Before the invention of the electric light, people slept when it was dark and got up with the sun. This meant they got differing amounts in summer vs. winter but they got an average of 9 to 10 hours a night.
Now we are lucky to get 7 hours!
Some people even consider it a “badge of honour” to get by on only a few hours sleep.
Sleep is essential for rest and repair. Our body’s systems reset and rebalance while we are asleep. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Physical repair is done between 10 pm and 2 am. Psychological repair between 2 am and 6 am. If you like to stay up late, you may be jeopardizing your health!
Symptoms of poor sleep include: difficulty finding words, coming up with ideas, coping with stress; lower mood, irritability, depression, reduced immune function. Do these sound familiar to you? If so, consider making it a priority to change your sleep habits.
7 Steps to Super Sleep
- Keep the bedroom dark and quiet, at a cooler temperature, and wear comfortable clothing (if any)
- Manage your stress levels. Take action to reduce the effect of stressful situations. This may mean changing your outlook about what’s happening (practice welcoming these challenges as lessons) or even letting go of some of them!
- Take time to “wind down” before bedtime – don’t eat or exercise too close, avoid alcohol and caffeine (which decreases melatonin) for at least 3 hours before, avoid anything disturbing or exciting on TV (most shows and certainly the news!)
- Practice meditation or restorative yoga to turn on your Parasympathetic Nervous System
- Maintain even blood-sugar levels throughout the day through low-Glycemic Load foods and clean nutrition habits
- Balance your minerals, supplementing with magnesium if needed
- Balance your sleep neurotransmitters—serotonin and melatonin. If necessary, supplement with 5HTP or melatonin. Melatonin is produced in the light-sensitive pineal gland, in centre of the brain (a.k.a. the “third eye”). Too much light means not enough melatonin, and your sleep will be disturbed. Consider not only wearing an eye mask but also cover your forehead to prevent light from penetrating to your third eye.
Make the effort to introduce new habits over time. Why not start this week by going to bed 15 minutes earlier and see how much better you’ll feel tomorrow?