Recently I posted a video about the common challenges regarding sleep and offered some tips to help address the issue. Even though poor quality of sleep is a common complaint in today’s society, many have actually accepted it as a being a part of their lives as something to be expected. I hear comments such as “I have never been a good sleeper” or “yeah, I don’t really need a lot of sleep”. Even though I do not dispute the fact that each individual may require a different amount of sleep, I do want to emphasis that minimizing the need for good quality sleep is detrimental to nurturing our wellbeing at so many levels.
Here are some things to consider:
Cognitively Beta-Amyloid build up – I once did a presentation based on the analogy that the same way many of us participate in a physical detox or cleanse, it was essential for us to find ways to commit to a periodical mental cleanse through meditation and breathwork. However, one aspect which I failed to mention then – which I did not want to do again – is the role sleep has to cleansing our brain. According to Dr. Walker who wrote the book “Why We Sleep” during deep sleep our brain goes through the elimination process of this protein. This is important to our wellbeing as beta-amyloid is linked to Alzheimer’s Disease when toxic levels are created.
Vocationally and Interpersonally- Memories are impacted. So much of the new information which is offered to us is missed or not retained. Obviously, this can impact our work as there is an expectation that we need to grow, advance and/or perform at a certain level. Being able to absorb new information is essential for that to happen successfully. Not to mention, our relationships. How frustrating is it to have to repeat a message to your partner 6,000 times, okay maybe not 6000 times, but you know what I mean. Poor sleep can impact our ability to communicate with our partners to the best of our best abilities. This Leads to conflict which then could possibly impact our sleep…the cycle continues.
Physically- Studies have linked poor quality and reduced duration of sleep correlates with a number of health conditions as it impairs our immune system. Our immune system becomes weaker preventing us from fighting off various environmental stressors we are exposed to each day. Furthermore, during our sleep, our heart rate is known to slow down and our blood pressure lowers. Think of it as a time of rest and repair; balance of all of our physiological symptoms need to continue to serve us well.
There has been a number of studies completed indicating that lack of sleep can impact appetite regulation and impair glucose metabolism, hence leading to weight increase. Furthermore, do you notice that when you are awake, you tend to nibble or are so tired the next day the thought of preparing healthy meals is out of the question. The aforementioned all contributes to weight gain and all the emotional challenges which comes with it.
Spiritually – When we sleep, our subconscious becomes busy and it starts to work on realigning our body, evaluating, repairing and nourishing our being. Being able to shift your attention from the physical world and towards the emotional and mental aspects of our being is essential. Dormancy is a vital part of the cycle of life. We all need rest to thrive; day turns into night, animals hibernate, the list goes on. You can view sleep as the platform in which things are re-synchronized so they can operate as nature intended.
If you really take a good look at the issues above, I think we can agree they all play a role in our emotional and mental health as it causes an imbalance in one or more aspects of our lives. For suggestions regarding how to attempt to improve your quality of sleep, please listen to my recent post here or view below for more practical tips when experiencing sleep disturbances. Nurturing Our Wellbeing involves taking small, significant steps towards a new direction. Why not start with improved sleep? Your body, friends and family will thank you for it. Your time Is N.O.W.
Here are some tips to consider. Feel free to share your experiences with other strategies and/or these suggested strategies.
- Embrace it. What I mean is do not stay in bed tossing and turning. Get up and do something you consider mundane. Bore yourself back to sleep. Avoid thinking “well I might as well use this time wisely and complete tasks which need to be completed” as this will cause more stimulation.
- Evaluate if you are engaging in the right physical activity and at the right time
- Reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake. Caffeine can create a feeling of being rested and nourished when in actuality you are the opposite. Hence, causing you to lose touch in how your natural body is trying to communicate with you.
- Avoid alcohol- It has been mentioned that many individuals may rely on alcohol to fall asleep as drinking alcohol produces adenosine, a sleep-inducing chemical in the brain. This causes us to experience quick onset to sleep. However, it subsides as quickly and this could cause sleep interruptions in the middle of the night, leading to feeling fatigued the next day.In addition, alcohol results in lower-quality sleep because it blocks REM sleep, which according to numerous research studies is often considered the most restorative type of sleep.
- Using specific smells which are known to induce sleep (i.e. lavender) are encouraged, however, not only is it the scent which helps, but it is also the routine. It causes an association to the scent to sleep, making it easier to fall asleep.
- Drink Organic Banana Peel tea. IF waking up to go to the bathroom is an issue, this might not be the best strategy.