The Importance of Sleep

The truth is, each cycle of your life presents its own set of challenges when it comes to sleep. 

A typical cycle:

  • When you were a child you went to sleep when it got dark and woke up when the sun came up.
  • As a teenager, perhaps they moved your bedroom to the basement and it was always dark.  In any case, you probably slept a lot.
  • Then you got out on your own and enjoyed late nights and maybe slept all day!
  • Then, you got married and had babies and were exhausted and wanted to sleep but couldn’t because your babies wanted you 24/7.  You were probably very sleep deprived during that time.
  • You finally started sleeping normal again and then…Your children started dating and driving.  That just about does you in!  Thank goodness for cell phones, but even so, you can’t fall asleep until they get home.
  • Then your kids went to college or moved out on their own; and you started sleeping like you did when you were a child again.  Asleep when it gets dark and up when the sun rises…life is good.

 

The Importance of Sleep

Sleep is so important.  We are meant to recharge our batteries nightly and if we don’t do that we start to bear the consequences.

Some of the sleep deprivation affects:

  • Growth

  • Reasoning

  • Diabetes

  • Weight (gain or loss)

  • Healing

  • Memory

  • Ability

  • Function (performance)

Whenever you have troubles sleeping, you could tie your troubles to hormones, stress, pharmaceutical drugs, children’s activities and wine!  As long as you know the reason, it will be easier for you can eliminate the problem.

Some tips for better sleep:

  1. Establish a rhythm of sleep, go to bed at the same time nightly and get up at the same time.
  2. Take short naps if you missed sleep the night before (20 minutes is optimal)Supplement your Vitamin D (if you aren’t sure, have a blood test and get it checked…then supplement it)
  3. Get some sunshine during the day
  4. Get exercise during the day
  5. Turn off your television, computer and iPad at night
  6. Turn lights down at night
  7. Have a comfortable bed
  8. Block noise out
  9. Block light out
  10. Make sure your bedroom is cool
  11. No caffeine 10-12 hours before sleep
  12. No large meals (especially beef) before bed
  13. No alcohol
  14. No smoking
  15. Learn relaxation techniques
  16. Deep breathing
  17. Muscle relaxation (like biofeedback where you progress through your body)
  18. Envisioning your peaceful place

I am an expert on getting back to sleep. 

I suffered from insomnia for over a decade! Over the years, this has been my challenge.
I sleep very well now and have discovered my own unique techniques that relax me and prepare me to sleep.
Yet, I continue  to leave the tv on when I go to bed.  That sounds like it would be a huge no-no, yet for me it is relaxing.  I do choose sitcoms or educational programs because there is very little chance for violence or swearing.
I also set a timer for 3 hours and that way, I am asleep when the tv turns itself off. The best thing about the timer is that I am not woken up by obnoxious infomercials!

Of course, all of these tips may not apply to you. You may be like me and need some background noise to keep your mind from racing around. Or, you may find it soothing to check your social media and see what is up with friends and family.

I encourage you to try a few of the above tips each night and discover what works for you.

What to do when you wake up in the middle of the night?

  • Whatever you are thinking about when you wake up during the night, empty it out of your head by substituting thoughts.
  • Relax. Don’t even think about falling back asleep, think about relaxing and take the pressure off.
  • If you have to,  get up and do something for a few minutes to break things up.
  • Try to stay away from the electronics and choose something more relaxing, like reading a book or article.

 

One last word…on sleeping pills

Cathy shares her experience with Lunesta and Fluorazepam.  “I had a doctor, when I was going through big hormonal changes, who gave me sleeping pills.  He said take no more than 3 nights to get you back in the rhythm, then quit taking them.  If you are not inclined to addiction, this can be a life saver.  DO NOT TAKE sleeping pills for more than 3 days.  Even if they say they are non-addictive, they are!  The sleeping pills that are “non-addictive” (Lunesta) are still addictive in a different way that is that you cannot sleep without them.  If you can avoid sleeping pills altogether, you should.  I was taking the “non-addictive” type sleeping pill about 10 years ago.  I could not sleep without them.  To get off them, I took my Fluorazepam and went on a cruise.  I took the Flourazepam for one night.  Then I figured that I was not going to need to perform for 8 days…so I went cold turkey.  You don’t get any kind of withdrawal…you just don’t sleep.  I thought I could sleep whenever I had a chance and I didn’t really have to be nice to anyone and the world would not end if I made a mistake.  It worked.  There was one thing I hadn’t figured in that helped, the relaxation of the trip.  That helped and by the end of the trip I was not taking any sleeping pills.
I quit taking sleeping pills altogether in 2009.  By changing the way that I eat, getting lots of exercise and being more aware of the things I do, I have eliminated my sleep problems entirely!  Well, except when I have little munchkins who get scared at night and crawl into bed with me but that is okay, grandmas like to snuggle and that is very relaxing.”

Would you like to sleep like a baby again?

Attend my upcoming free webinar.

We will be addressing the following:sleep like a baby

  • Foods to avoid for a more restful sleep
  • Consequences of sleep deprivation
  • How to implement ‘restful rituals’ to get your mind and body ready for sleep
  • Sleep duration recommendations based on your age and life cycle

Seats are limited, so register today!

 

Theresa Sailor

Integrative Lifestyle Coach

My mission is to be part of the solution!
I support women who have the desire to take charge of their mind, body and spirit by recognizing and overcoming detrimental food and lifestyle habits.
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