To improve sleep health, drink at least two liters of water a day, and drink it early in the morning so as to avoid bathroom trips at night.
• Addiction behavior
To sleep well, avoid smoking or drinking an alcoholic "nightcap."
Nicotine may relax your body and mind, and make you fall asleep faster. However, once the nicotine is metabolized, it will wake you up in the middle of the night. Research studies at the University of Pennsylvania indicated that smokers took twice as long to fall asleep as non-smokers. Quite smoking to benefit both physical and sleep health.
Drinking alcohol may be habit forming. If you have emotional problems, then you must deal with them, instead of using alcohol to obliterate them. If you really need a drink before bedtime, substitute your alcoholic drink with a hot milky drink or herbal drink.
• Physical Activities
Physical activities, which expand the natural range of movements, may help you sleep well. If your body remains too long in any one position, tension builds up in you muscles, and physical stress causes restlessness that prevents you to sleep well. Do pre-sleep stretch exercise to relax muscles and to relieve anxiety to make you sleep well.
But avoid any vigorous workout at least two hours before bedtime.
Meditation is an effective way to calm the body and mind to prepare you for natural sleep. Meditation releases any blocked energy that you may have inadvertently attached to any thought; by de-cluttering the mind, meditation helps you let go of any restless thoughts that prevent you to sleep well.
Visit my web page: Meditation Healing.
Given that sleep health is natural health for self-healing, do not take any sleep aid to make you fall asleep. If you are suffering from insomnia, there must be a health issue that needs to be addressed. Self-healing has to be wholesome.
Insomnia is a curse on self-healing. Use your mind power through subliminal messages to firstly ease your insomnia by targeting negative thoughts, distorted patterns of thinking, and blockages deep within your subconscious mind.
These subliminal messages help get you to sleep when you are struggling by relaxing your body, calming your mind and slowing your thoughts, and to ease you off to sleep.
In addition, these subliminal messages permanently rewire your subconscious mind to eliminate your insomnia forever. Insomnia Treatment may be the solution.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
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