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Getting enough sleep?

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Photo by x-eyedblonde

Sleep. its one of those glorious things that can either constantly elude us, or we never get enough of with today’s busy lifestyle.

Here in Japan,  a recent survey stated that approximately half of the population get less than six hours of sleep a night. Half! That probably explains the practice of people mass dozing on trains every day, and those that regularly fall asleep in meetings here (the more attendees the merrier). However it doesn’t excuse the fact that it isn’t enough to function effectively, day after day, without long term physical and psychological consequences.

Many of you reading this right now may be nodding your head , saying “hey, he just described me! Yes, the problem stretches across the globe as all of us work under heavier workloads, increased expectations and struggling economic realities.

Blaming it on a busy lifestyle isn’t enough; many people end up sitting prone in front of a TV till the early hours of the morning, simply because they cannot switch off, unwind, and let sleep come to them naturally.

Because its not enough for many people just to jump in the bed; you have to be ready to sleep- laying down on the bed often makes us suddenly aware of how stressed out or worried we really are, or something that we have been putting off, or ignoring.. the list goes on.

Stress is a prime factor for lack of sleep. So what can we do to limit its effects?

1. Turn the TV off a good half hour or more before you hit the sack.
2. Have a stretch- this often is enough to bring whatever is on your mind right to the fore, as well as the related stiffness in your body.
3. Meditate/deep breath/ conscious relaxation methods. It works, because it puts you in touch with you, your state of mind, where you are at this very moment.
4. Get your partner to relax also. Its no good you trying to slow down if they are frantically preparing for the next day.
5. Create a meditative space- bath, candles, lights, music, incense, aromatic oils..gee, it sounds great already! For me, the sense of smell is supreme, so if I create a space where my environment tells me to calm down or to prepare for a transition, I usually take its advice.
6. Don’t do any intense exercise at least an hour or two before you sleep.This tends to wake you up and get the heart and blood pumping way too much, meaning that your down time will suffer. ( I have done it and watched, wide-eyed, its effects)

These are very simple strategies, but worthwhile. It might require you to plan a bit ahead when you get home from work and make sure that whatever needs to get done that night is finished in a timely fashion, but hey, that’s a no brainer, right?

You are the most important person to your life, your family and friends. Therefore incorporating simple strategies to keeping you fit, fed and well rested, is primary.

Also, make sure you spend some quality time checking in with your partner/kids/pets. They will certainly appreciate it, just remember to be consistent about it as well ;).

How about you? Got any effective strategies that work well with getting enough rest, and leading an active lifestyle? Let us know.

Now, go get some quality rest tonight!

Cheers,

Markeu.

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Photo by Katia


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About mark_a

international businessman and consultant, life coach, world traveler and wandering mystic who loves keeping fit and is endlessly learning how to lead a healthy lifestyle

2 responses to “Getting enough sleep?

  1. Tim Neal ⋅

    Good points you make on relaxing and creating a sleep friendly atmosphere before bed. I would add a few things:

    1. Avoid before-bed snacks, particularly grains and sugars. This will raise blood sugar and inhibit sleep. Later, when blood sugar drops too low (hypoglycemia), you might wake up and not be able to fall back asleep.

    2. Sleep in complete darkness or as close as possible. If there is even the tiniest bit of light in the room it can disrupt your circadian rhythm and your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and seratonin. There also should be as little light in the bathroom as possible if you get up in the middle of the night. Whatever you do, keep the light off when you go to the bathroom at night. As soon as you turn on that light you will for that night immediately cease all production of the important sleep aid melatonin.

    3. Journaling. If you often lay in bed with your mind racing, it might be helpful keep a journal and write down your thoughts before bed.

    4. Get to bed as early as possible. Our systems, particularly the adrenals, do a majority of their recharging or recovering during the hours of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. In addition, your gallbladder dumps toxins during this same period. If you are awake, the toxins back up into the liver which then secondarily back up into your entire system and cause further disruption of your health. Prior to the widespread use of electricity, people would go to bed shortly after sundown, as most animals do, and which nature intended for humans as well.

    5. Keep the temperature in the bedroom no higher than 70 degrees F. Many people keep their homes and particularly the upstairs bedrooms too hot.

    6. Avoid alcohol. Although alcohol will make people drowsy, the effect is short lived and people will often wake up several hours later, unable to fall back asleep. Alcohol will also keep you from falling into the deeper stages of sleep, where the body does most of its healing.

    7. Lose weight. Being overweight can increase the risk of sleep apnea, which will prevent a restful nights sleep.

    8. Remove the clock from view. It will only add to your worry when constantly staring at it… 2 a.m. …3 a.m. … 4:30 a.m. …

    9. Don’t change your bedtime. You should go to bed, and wake up, at the same times each day, even on the weekends. This will help your body to get into a sleep rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep and get up in the morning.

    10. Go to the bathroom right before bed. This will reduce the chances that you’ll wake up to go in the middle of the night.

    11. Put your work away at least one hour (but preferably two or more) before bed. This will give your mind a chance to unwind so you can go to sleep feeling calm, not hyped up or anxious about tomorrow’s deadlines.

    • markeu

      All great suggestions Tim. Main things is allowing enough time for the body and mind to wind down and switch off naturally. In this modern world of ours, we just have too many stimuli going on in our environment, and this leads us to overly hyper states of being..and then we try to sleep! Not going to work. Thanks for the comments.

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