Healthy Sleep is, for many people, a problem. Here are five natural ways to improve your sleep.
As a nurse, I can say from my experiences that many people need a sleep aid, mostly sleeping medicine. They can’t fall asleep and can’t stay asleep. Over day they are not recovered enough.
If we don’t sleep for a long time, we will develop all kinds of problems. To deprive people of sleep has been used as torture in prisons. You can become crazy and completely disorientated in time and space.
Having a good night’s sleep is very important for your body and mind. You recover your body functions, and your energy will be restored. Your immune system will get stronger. Good sleep allows the brain to process new information. The muscle tissue will be repaired.
If you suffer longtime sleep deprivation, you may have a range of mental and physical problems, including your ability to think clearly, focus, react ( very dangerous when you are a participant in the daily traffic on the streets) and control emotions.
Chronic sleep deprivation has been shown to increase the risk of serious health conditions such as chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. All development of chronic diseases is affected by chronic sleep deprivation. It goes hand in hand with other critical lifestyle disbalances, like stress, wrong diet, not moving the body, not being grounded. They all weaken the immune system, reducing the body’s ability to fight off infections and disease.
How much Healthy Sleep do we need?
We are dependent on the circadian rhythm. This is a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake-cycle and repeats on each rotation of the Earth roughly every 24 hours.
It can refer to any biological process that displays an endogenous, entrainable oscillation of about 24 hours. A circadian clock drives these 24- hour rhythms, and they have been widely observed in plants, animals, fungi, and cyanobacteria. ( Wikipedia)
The term circadian comes from the Latin circa, meaning “around”( or “approximately”), and Diem, meaning “day.” The formal study of biological temporal rhythms, such as daily, tidal, weekly, seasonal, and annual rhythms, is called chronobiology.
Processes with 24 – hour oscillations are generally called diurnal rhythms; strictly speaking, they should not be called circadian rhythms unless their endogenous nature is confirmed. Endogenous means “built-in, “self-sustained.
How much sleep we need is depending on how old we are. Babies sleep 14 to 17 hours, older people often need only 5 hours, but the recommendation is 7 to 8 hours.
Certain factors influence how much sleep we’ll need. Genetics can determine how long we sleep. Our genes can also play a role in how well we respond to sleep deprivation, finally, in developing chronic diseases. The quality of sleep is important too. This means if we sleep without waking up during the night, we are, of course, refreshed and recovered the next day.
It is essential to how much we get done the day and how well we can cope with our daily tasks. I know people who are doing well on 5-hour sleep and others who need to sleep at least 8 to 9 hours to function well during the day.
Here are 5 ways to improve your sleep.
I said it already that we have a natural sleep-wake cycle called the circadian rhythm. By being in sync with that rhythm, we can easily improve our sleep to feel refreshed and healthy. It is crucial to have a good sleep routine. Improving your sleep routine will give you back a healthy sleep.
1. Avoid eating and drinking before going to bed
It is important to pay attention to what you eat and drink. Going to bed hungry or stuffed will give you discomfort and keeps you from falling asleep. In particular, avoid eating heavy or large meals within a couple of hours of bedtime.
Actually, the best is to stop eating after 7 pm. But that is not good for people with diabetes. They need to eat before going to bed a little protein snack.
Nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol need to be consumed with caution. It is better not to use them before going to bed. But if you need to drink a glass of wine, you should consume protein with the wine, for example, a bit of raw cheese.
The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine could keep you awake for hours and wreak havoc on quality sleep. Alcohol could disrupt your sleep later in the night. The body is working hard to get rid of the alcohol, and it could be that the liver, kidneys, and bladder wake you up because you need to go to the toilet. It is better to drink only herbal tea or plain water before going to bed.
2. Try to limit your stress level by moving your body
Stress accumulates throughout the day. If we don’t have an exercise routine like walking or yoga, we can’t get rid of the stress. Moving the body helps the body and mind. I have already written a blog about the connection between moving the body and brain health.
If we develop an exercise routine, we will sleep better at night. But we mustn’t be active close to bedtime. You can better do meditation before you go to bed or slow yoga movements.
Also spending a lot of time outdoors will improve your sleep very much.
3. Try not to sleep during the day
Many people need to do daytime naps to recover from a stressful morning. If you are a burnout sufferer, you could benefit from naps to recover your adrenal glands. It might help to reset your body. But it is always better not to take a nap, but maybe going for a little walk. It refreshes you, gives you a reset in your focus, and will help you perform better in the afternoon. Sleep should be for the night. Having a nap in the daytime might keep you awake at night.
4. Create a restful environment
It starts already before you go to bed. It is better not to watch television till late in the night and avoid movies that will strongly affect your emotions. They keep you awake. The body can’t get rid of all the adrenalin you have built up by watching a stressful movie.
If you need to check on your computer and read emails or other things, you could download software for free. It is called f.lux. This software warms up your computer’s display to match your indoor lighting. It makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day. It helps you sleep better. Try it out! It is for free!
To create a room that is ideal for sleeping. This means cool, dark, and quiet. Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, fans, or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs. The color green and blue is very calming. Leave your window open if you live high enough that nobody will climb into your house. The body needs oxygen, even during the night.
5. Ground yourself while sleeping
We all have electrical devices, a wifi modem, television in our house. I already wrote about the EMF’s danger in our environment and how important it is to be grounded. To protect yourself, you could switch off the wifi modem and leave the smartphone downstairs. You could put a grounding mat, sheet, or pillowcase into your bed. Try it out, and you will be amazed at how much your sleep will improve. It is really lifesaving to ground yourself. Please read my blog about grounding and watch the Earthing movie.
Healthy sleep will improve all of our body’s functions. Sleep is also vital to our brain functions, including how nerve cells(neurons) communicate. In fact, our brain and body stay remarkably active while we sleep. Recent studies let us see that sleep plays a housekeeping role that removes toxins in our brains that build up while awake.
One of the central functions of sleep is that it helps consolidate long-term memory; it seems to do it, not only through strengthening certain neural connections but also through pruning back unwanted ones.
Sleep deprivation helps to build up toxins that the body tries to get rid of during sleep. They are also responsible for the development of diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. The lymphatic system of the brain opens up at night, removing toxins while we are asleep. To refresh and recover and help our body and brain to perform their daily functions very well, we need to develop a good sleep routine to experience good quality sleep at night.
I would love to hear from you. Do you have problems falling asleep or stay asleep? Please let us know!
To your health,