It is generally recommended that we get six to eight hours restful sleep per night. Restful sleep means that you are able to drift off into sleep easily and sleep well through the night. If you need to go to the toilet in the night you are able to go back to sleep. When you wake in the morning you feel energetic and ready for the day. If you feel tired, lacking in energy or tense when you wake in the morning you haven’t had a restful sleep.
Restful sleep is one of the basic requirements for mental and physical well-being. There are many people who suffer from the lack of sleep and this can result in fatigue, mental dullness and weakened mental and physical health. Research studies have shown that if you wake at 3 am and do not get back to sleep them your immune system does not work as well for the next 24 hrs. We need our sleep to be at our best.
There are many factors that could keep you awake in the night. These factors can include: stress or worry, a body that is toxic, caffeine or alcohol (alcohol may send you off to sleep but it has a short term effect), pain, anxiety and depression, pregnancy and menopausal symptoms, food allergies and nutritional deficiencies, the lack of fresh air and physical exercise, an uncomfortable mattress and bedding or being too cold or hot, and various health problems, such as asthma or ear aches and so forth. However, for many people a small shift in behaviour can lead to a restful sleep each night. For these people a change in bedtime and evening habits can change the sleeping pattern and result in an energised awakening and a feeling of wellbeing.
What do you need to do to have a restful nights sleep?
The first thing to do is to make an assessment of what is keeping you from having a restful sleep. Do you have an underlying problem that needs attention? Is your body in need detoxification? Do you have nutritional deficiency? Is your mattress and bedding or you sleeping environment uncomfortable? You will need to make the necessary changes to these underlying problems. You will need to deal with the pain, the lack of fresh air and exercise and so forth. Consult a health practitioner if you suffer from any chronic health problems and a complementary health practitioner will be able to treat your health problems as well as any other problems contributing to your insomnia. However, there are also many other adjustments that you can make to help you have a good nights sleep.
Some of the things that you can do include:
- Eat a variety of fresh foods including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Avoid sugars, chocolate, cola drinks, tea and coffee, all of which have toxins that affect the nervous system and prevent sleep.
- Avoid alcohol and eating just before bed time. It is preferable to eat a light meal in the evening – preferably no later than seven at night so that you do not go to bed with a full stomach.
- Take some exercise, preferably early in the day, this will also assist you with stress control and will help with sleeping. However, a leisurely walk after the evening meal can also assist with relaxation and aid in the digestion of the meal.
- Stop smoking. If you do smoke Growerz.com can assist you through the process of quitting and becoming smoke free for good.
- Minimize exciting or mentally intense activities after about 8.30 to 9 pm and do something that will enable you to take your mind off the worry of the day. Avoid reading dramatic novels or distressing reading material or television before bed.
- Consider using a relaxation mediation before bed.
- Aim to be in bed with the lights out by 10.30 pm. If you are not used to getting to bed this early then move your bed time by half an hour every week until you are adjusted to going to bed by 10.30 pm.
- Take a warm (but not hot) bath about an hour before bedtime. This will allow for both relaxation and a ‘washing away’ of the worries of the day. Add a few drops of a calming essential oil such as lavender, sandalwood or vanilla to the bath water. This will add to the relaxation effect of the bath. While you are soaking in the bath have the lights turned down low or burn a candle and listen to some soothing music.
- If your mind is still active try journaling for a few minutes before bed – so that you are ‘downloading’ some of your thoughts and concerns. This will reduce the need for you to keep going over them during the night – you have them written down and you can come back to them in the morning.
- Once you are in bed close your eyes and focus on your body and wherever you feel tension, relax that area. Watch, with your mind, your slow breathing in and out until you fall asleep.
- If you are still having trouble falling asleep, try putting something warn on your stomach and chest area. Use a warm water bottle and allow this to soothe you.
- Supplements to help the liver and the rest of the body to detoxify include: vitamin B complex, digestive enzymes, selenium, zinc, magnesium, manganese, and the antioxidant vitamins. These are usually contained in a good multivitamin and mineral supplement. Biotin and folic acid, as well as amino acids are also very useful in assisting with sleep.
- There are many herbs that will assist with the cleansing and the detoxification process. These herbs include dandelion root, milk thistle and gardenia fruit. Detoxifying the body is an important way of aiding the body to heal, to relax and to sleep.
- Drink plenty of pure water to assist the body to detoxify (a toxic overload may be the cause of the insomnia).
Sleep is an important part of maintaining a healthy mind and body. Restful sleep allows the body to undertake its natural healing and restorative processes. There are many causes of poor sleep and these causes range from chronic pain and disease and a body that needs to be detoxified, to poor bedtime habits. There are many things that you can do to improve the quality of your sleep. You need to examine the underlying reasons for poor sleep and work on repairing these – so, for example, you may need to detoxify your body, deal with pain, improve your sleeping environment, change your bedtime habits or use a relaxation meditation. This article provides many suggestions for gaining restful sleep and therefore improving you mental and physical well-being.