A new study of 5666 healthy Americans released by the American Professional Sleep Society today revealed that getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night puts a person 4X at risk for a stroke. A stroke happens when there is decrease blood flow to the brain. Strokes are the 4th leading cause of deaths in the US. Our bodies regenerate and renew itself when we sleep so it’s important for our overall health to get a good night of ZZZZZZs.
It still amazes me that so many people have trouble sleeping. It’s like we are all type A personality people driven to take advantage of every waking moment. A few years ago I read a very extensive book on the topic of light and sleep Lights Out by T.S. Wiley. Since the invention of electricity we are able to stay up later. Prior to that people used candles and kerosene lamps which provided minimal light. Now we can stay up all night if we like listening to music, surfing the net, watching tv, etc.
Here’s a few tips to getting a better night sleep:
get up when the sun comes up (the book explains more in detail)
practice 10-15 meditation each day ( a time to quiet your mind, no thoughts, just focus on your breathing)
do not eat, drink or exercise 2 hours before bedtime
1 hour prior to sleep turn everything off and dim the lights (you can light a candle if you want)
Sleep is better than gold!! It can’t be bought, stored up or borrowed. It’s precious.
Humans have a natural circadian rhythm. We were made to sleep at night and be awake during the day. One of the roles of the hormone cortisol is to wake us up. It peaks about an hour before sunrise and falls in the evening when the sun goes down.
How can you improve your sleep and wake up feeling refreshed?
go to bed as early as you can and wake up as early as you can, keep in rhythm with daylight and nightfall
get sunlight into your eyes as soon as possible, step outside for a few minutes before you leave the house, open all the curtains, blinds or shades, turn on the lights in your house
do the reverse at night, keep lights low and noise low
make your bedroom as dark as possible, comfortable room temperature
stop eating at least 2-3 hours before bedtime
stay hydrated during the day,
practice living in the here and now, leave work problems at work, they don’t pay you when you get home so don’t give them any more of your time
30 minutes before bed, have a routine, listen to relaxing music, take a warm bath, read, write a letter, but no tv or internet
When needed take a natural supplement like Melatonin (short term), Valerian Root with passion flower, Sleepesssence™ or herbal teas, Kava Stress from Yogi™ or SleepyTime from Celestial Seasonings®.
The National Sleep Foundation has more great tips for getting a good night’s sleep. And Lights Out is one of the most informative books on sleep and how it relates to health conditions like diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.