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Given that we spend almost a third of our lives sleeping, it’s hard to believe that the topic has only gained a large scientific following in recent years.Each individual has different sleep requirements. It has been believed that people need less or more sleep, but recent studies have kind of disproved that. Recent studies show that anything less than seven and a half hours can begin to build up on a person, creating a sleep debt.

Because of this accumulating sleep debt phenomenon,I strongly recommend that everyone gets at least eight hours of sleep per night. In the morning, the sleep is deeper, and dream cycles are more intense. During this time, the body and mind regenerates even more. In support of this, studies indeed show that children who start school at 10 a.m. are at least one-third more productive than those who start at 8:30 am.

Studies also show that if people miss at least one hour of sleep, meaning they sleep six or seven hours instead of eight, they will accumulate a sleep debt and will not perform as well. What’s even more amazing is that when you question those who sleep just an hour less for two or three days consecutively, they believe they are in top shape, while they really aren’t. If you ask them, “Do you think you perform well?” they all answer, “Yes, I am in my best shape,” but tests reveal that these individuals underperform. It’s just a false impression that you will do okay with less sleep.

It is best to go to sleep early, at the same time each day. Sleep for eight hoursin a dark room where there are no electronics. Melatoninwill help not only your sleep but also your immune function and endocrine system.Take at least one milligram for every decade of your life; if you are 55, take at least 5 mg or more before bed.

Your body is fascinating, but your mind is even more so. Undergo an experiment and try telling your body to wake up at a certain time, before the alarm sounds in the morning,and you will be surprised to find that your body will obey. I actually recommend avoiding alarm clocks, as they are a very disturbing way to wake up and may stir you from an important sleep cycle, leaving it unfinished. It is better to wake up by yourself without any help.

Scientists say sleep between 10 pm and midnight is the most refreshing. It is also important, as there is less dreaming in this initial part of the night. Do not stay up late, especially on the computer or working. Avoid disturbing or intense movies that lodge weird messages in your subconscious mind.

13 Suggestions for a Good Sleep… and 13 Backups

1. Sleep in complete darkness. Even a very little amount of light can disrupt sleep by affecting the capacity of melatonin secretion of the pineal gland. This includes light that reaches any part of the body, as it does not have to reach the eyes in order to affect sleep. Avoid continuous nightlights and rely on motion-controlled lights if you get up occasionally at night to use the restroom. Your bedroom window dressings should include blackout drapes.Avoid prolonged artificial light at night. Our ancestors were in tune with natural daylight and followed the rhythms of nature. Artificial light, especially neon or fluorescent, disrupts the body and predisposes us to illness.

2. Keep no electronics in your bedroom, even if they are turned off. You should especially avoid placing a television set in your bedroom, and clocks and other devices should also be eliminated from your resting space. The best suggestion is an LED clock that only illuminates when pressed and remains lit for a few seconds, and all ticking clocks should be avoided.

3. Use bedroom only for sleeping. Do not watch television or read for any prolonged period of time in bed or before bed.

4. Use melatonin or other natural, herbal sleep aids. Take 1mg of melatonin for every decade you have lived. For instance, if you are fifty-five, take at least 6mg; if you are seventy-two, take at least 8mg.

5. What you eat and how much you eat is important and will affect your sleep. Have your last meal of the day several hours before bedtime. A light, mostly vegetarian dinner is best; in fact, those who suffer from night sweats should avoid all meat and animal products after lunch. It is also important to avoid snacking before bed.

6. Go to bed early. Studies show that early sleep, between ten p.m. and one a.m., is the most refreshing and healthy.

7. Go to sleep and wake up on a schedule, about the same time every day. Develop a pattern or rhythm that is natural for you and easy to keep.

8. Have a bedtime routine. Enjoy something pleasant to cool off from the stress of the day. The time before you go to sleep is a powerful time for affirmations, visualizing goals, practicing gratitude, or saying prayers.

9. Put your work or intense tasks to rest at least two hours prior to bedtime. This will give your mind time to unwind so you will be better prepared for restful sleep that will not be interrupted by the pressures of work and the stresses of life. Avoid information overload.

10. Keep your bedroom at a cool temperature. Ideally, you should maintain 73 degrees Fahrenheit. Your body heat naturally reduces while you sleep, and higher temperatures or stale, stagnant air can disrupt sleep. Refresh your room before sleep by opening the windows for a bit. Some studies also show that keeping the feet warm by wearing socks helps to improve sleep.

11.Avoid over-stimulation of the mind before bed. It is best to avoid any entertainment or educational programs that cause your mind to think too much. Avoid action or horror movies and especially the evening news, as these can be detrimental. Before bedtime, your mind is like a sponge. It absorbs ideas that will be subconsciously implanted, and these will not only have a great influence on your sleep but also on your overall mental health. Thus, be careful what you expose your eyes and thoughts to before you go to sleep.

12. Avoid stimulants like caffeine. Sensitive people and those with sleeping problems should avoid caffeine during the day. In these individuals, even one cup of coffee at any hour can disrupt sleep during the night.

13. Exercise is important. Incorporate a daily exercise routine into your schedule. This is healthy overall, and it will help you sleep better at night, but don’t exercise right before sleep.

If the above do not help improve your sleep, you can also try these:

1. Check with your doctor. Illness and medications can adversely affect sleep.

2. Sleep with your head at the north.

3. Be sure your bedroom door is in your field of vision and not behind your bed.

4. Check your bedroom for electromagnetic fields. Home EMF meters are widely commercially available.

5. Consider separate bedrooms if your spouse is too restless or snores.

6. Do not drink too much fluid or any alcohol a few hours before bedtime. This will minimize bathroom interruptions at night.

7. Snacks before bed are not recommended; however, you can try some honey or a tryptophan-rich snack if necessary.

8. A hot bath, shower, or sauna may help you relax before you lie down.

9. If complete darkness is not possible, use a sleep mask/blindfold to block out light. Consider earplugs if you have to sleep in a noisy environment.

10. While reading stimulating works such as mystery and suspense novels will have the opposite effect, reading something spiritual or uplifting may help set your mind at ease for restful sleep.

11. Consider techniques like the emotional freedom technique (EFT), in which gentle tapping can solve many problems. You can learn more about EFT and other helpful techniques on the internet.

12. Losing excess weight can have a very positive impact on sleep, as those who are at a better weight will less often be interrupted by cramps, back pain, and achy joints and muscles.

13. Check your hormones. If all of the above methods fail to help you achieve restful sleep, seek a competent integrative physician who can provide bio identical hormone combinations tailored to your individual needs. For instance, insufficient progesterone is known to disrupt sleep. Remember to avoid non-bio identical hormones.

Summary

  • Sleep is paramount to overall wellness.
  • Sleep at least 7.5 – 8hours a night.
  • New studies show that people who sleep less than 8hours experience impaired performance the next day, even if they do not realize it.
  • Sleep debt accumulates.
  • Sleep is when the body recovers; when debris is cleaned up; when memories are classified, sorted, and stored;and when the immune system regenerates.
  • It is good to wake up without an alarm, in the right sleep cycle. The morning hours of sleep are regenerating.
  • Sleep in the dark, without electronics, in a comfortable but not very soft bed. Have an evening routine, and keep your TV in another room.
  • Use melatonin for sleep and for other important functions, 1mg per decade of life.
  • Do not eat too much in the evening. Avoid meat and heavy meals.
  • Sometimes coffee disturbs sleep, even one cup in the morning for sensitive people.