How To Get Your Most Restful Sleep At Night
How To Get Your Most Restful Sleep
One third of our lives is spent asleep. The moment we get some shut-eye and slide into the bliss of slumber, a whole chain of functions start to take place in our bodies. Our body is like a factory and works like one (imagine that?), awake and asleep, performing numerous functions at a time. It is our job to keep the machine “well-oiled” all the time, so to speak….. The body begins its night-shift when we sleep. Sleep is a restorative process for the cells. Sleep lowers the body temperature; we burn more calories during the day when we are active. The burn rate is reduced and calories are saved when body temperature is lowered. Listed below are the main processes that take place when we sleep:
- Healing and restoration of damaged cells
- Boosting of the immune system
- Recharging of the cardiovascular system and heart for next day
- Recovering and resting from the activities of the day
We all are well aware of the value of a good night’s sleep because with it, we wake up feeling fresh and energized. Ready to conquer the new day that is ahead of us. When we don’t sleep well, we feel lethargic and fatigued the next day. There is no doubt that sleep is extremely important, more so than most people realize. It requires our cooperation to get sound sleep more consistently and thus, prevent sleeping disorders. When an individual gets less sleep than needed to feel sharp, alert and awake, he is sleep deprived. The human body attempts to even out the need for sleep after 16 hours of being awake. With upset sleep, brain gains sleep via short sleep attacks that are called micro-sleeps. It tends to be an uncontrollable brain response that leaves a person unable to understand and process the sensory and environmental information for some time. These will be recurring, even with the attempts to stay awake, as it’s an inbuilt sleep mechanism.
Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation
Though main symptom is feeling excessive sleepiness during the daytime, other symptoms include:
Moodiness, fatigue, yawning, forgetfulness, depressed mood, irritability, lack of motivation, unable to concentrate, increased appetite, increased dependence on caffeinated drinks, clumsiness along with cravings for carbs (sweet food, drink etc.)
While on the subject of symptoms of sleep deprivation, it is also essential to point out that it can actually be due to an unrecognized sleep disorder. You may not feel refreshed or restored after a full night’s sleep and have no inkling that you have a sleep disorder. This lack of awareness could complicate things as people remain undiagnosed for many years. Sleep interruptions can be annoying for sure; but chronic lack of sleep can lead to poor job performance, emotional difficulties, along with many diseases.
Diseases Caused By Sleep Deprivation
Sleep is extremely important for efficient functioning of the body. Following are the diseases caused by sleep deprivation:
- Obesity: When a person is unable to get sufficient sleep, there is high risk of weight gain. Sleep deprivation is now being named as a potential risk factor for obesity with the two common risks factors of overeating and laziness (having a sedentary lifestyle). Our bodies secrete hormones that control appetite, process glucose and energy metabolism during sleep. Little sleep upsets the entire balance of these hormones, resulting in continued food cravings, even after consuming enough calories.
- Heart Disease & Hypertension: Blood pressure can elevate even with short periods of inadequate sleep. Patients with hypertension could have high blood pressure the whole day if they don’t sleep well for just one night. Sleeping too little or too much increases risk of heart disease in women. People with sleep apnea also wake up at night due to closing of airways and may already have high blood pressure upon waking up.
- Diabetes: Inadequate sleep leads to type 2 diabetes and influences the way glucose is processed in the body. Adults who normally sleep less than five hours per night happen to have high risk of developing diabetes eventually.
- Mood Disorders: Having a night of poor sleep can make people feel irritated, testy, jumpy, erratic, unfocused and moody the next day. Chronic insufficient sleep leads to long-term mood disorders. In fact, it has been correlated with anxiety, depression and mental distress.
- Beauty: Chronic lack of sleep can also cause dark circles, puffy eyes, bigger than normal eyebags and a general look of tiredness & “tired skin”. Sometimes, the best make-up can actually be a fantastic, uninterrupted sleep. You wake up with a rested, glowing look in the morning. Remember that your skin is the biggest organ in the body. It, like all our other organs, needs time to rejuvenate.
Tips to Get a Restful Sleep
Sleep is a more often overlooked component for a healthy life. To achieve that, it makes it absolutely necessary that one gets a restful sleep no matter what age. Here are some helpful tips for you to get your zzz’s at night and get them more consistently:
- Sleep Schedule: Make a sleep routine and stick to it. Go to bed and get up at the same day every day of the week. Yes, even on weekends and holidays, as well. Having a consistent sleep routine allows you to have better sleep-wake cycle and better sleep. Your body has an internal clock that keeps tabs of when you wake up and when you sleep.
- Cautious Eating and Drinking: Do not go to bed either stuffed from dinner or still starving. You shall be uncomfortable in both situations and that will keep you up. Limit how much you drink during dinnertime when possible, so you don’t have to make trips to the toilet. If you are too full to sleep, take a walk around your house or outside your apartment for 10-15 minutes. If you are hungry, drink some water first. If you are still hungry after that, then eat food that can actually induce sleep like banana, warm milk or a handful of nuts, including almonds.
- Caffeine: Our bodies’ response to caffeine changes as we get older. When I was in my 20’s and 30’s, I could down a very strong cup of coffee after dinner and have no problems falling asleep after an hour or so. Nowadays, in my 40’s, I tend to have my last cup of caffeinated drink by 5 pm. Otherwise, it can impede on my ability to fall asleep at night. Strangely, sometimes it doesn’t affect me, but more often than not, it does.
- Create a Ritual: Repeat the same things each night so that your body knows it’s time to rest and wind down. It could be taking a warm bath, listening to soft music, doing your evening meditation, reciting your prayer, writing on your gratitude journal or reading a book. Relaxing activities help you to sleep better, easing the transition between being awake and sleepiness. My go-to routine is drinking Turmeric-Ginger w Honey & Calamansi after dinner, meditation, bathroom ritual, evening prayers and writing on my Daily Gratitude Journal.
- Comfortable Environment: Your surroundings should be ideal for sleeping. Cool, dark and quiet room with dim lighting, comfortable bed that is neither too firm or too soft and a pillow that adjusts to your neck & body. You could try this complimentary combination of Body-Adapting Powder Pillow and Himalayan Salt Crystal Lamp (the lamp is a calming daytime light also when turned on full blast). The pillow shapes according to contours of your body while the lamp on dim light sets the mood for a much more deep & peaceful sleep.
- Physical Activity: Regular sleep activity can help you to fall asleep faster. Some people’s bodies like exercising in the evenings because it allows them to sleep right away, once their head hits the pillow. Others, meanwhile, are kept up after exercising at night for a few more hours. They become wired with late in the day exercising. If you are the latter, I suggest you do a 5 to 10 minute breathing exercises (inhale five counts, exhale five counts) before you go to sleep to lower your heart rate.
- Manage Stress: Sleep is likely to suffer if your mind is buzzing with an endless list of things you are thinking about and have to do. Try some healthy ways to manage stress so that you get peace of mind. You could begin with the basics like setting priorities of the most urgent tasks of the day, getting organized with a list and whenever possible, delegating tasks that someone can do for you, just as well. Allow yourself to take a break once in a while to refresh your mind & your body.
- Gadgets: Our electronic gadgets ranging from mobile phones, tablets, laptops emit a blue light that interferes with our sleep patterns. Research suggests that a ban on these gadgets for at least one hour before bedtime is ideal in helping us get to sleep without interruption.
Sleep is a precious commodity for most people and beneficial to one’s overall health. Let’s learn how to sleep better and wake up ready to conquer the new day filled with endless possibilities!
Make it natural, make it easy,