If you’ve ever pulled a couple all nighters you know what sleep deprivation can do to your body. In addition to being exhausted your mind doesn’t work as clearly and your patience level is definitely diminished! You may think you can sleep late on the week end and that will make up for it. Wrong! You can’t catch up on sleep. Will there be irreparable damage? Probably not from this one incident. The body is an amazing machine capable of healing itself as long as you give it what it needs. However, if you punish it for prolonged periods of time it may just eventually say, “I give up!” Then you have problems. Some of the issues that can arise from poor sleep habits are increased risks of obesity, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes, the loss of brain tissue, worsened metabolic/thyroid problems, lowered sperm count, and memory problems. )
While good health can be defined as the absence of disease, wellness (our ultimate goal) is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well being. One of the essentials for wellness is proper amounts of sleep. The new and updated guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation (recommend that adults 24-64 get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Seniors 65 and over need 7-8 hours of sleep.
We live in a hectic, over-stimulated, and stress filled world. Many people are having major sleep issues. Either they can’t fall asleep or they can’t stay asleep.
Here are some basic suggestions that will help you get a good night’s sleep:
- Make sure the room is totally dark.
It’s all about the natural circadian rhythms. Get some bright light outside during the day (preferably mid day). Dim the lights in the evening.
- Do not have a tv, computer, or cell phone in the room.
Electromagnetic devices disrupt the production of melatonin and serotonin. Keep your alarm clock as far away from the bed as possible.
- Make sure the room is cool.
Keep it 70 degrees or below. Use an extra blanket if necessary.
- Do not take your worries to bed with you.
Remind yourself that you can’t do anything about it right now anyway. Take the Scarlet O’Hara from Gone With The Wind approach and tell yourself you’ll think about that tomorrow!
- Have 30-60 minutes of down time before going to bed.
Follow the same routine each night. Do not watch the news or a suspense movie just before bed. Instead try meditating or writing in a gratitude journal. Make sure you are actually going to bed early enough to get the proper amount of sleep.
- No alcoholic beverages before bed.
They actually are a stimulant!
- Take a magnesium supplement or massage your feet with a magnesium oil just before bed.
Magnesium is a most powerful relaxation mineral and according to Dr. Carolyn Dean, who has studied magnesium for 15 years, about 70% of the population is deficient. (
- Close your eyes and focus on your breath.
Notice your breath going in and your breath going out. When thoughts pop into your head just start over and focus. You will go to sleep.