Have you had a restful and relaxing festive period? Many of us will not have done so despite it being a holiday period. But fear not, 3 January is the Festival of Sleep Day. With New Year falling on a weekend for many of us this is the last day of the holiday period before plunging back into the chaos of normal work and family life. So take some time to catch up on sleep.
The fundamentals of sleep are timeless and largely stay the same regardless of social convention, fashion or technology. Sleeping is the body’s time to rest and restore itself. Insufficient sleep will affects your mental and physical well-being. It’s also an incredibly effective way to help you deal with stress, recover from illness and, even, to creatively solve problems. As Thomas Dekker (English Elizabethan era Writer) said, “Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together”.
Sleep comprises of several stages – Awake, Light sleep, Deep sleep and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. It is during REM sleep when we have our most vivid dreams and is very important for memory and mood. We are lightly asleep for most of our night sleep and it promotes restoration. Deeper sleep supports learning and memory. If you wake feeling especially refreshed, it’s likely you got lots of deep sleep.
In these modern, busy, times it’s not always easy to get a good night’s sleep. So, here are some tips that might help. Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule – go to bed at roughly the same time each night. The more active you are during the day, the better night’s sleep you will have. Avoid alcohol, stimulants (such as caffeine), sugar and too much fluid before sleep. Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, comfortable, not too warm and well ventilated.
Finally, a word about light. Accurate time keeping using clocks, watches and mobile devices is a very recent invention in turns of human development. The Circadian Rhythms of our bodies pick up cues from the environment to determine what time of day it is and what activities to carry out. Getting the wrong cues can fool the body into thinking its time to wake up when you want to sleep.
So, try to make sure you are exposed to sunlight during the day and especially early in the morning. Expose yourself to nature light as much as possible during the day. Make sure your sleep area is as dark as possible. Try not to put the light on if you wake in the night for any reason. Avoid artificial light and blue light (such as from mobile phones and computers) especially before bed time. This light trick the body into thinking its dawn and suppresses the release of melatonin (an important sleep hormone).
Hypnotherapy can help with sleeplessness and other sleep disorders. If you or someone you know needs help with this contact me.