Millions of people suffer from sleep deprivation each night. It is a huge issue facing our society as we are more over-worked and over-stressed than ever before which is compounded by the fact that we are not taking the time to relax, exercise or care for ourselves as much as is required. We consume unhealthy foods, are exposed to chemicals and pollutants, and we rush around all day wired up and plugged into the computerized electronic matrix which all contributes to a lack of rest and regeneration down time.
According to MedBroadcast, lack of sleep can cause : a weakened immune system, diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, and obesity. It can also lead to : fatigue, irritability, careless mistakes, difficulty concentrating, slower reaction times and increased stress.
Once upon a time I too used to have many sleep problems. I was unable to get a full night of restful peaceful sleep and I spent most nights unfulfilled tossing and turning at all hours. This lack of sleep caused many health and stress problems for me while my unhealthy work and toxic personal lives enhanced my lack of sleep. Combined, it was a double whammy which caused me real problems including the grinding down of all of my teeth, dark eye circles, hair loss, liver and adrenal fatigue and over all poor health and wellness.
Sleep is so vital for us. It is the body’s time for: reparation, relaxation, reintegration, rejuvenation, recuperation, rengeneration, refreshing, and restarting. Sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and is necessary for life itself. Most experts seems to suggest that we need between 7-9 hours of good continuos sleep.
My health started to soar once I got my life into balance and when I started to sleep well by following these 10 simple strategies:
1. Midnight Snacks : Stop eating or drinking 2 hours before bed. This will help you keep out of the restroom through the night and will allow your digestion system a much needed rest as well, thus providing a full body relaxation. This one strategy alone can drastically improve your quality of sleep.
2. Early Night : Dr. Gabrielle Cousens MD says that every minute of sleep before midnight counts as 2 minutes. The old saying about early to bed and early to rise is true. Try following the Sun’s schedule and you will thrive. (Side Note: I need to work on this one still…)
3. Water Hydration: Drink at least 8 large glasses of water each day. Staying hydrated will help you sleep better and will improve your overall health too. If you are dehydrated, your body will not relax. Durian Rider, the elite bicycle racer and a raw food coach, says that we should drink enough water each day to ensure that our urine is clear in color.
4. Low Stimulants: Keep the stimulation program to a minimum. This means back off of or better yet, eliminate the : coffee, tea, smoking, alcohol, drugs, pharmaceuticals, GMO, chemical exposure, pollution, pesticides, refined sugar, starches, candies, pop, condiments, sweeteners, soy, dairy and the like. Stimulating your body during the day will keep your body buzzing awake at night.
5. Daily Exercise : Keeping fit and strong will help you achieve a deep restorative sleep. 3 times per week of cardiovascular and 2 per week of strength work combined with daily yoga or stretching will rocket your health and sleep. Stanford University School of Medicine researchers studied the effects of exercise on sleep and found that exercise improved the conditions of insomnia.
6. Healthy Foods : Eating a of diet of mostly Raw, Whole, and Organic Fruits, Vegetables, Seeds, Nuts and Seaweeds will improve your sleep and your health too. Eating these easy to digest foods will allow your digestive system to rest and therefore allow your body to regenerate, rebuild and repair the other vital areas of the body instead of taking most of your energy for digestion. This change alone will drastically improve your health and provide a most restful sleep too.
7. Clear Head : If you can empty your head you can have a great sleep. Having the thoughts and stresses of the day swirling around inside is a certain way to keep you awake at night. Some great ways to get ready for bed with a clear mind is : Yoga, meditation, stretching, hot bath, reading, music, journalling, being organized, having a pen and pad nearby to jot any ideas, no TV, no internet, no telephone, no news or negativity before bed for at least 30 minutes. Basically creating a peaceful environment for your transition from human doing to human sleeping.
My good friends Ron & Nadine at Living Libations introduced me to Yoga Nidra guided meditation music and I listen to it each night at bed time to help me get a great peaceful deep sleep. Check out my favorites at the bottom of my Youtube Channel for the video.
8. Pillow & Bed : Comfortable and supportive bedding and pillows are essential for a restful nights sleep. Each person is different and it is important to find what works best for you. Some love their futons while others the super plush memory foam toppers. Either way try to find a bed, sheets and pillow combination which is chemical free and non toxic and one that supports your body. I like to have a pillow under my knees when on my back and between my knees when on my side. I also swear by my memory foam cervical travel pillow which I take with me everywhere.
In 2006, research conducted at Oklahoma State University found a drastically greater sleep with new mattresses that are comfortable and supportive : firm for those that sleep on their front or back and soft for those who sleep on their side. The Better Sleep Council recommends evaluating mattresses for replacement every 5-7 years.
9. Peaceful Waking : Often overlooked in the sleep quality discussion is the benefits of having a peaceful waking routine to help you start your day on “the right side of the bed”. A peaceful morning will get your entire day set up for you and will also help with the next nights sleep as well. Most of us jump out of bed and dive straight into the line of fire. The flight or fight syndrome takes over almost instantly and we are stressed from the second we awake.
Instead try taking at least 30 minutes for you to ground yourself and set the tone and intention for the day with : yoga, stretching, meditation, relaxing music, a hot bath or shower, exercise, make your bed and the like and avoid the internet, email, tv, news, negativity and telephone during these first 30 waking minutes. Each morning for the past several years, I have listened to meditation music several times while is start my day. Check out my favorites in my Youtube Channel at the bottom for the video.
10. Emotional Healing : Most of us bottle inside the emotional stresses and wounds in our lives and we do not properly address these issues on our own. This can lead to a very unrestful sleep as you toss and turn all night in worry mode. Some of us can adequately work through these emotions on our own, but if you are like me then finding a professional to help process the events of your life periodically from time to time can be super beneficial. Whether you speak with a doctor, counsellor, therapist, life coach, attend a workshop or seminar, you will likely gain a tremendous amount of benefit. Processing the past and present causes of anxiety and stress inorder to be more clear, present and worry free will create a huge improvement in your quality of life and sleep.
Dear Reader : What strategies work for you to get a great night sleep ?
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