15th March 2018 is World Sleep Well Day – 11 tips for a good night sleep for Mind, Body & Soul
Do you sleep well?
A good night’s rest is an essential component for your health and well-being. We all know the feeling when we wake up in the morning after a very short night with just a few hours of sleep. Some of us are just tired, some are really grumpy and most don’t feel up to do any tasks at all. Research has shown that an interrupted sleep cycle or sleep deprivation lead to severe stress symptoms after only 48 hours.
A normal sleep cycle consists of light and deep sleep stages (= orthodoxical sleep) and REM sleep (= paradoxical sleep). The change of different sleep stages allows different parts of the brain to rest at different times. A minimum of 4 hours of uninterrupted (!) sleep is necessary to keep us going. Just like the late Margaret Thatcher whose minimal sleep schedule has passed into lore. However, to endure such a high-powered life is not for everyone and will eventually takes its toll on our health. Between 7 and 9 hours is considered to be an appropriate sleep duration for adults, children and teenager need slightly more, only from about 65 years we need less sleep.
There are usually two different reasons for lack of sleep:
- The most common cause of sleep deprivation: we have trouble falling asleep.
- In rare cases: an interrupted sleep cycle (usually caused by a dysfunctional change between orthodoxical and paradoxical sleep).
Good news is that we can train and adjust our sleeping habits, and we have summarized some methods for you to try out and find what works best for you to have a restful night:
Calming the mind with Anke
- “What-went-well” Exercise: In order to generate a positive mood before you go to sleep, set aside 5 – 10 minutes before you switch off the lights and write down 3 things that were really good today and why they were really good. Use a journal or a computer to write the events down; it is important to have a physical record. These “blessings” don’t need to be very important but they can be. For each positive event, write down why this happened, e.g. your partner bought ice cream and you might write “because she is very thoughtful” or “because I called her from work and reminded her to stop by the farm shop”.
- A positive outlook: When you are in bed, think about an event you are looking forward to tomorrow. It can be anything that makes you happy, from a good cup of coffee, freshly ground (can you smell it, too?), to a walk in the park with a friend. Hold and enjoy the thought for while.
- If your mobile is the last thing you check before you go to bed, install an app for a daily portion of positive thinking (e.g. “Calm”) or humour, for a special nightcap of laughter. Make it the last thing you look at before you switch off your device for the night.
Winding down your Body & Soul with Eva
Here are some Do-s and Don’t-s that prepare your body and soul for a good night sleep, helping you to start your next day fully charged up.
- Don’t watch the news or upsetting programmes, films right before you go to bed.
- Don’t eat too late. It would be best if you could leave 3-4 hours between dinner and going to bed. If you want to eat something before bed time have a Banana about an hour before going to sleep, which is rich in Potassium, and a good source of Vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness) You can mix it with kiwi, which is also a good aid for sleep (taste)
- Don’t drink wine, coffee or tea just before bed. – If you wish to have a warm drink have decaff. coffee, decaff. tea or what is even better a herb tea, like Camomile.
- Don’t sleep in a messy room – it supposed to be the place where you are winding down, so create an environment that supports that.
- Tidy up (de-clutter if needed)
- Clean sheets,
- nice fragrance, (a few drops of Lavender, Geranium, Bergamot or a mixture of all on your pillow)
- dimmed lighting.
- Do have a bath before bed, which relaxes most of your senses:
- Have a warm bath, but not too hot (touch)
- Light candles, (seeing)
- Add a few drops of Lavender, Geranium, Bergamot to your bath water, (smell)
- Listen to relaxing music, (hearing)
- Do meditate – listening to a relaxing, guided visualisation is a way of meditation for example. Most of it is designed, so if you fall asleep whilst listening to it that isn’t a problem.
- Do listen to special audio, like the ocean waves to make you sleepy.
- If you like crystals hold a smooth Rose Quartz gemstone in a shape of a pebble, heart, thumb stone, whilst you are meditating, writing your gratitudes or blessings. Rose quartz has gentle vibrations that helps calming you down.
Try some or all of our tips and enjoy your sleep. And let us know how you get on.
Anke & Eva