Okay, and Hello!
Let’s wrap up this section on sleep so you can get to bed!
Please keep in mind there is soooooo much research and information available on sleep and how it relates not only to a person’s circadian rhythm but also his ability to flourish and prosper in life!
This next section is taken directly from Matthew Walker’s book, Why We Sleep.
I will try to paraphrase where I can, and again encourage you to buy the book and read it for yourself. Yes, it is a long read, but so is being miserable and shortening your life by not being able to sleep properly!
It should be noted that 12 Tips of Healthy Sleep, comes from the National Institutes of Health Medline Plus website.
- Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. If a person needs an alarm to wake up each morning, he should have one telling him it’s time to go to bed each night!
- Do not exercise too late into the day. Exercise 30 minutes each day, but no later than 2-3 hours before bed.
- Avoid caffeine and nicotine. It can take over 8 hours for the effects of caffeine to wear off. Late afternoon coffee or smoke could mean you won’t be able to fall asleep until after midnight!
Nicotine causes smokers to sleep lightly and wake early from nicotine withdrawal.
- Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed. Alcohol can rob a person of REM sleep, impair breathing and cause a person to wake in the middle of the night when the alcohol wears off.
- Avoid large meals and beverages late at night. One should stop ALL eating at least 2-4 hours before bed. Too much fluid, too many trips to the bathroom
- Avoid medicines that delay or disrupt sleep, if possible. Even OTC medications and natural, herbal remedies can interfere with sleep. Find out if you are having trouble.
- Don’t take naps after 3 p.m. It makes it harder to fall asleep.
- Relax before bed. Make time to unwind in the evening. Reading or listening to music might help.
- Take a hot bath before bed. This can help drop your body temperature and make you feel sleepy.
- A dark, cool gadget-free bedroom is best. Get rid of anything that could distract you with noise or light. Ideally, the bedroom should be around 65 to 70 degrees! ( I know… I am researching portable evaporative coolers that can do so with very little electricity.) Also, don’t leave a clock facing where you can look at the time- this can cause a lot of angst when trying to get to sleep.
- Have the right sunlight exposure. Daylight is key to regulating sleep patterns. Get as much natural sunlight during the day as possible. Sleep experts recommend that if a person has trouble falling asleep they should get an hour’s exposure to morning sunlight, and turn down the lights in the evening before bed.
To this, one should also turn off ALL screens at least a half-hour before bed. The blue light from the screens and household lighting tell your brain it is morning! Kind of hard to fall asleep if your brain thinks it is time to wake up.
- Don’t lie in bed awake. If you find yourself still awake after staying in bed for more than 20 minutes, get up and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy. Stress and anxiety about not falling asleep do not help.
Okay, well that’s the 12.
Another point that wasn’t mentioned is that a person should give themselves an 8-hour sleep opportunity each night. If you know you need 8 hours of sleep, but you go to bed at midnight and have to get up at 5 a.m., how are you going to get 8 hours? Should have gone to bed at 9 p.m.
Okay, we will leave it at that for sleep.
Again, either get Walker’s book or watch his YouTube and TED talk videos. Lots of great information.
You can always talk to me if you have any questions. Just because I didn’t write a 100-page blog on the subject doesn’t mean I don’t know my stuff!
Okay, next blog we will talk about light!
Nighty- night… have sweet dreams!
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