How did you sleep last night?
I had a great night’s sleep, but when I woke up I thought about what a powerful effect a great night’s sleep has on your metabolism, and I wanted to share with you some ideas about how to get a better night’s sleep.
Now, my idea of a great night’s sleep is one in which you sleep soundly and wake fully refreshed and full of energy the next morning. During a great night’s sleep you rarely, if ever, think about your troubles, you don’t think about the news, and you usually fall asleep within 10 minutes of your head hitting the pillow (with positive thoughts in your mind).
Also, a key factor in determining if you had a great night’s sleep, is if you have ‘positive’ or ‘fun’ dreams. Because if your night is full of ‘bad’ or ‘stressful’ dreams then you’re most certainly tossing and turning all night, and you’re definitely NOT getting a “restful” sleep.
So, why is it so important to get quality sleep each and every night? Because your body and your mind break down and get worn out from stress during the day.
The only time that your body and your mind can actually repair themselves and rejuvenate, is when you’re sleeping. But it’s important to note here that “restful” sleep is the key. Tossing and turning all night or waking up every few hours is not considered restful sleep. I recently read an article that spoke about how snoring affects your sleep and your health. People who snore tend to disrupt their sleep, on average, 300 times a night.
Now think about it this way; if you’ve been stressed, or if you’re mattress sucks, or if you just plain haven’t been able to sleep well for the past few weeks (or months), then you haven’t given your brain or your body the time they needs to repair themselves.
So you actually start each and every day a little bit less focused, and less metabolically healthy than you did the previous day.
Don’t try to catch up on your sleep. People tell me all the time that they know that they don’t get enough sleep during the week, but they “catch up” on the weekends. Let me put an end to that myth right now. That doesn’t work!!! Your body and your mind need a regular sleeping pattern to repair and rejuvenate. Without it you’re actually deteriorating yourself rather than re-energizing yourself.
So what’s considered ‘enough sleep’?
Generally speaking, everyone should strive to get 8 hours of restful sleep. If you eat a very healthy diet and exercise properly, and give yourself a few mental breaks during the day, and if you sleep like a baby and awaken fully refreshed every day, then you might be the type of person who can get away with less sleep, maybe 6 hours each night.
On the other hand, if you have extraordinary levels of stress each day (mental or physical), then you’ll need more than 8 hours. A marathon runner for example, tends to put his/her body through a lot of stress each day. That person needs more than just 8 hours because their body needs more repair time than normal. The same is true for the person going through massive mental stress.
So what can you do to help facilitate a better night’s sleep for yourself and those around you?
Here are 10 Helpful Hacks to Getting a Good Nights Sleep
1. Make a list of what you need to do the next day, write it all down and keep that paper and pen near your bedside in case you think of anything else you need to do. When you write things down you’re giving your brain the signal that it no longer needs to think about those tasks.
2. Don’t watch television or listen to the radio (especially the news) before retiring for the night – and definitely don’t fall asleep with the TV on.
3. Read some inspirational or self-growth material for at least 30 minutes prior to bed. Your goal is to fill your mind with inspirational thoughts before falling asleep so that the last thoughts you have before drifting off are uplifting thoughts, as opposed to the stressful thoughts that most people fall asleep thinking about.
4. Make sure the room that you’re sleeping in is as dark as possible. The body is made to sleep when it’s dark out, the darker the room, the more potential for a deep sleep.
5. Make the room as quiet as possible. Turn off all electronic devices and ask others in the house to be as quiet as they can be.
6. Don’t eat for at least 3 hours before going to bed (Lord, I struggle with this one). When there’s undigested food in the stomach, your body is forced to focus on digesting that food rather than being focused on repairing your body and mind, which is what sleep is all about! The body was designed to digest food best while moving, not while lying down.
7. Try to go to bed at about 10:00 pm and awake at about 6:00 am. In Ayurvedic medicine, it’s believed that there are cycles that are the most conducive for certain activities. Going to bed at 10:00 pm and waking up at 6:00 am appears to allow the body to rest the deepest, rejuvenate the most, and give you the most energy for the day.
8. Don’t take drugs or vitamins/herbs that are supposed to help you sleep (unless required by your doctor). Most of these artificial sleeping aids do nothing more than deaden your senses. The goal of ‘sleep’ is to give your body the time and means to repair itself and prepare for the coming day. When you drug yourself to sleep, every system in your body is slowed down, including all those systems that are responsible for repairing you.
9. Make sure that there’s a fresh air supply in the room. The air indoors is said to be some of the most toxic air around. When you sleep, you’re only able to breath in the air that surrounds you in your enclosed bedroom. Try opening a window (if it’s cold outside then just open the window a crack). The fresh air that comes in while you sleep will help your body repair itself because you’ll have access to cleaner, more oxygenated air.
10. During the day, do 60 minutes of mild exercise. If you don’t have time to do 60 minutes in a row, then break it up into 2 – 30 minute sessions, or 3 – 20 minute session, or 6 – 10 minute sessions. Just get a full 60 minutes in. The best exercise when talking about general health and preparing your body for a great night’s sleep is walking.
Here’s to the best night’s sleep tonight and every night 🙂