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How is Sleep Related to Mind and Body?
There has been a considerable amount of research that has linked sleep deprivation and sleep related disorders to be the cause of health problems like cardiac diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, cognitive impairment, obesity and a weakened immune system. Sleep deprivation has also been linked to mental disorders like anxiety, ADHD and depression. The reason behind this is simple: Our body needs a specific amount of sleep during a specific time frame to rejuvenate and repair itself, which is backed by our circadian rhythm. It naturally instructs us to stay awake during the day and fall asleep at night. During the sleep hours of the night, the body starts performing different physiological processes to repair itself. That is main the reason sleep deprivation and sleeping at the wrong times every day can lead to problems.
Getting good quality sleep is no easy task in today’s day and age because of how fast-paced life has becom. It is especially hard for those already suffering from insomnia. But, fear not, I have put together some tried and tested strategies to make sure that you have a peaceful night full of sweet dreams.
1- Avoid Smoking or Drinking
Of course by drinking we do not mean abstaining from liquids altogether.This just means staying away from alcoholic beverages. Both smoking and drinking affect your brain and are likely to disrupt your sleep. Nicotine keeps you alert and over stimulated, contributing to a disruptive sleep throughout the night. If you must smoke or drink, avoid doing it at least 4-5 hours before your bedtime.
2- Keep Electronics Out of the Bedroom
Show your electronic devices the door for a restful nights sleep. Avoid taking your laptop, iPad or mobile phone to bed with you. In fact, avoid using any kind of electronic device in bed. Even watching TV in bed can over stimulate your mind and make it difficult for you to fall asleep. If you must take your mobile with you to bed, turn its night mode on and place it on silent so that it does not disturb your beauty sleep.
3- Relaxing Exercises
You can also do some light yoga exercises or relaxation and stretching exercises to help calm your body and mind before bed time. Breathing exercises before getting in bed are also a good idea.
4- Avoid Heavy Meals
Avoid consuming heavy meals at least 3 to 4 hours before bed time. Once you eat, your body’s metabolic rate rises, making it difficult for you to fall asleep.
5- Essential Oils
Essential oils can help contribute towards a peaceful sleep. Taking a warm bath before bed with your favourite essential oils can help you relax and sleep peacefully. It is also a good idea to spray a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow.
6- Set a Schedule
Another great way to cure insomnia and get good quality sleep is by setting a fixed bed time routine. This will enable your brain to associate that routine with bed time and will make it easier for you to fall asleep. Setting a schedule can include; taking a warm bath before bed time, reading a good book, brushing your hair, changing into your Pj’s etc.
7- Set a Calm Environment
Pull the curtain and set the scene a few hours before bedtime and make sure that there is nothing distracting in your room environment. Keep the lights dim. As mentioned before, you can also use aromatherapy oil scents to help you relax.
8- Don’t Drink Fluids Right before Bed
This is a no brainer. The more water you take in, the more toilet breaks you will require. Be sure to avoid drinking large quantities of water at least 3 hours before bed time. The less your bladder functions during the night, the more peacefully you will sleep.
Eugene Gabriel has his BSc (Hons.) Degree in Psychology and has always been fascinated by the effects of good quality sleep, or the lack of it on human productivity and overall well-being. He has helped thousands of individuals suffering from sleeping problems by teaching them about the healthy changes they need to make in their lifestyle in order to sleep peacefully. Read his post on sleep myths and facts. You can also follow him on twitter @eugenegabrielj.