by Michele Carelse on February 22nd, 2011 at 7:00 am
“Don’t fight with the pillow, but lay down your head. And kick every worriment out of the bed.” ~ Edmund Vance Cooke
In terms of balance and harmony, it is vital to rest as much as you are active. The body needs time to re-charge and this is done while we sleep. Until recently, scientists thought that the brain mostly shut down during sleep, but studies have shown that brain activity actually speeds up during sleeping hours. This can be seen during REM (Rapid Eye Movement), when our bodies twitch and our eyes move rapidly behind the lids.
One theory, similar to a computer, is that anything we learn during a day is sorted into info to keep and info to disregard. In this way, information is filed away by the brain into the proper ‘folders’, or moved to the recycle bin. Behavioral research supports this theory, but sleep is still largely a mystery.
One thing is for certain: we need sleep! A lack of adequate rest and sleep has been linked to a greater risk in health-related problems, both physical and mental. Sleep disorders are on the rise, possibly due to modern stressors and daily pressures, bad nutrition and poor inter-personal relationships. Once again, this demonstrates the inter-connectivity of the mind and body with a holistic approach to health – and how one aspect can create a domino effect and lead to an imbalance in body systems.
- Stick to specific times of waking up and going to bed – no matter what day of the week, including weekends. This will regulate your internal sleep-wake cycle.
- Avoid eating your last meal too close to bedtime, and avoid liquids late in the evening.
- Avoid smoking and all stimulants 8 hours before going to bed. This includes caffeine in coffee and fizzy drinks. Alcohol can also disrupt sleep cycles.
- Exercise during the day can help to relax the body and eliminate stress, helping to promote restful sleep (for some, exercising too close to bed time may have the opposite effect).
- Make your bedroom a quiet place that is as comfortable as possible. Use earplugs if noise is an issue, or blackout curtains if you need total darkness.
- Avoid sleeping during the day, as this may limit nighttime sleep. If you have to nap, do so for half an hour (maximum) in the afternoon.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable and suited to your needs. Avoid sharing with pets and children if it is very disruptive.
- Create a ‘winding down’ routine that you follow each night. This could include a bath by candlelight, soft music, dimmed lights or a glass of warm milk.
- Go to bed as soon as you feel tired. If you are still awake after 15 minutes, get up and do something until you are tired again; avoid lying in bed tossing and turning, as this could make matters worse!
When to Seek Help
While the occasional sleepless night is fairly common, if you continuously struggle to fall asleep on a regular basis, consult with your doctor – you may be suffering with a sleep disorder such as insomnia, sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome. There are both conventional and natural remedies that can help to regulate healthy sleep patterns and get you back to a good night’s rest.
Many herbs and ingredients found in nature can help to create a firm basis for healthy sleep and adequate rest. There are natural ingredients that can naturally support healthy sleep patterns, and help the body and mind to wind down naturally – such as Hypericum perforatum. Natural herbs come without the addictive sedatives that conventional sleep aids often utilize. There are also natural remedies out there that can be used on a regular basis to promote pre-sleep relaxation in a gentle, safe manner.
Triple Complex Sleep Tonic™ is a homeopathic remedy that reduces sleeplessness associated with insomnia, and increases drowsiness for better sleep
SerenitePlus™ is an herbal remedy that promotes sustained peaceful, restful nights and healthy sleep patterns