DEEP SLEEP LIFESTYLE: Habits to Create Sound Sleep
© Jane and Lino Stanchich
In our last newsletter of early Autumn, 2020, we detailed the foods to eat and also avoid to create deeper sleep. Oh yes, our diet directly and profoundly affects our moods, habits, relaxation levels, and sleep quality. In this article we discuss Part I of The Deep Sleep Lifestyle: Habits to Create Sound Sleep.
All day long we set ourselves up for either tension and insomnia or calm, relaxed sleep. From the time we awaken, we are programming ourselves, exercising ourselves, nourishing ourselves, and too often exposing ourselves to caffeine, stress, anxiety, electronic devices, news bombardment, and chemicals. For optimum health, our daily lives need to be balanced, organic, and revitalizing. And they can be!
EVALUATE YOUR SLEEP HABITS
Quantity and Quality: (How much and how great is your sleep each night?) Start to be aware of how many hours you sleep and how often you awaken in the night. A simple sleep notepad is helpful, so you eliminate the guesswork and mystery.
Sleeping deeply affects our well-being: From cognition to emotions, from diseases to accidents, productivity to promotions. Simply stated, good health hinges on good sleep! If you don’t snooze… you lose!
OUR ESSENTIAL CIRCADIAN RHYTHM
Healthy Deep Sleep not only recharges our body and mind, it sets and resets our internal body clock, called our Circadian Rhythm.Our Circadian Rhythm is basically a natural 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. This is also known as our sleep/wake cycle.The Circadian Rhythm is a natural, internal process that regulates this sleep-wake cycle and repeats on each rotation of the Earth roughly every 24 hours. The main function of our Circadian Rhythm is regulating when you feel alert or sleepy. Without a properly functioning Circadian Rhythm, our bodies are prone to exhaustion, depression, irritability, anger, mental disorders, obesity, and other physical illness. As with any health regime, we need regularity, consistency, and commitment to achieve our goals. Our Deep Sleep Program will help you establish a healthy Circadian Rhythm to lead to greater mental and brain functions, physical strength and endurance, and emotional well being.
POWERFUL METHODS TO CREATE AND SUPPORT DEEP SLEEP:
EAT, CHEW, BREATHE
Follow our prescribed Deep Sleep Diet from our September newsletter. (Email us if you missed our last newsletter and we will send you the information.)
- • Avoid eating solid foods three hours before bed.
- • Especially avoid salty processed snacks in the evening.
- • Stay well hydrated.
- • Chew your food until it is liquefied for maximum digestion.
- • Poor digestion is a sure-fire cause of insomnia.
- • Take time throughout the day to breathe deeply to promote optimum digestion, relaxation, better moods, and greater peace of mind.
- • Before sleep, practice deep breathing in a comfortable spot.
LET THE SUN SHINE IN…DURING THE DAY
Sunshine provides vitamin D, essential for absorption of the tranquilizing mineral calcium. Go outside, get fresh air and sunshine during the day, for one hour at one time or divided between am and pm. If at work, try to take a short walk at lunchtime. Breathe deeply. Get sunlight from the sky (not looking directly at the sun) in your eyes.
VITAL MOVEMENT AFTER DINNER
Couch potatoes beware! Movement can save your life and bring you deeper, more blissful sleep! Be the family member that gets up after dinner, taking care of the house, doing the dishes, planning for the following day, and moving about. Get the kids involved in these tasks. Take a short, safe, relaxing 15-minute walk outdoors after dinner to aid digestion, make conversation, sort out your thoughts, and lighten your mood.
Oxygen, movement, and connecting with loved ones are vital elements for life! If you cannot walk outdoors after dinner, put on music and dance around the house or rebound on the mini-trampoline. Do very simple stretching to release tension. Give a loved one lots of hugs (wink, wink!) Just move!
SWITCH OFF THE SCREENS
Two hours before bed avoid TV, phones, or computers, especially those showing violence or news. The EMF’s in these electronics affect our brains and hormones, impeding sleep. Turning off electronic and blue light devices will allow our levels of melatonin, the hormone that relaxes and calms, and cortisol, our stress hormone, to normalize. In the evenings, rather, have meaning conversations with family members or friends. Journal. Read a book or magazine selecting calm, uplifting subjects or enjoy a different activity that calms and comforts you. Your bedroom needs to be dark also.
STRETCH AND SOOTHE TIGHT MUSCLES
Daily living and extraordinary exertion can take a toll on muscles, tendons, joints, circulation, and our mental health. In the late evening, try taking a few moments to stretch out, practice simple yoga postures, bends, and twists to detoxify and discharge tension in the body and mind. Simply performing slow stretches forward, back, and side bends can be deeply helpful. Lying with feet elevated on a chair or bed or up a wall is tremendously beneficial for sore and tired legs and swollen ankles. If you are experiencing a health challenge, always check with a health professional before doing a new bodywork practice.
HAVE A MASSAGE BEFORE BED
Massage is miraculous! Human touch is the most basic and profound act of natural healing. Before lying down to sleep, ask a loved one to give you a massage. If this is not available, do self-massage! An excellent self-help skill to teach and practice in the home, massage-touch is deeply healing. One need not be a pro or have a special table, just to provide soothing strokes to tired muscles. This ancient and elemental healing method is especially effective for deep sleep if received after a warm shower.
WEAR HEALTHY BED CLOTHES
- Sleep on 100% cotton sheets.
- Use natural laundry soups.
- Wear loose comfortable cotton clothing. Synthetic fabrics trap the body heat and cause the retention of energy, moisture, and oxygen.
TOXIC-FREE AIR IN THE BEDROOM
Inside air is often more polluted than outdoor air. The rise in lung cancer, behavior and developmental problems, learning disabilities, and respiratory ailments such as asthma are epidemic. Air quality anytime is crucial, but at night it is especially important. Adding live green plants to your bedroom brings in oxygen, our most vital element for life.
Avoid chemicals such as toxic cleaning products, pest sprays, glued flooring, synthetic carpeting, chemicalized dryer sheets and furniture made with glued particle board with formaldehyde. Add green plants to your bedroom to cleanse the air and add oxygen.
Children are especially sensitive to chemicals and need a toxic-free sleeping space. Buy natural, healthy household products and solid wood bedroom furniture. Take care to create a healthy home environment. This will help prevent health disorders and unhealthy emotions, behavior problems, and lung diseases.
Researchers have discovered that a bedroom temperature of between 60º and 70º is ideal for sleep. Central heating is a relatively new addition to our modern lives. We are not designed to sleep in hot, stuffy rooms. Give your lungs air that is cooler than your body temperature. Be sure to wear appropriate clothing, keeping your body adequately warm. Be comfortable, just avoid breathing hot, dry air all night! Turn off your electric blanket after warming your sheets. Use plenty of covers. Some sleep better with a “ weighted” blanket. Look into it. In cold weather, we both enjoy wearing soft cotton sleeping caps at night. Caps can be used to cover the eyes from light also. Try it! Very cool! Very cozy!
WHILE SLEEPING, BREATHE FRESH AIR
If possible, try cracking your bedroom window to get just a bit of fresh air at night. Experiment with what works best for you and your family. Avoid chilling winds, rather, adjust the window to allow just the right amount of fresh air into the bedroom. Be sure your windows are safe and secure.
DARK ROOM, QUIET ROOM
Most of us need a dark, quiet room in which to sleep well. While there are exceptions, science reports that these two elemental qualities are natural for brain relaxation and sleep. Some install black-out shades on windows or wear sleep masks. Many wear ear plugs which, when given a few days to get accustomed to them, are quite comfortable. If one style does not work, try another. The soft foam style is rolled and inserted in the ear; then it expands and provides a gentle muffling of noise. One is generally still able to hear a smoke alarm or wake up call. Some use a white sound machine successfully. Whatever you have to do to make your bedroom dark and quiet is extremely valuable for your well being- and that is just about everything, yes?
CELL PHONE NITE NITE
Your cell phone or computer should be put in another room or at least 12 feet from your body while sleeping. You will generally be able to hear a cell phone alarm outside your bedroom. Make sure this works for you or find an alternative alarm system. It is best to turn off the wifi router over night to avoid exposure to radiation that can adversely affect your brain.
THE SOLE OF HEALTH
Our feet are essential for our health and well-being. Soak feet in warm water by setting feet in a tub or container of very warm water for 15 minutes, allowing the heat to enter the “Kidney 1 acupuncture point” on the sole of each foot. The warmth then rises up the legs to create relaxation. Gently massage each toe and then the entire foot. Then dry your feet and put on cotton socks. Researchers have found that wearing socks to bed aids deep sleep.
Take a warm bath prior to bed to relax and calm the body and mind. Add lavender essential oil to the tub. Another option: A warm shower is also helpful before bed as it relaxes the muscles and creates a sense of peace and relaxation. Give yourself a gentle massage with a washcloth in the tub or shower, opening the pores and washing off the tension of the day.
IT’S ALL IN THE MIND
Is my mind wound up at bedtime? Am I relaxed? Do I feel secure? Do I have a lot of worries? Are busy to-do lists zooming in my mind? Do I have old traumas replaying in my memory? We are affected by our thoughts and when they are filled with anxiety, busy-ness, thinking, over-thinking, planning, we cannot relax. Before bed, try writing your To-Do list and goals for the next day. Journaling is also quite effective. Communicating our feelings and conflicts is very healing at any stage of life. Meditation, positive affirmations, or prayer before sleep can be highly beneficial.
We wish you deeper, more blissful sleep for the health of your body and mind. Look for Part II of our Deep Sleep Lifestyle Program in our upcoming newsletter.
Sleep Well and Be Well!