Sleep. It’s something we’ve been doing all our lives, since time immemorial. Babies do it, those in dotage do it, as well as everybody else in between. Despite all this, very little is known about sleep. It is one of the great mysteries of life.
However, there is one thing that we do know about sleep: good sleep is one of the cornerstones of health.
Interrupted sleep can cause a bevy of problems, including:
- a dramatically weakened immune system
- accelerated tumor growth – studies show that tumors grow up to 5 times faster in lab animals with severe sleep dysfunctions
- a pre-diabetic state wherein you always feel hungry despite having eaten already
- an impaired memory and decrease in cognitive abilities
Impaired sleep can also cause:
- Heart diseases
- Stomach problems – including ulcers
There’s more. Sleep deprivation results in premature aging, and it does this by interfering with one’s growth hormone production, which is supposed to be done by the pituitary gland as one sleeps. A study has revealed that individuals with chronic insomnia are 3 times more likely of dying from any cause.
In order to help you fight insomnia, you can do a few things to reverse your condition. Our doctors clinic has compiled a list below:
- Make sure to sleep in darkness. Even a little light in the room can cause a disruption in one’s sleeping pattern. Your internal clock has a difficult time adapting to brightly lit rooms at night.
- Maintain a temperature of no more than seventy degrees F. When you are asleep, your organ’s internal temperature drops to a very low level, typically 4 hours into it. Scientific studies have revealed that a cooler abode and a cooler bedroom is most conducive to sleep, as it emulates your body’s natural temperature drop.
- Reduce EMF exposure. Some doctors claim that EMF negatively affects one’s health. The studies have not been definitive, and so, we cannot make that claim ourselves. However, there is evidence to show that EMF can disrupt sleeping patterns.
- Don’t use noisy, blaring alarm clocks. It is very bad for you to be jolted awake all of a sudden. Loud alarm clocks result in just that. Make sure to avoid this. Our Houston doctors clinic beseeches all to not shock your body with these blaring bells.
- Use the bed for sleeping only. If you generally watch televeision while you’re laying in bed, you will find it much more difficult to fall asleep. That is because you are tricking your body into making it think that it is not supposed to sleep in the place where it is at. Television is indeed a passive activity, but not passive enough to help you fall asleep in bed.
- Go to bed as early as you can. Your body tends to recharge between the time of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. Typically, your gallbladder expunges toxins during this exact time period. You want it to do its work while you are sleeping, for it works more effectively when you are relaxed. Thus it is important to fall asleep earlier, and thus it is most beneficial for your health to do so.
- Establish a routine. As human beings, we are systems oriented. We like patterns. Establishing a routine will make us feel comfortable. Comfort is necessary but not sufficient for a good night’s sleep.
- Limit fluids before bedtime. A lot of people have to get up during the night to urinate. This isn’t a terrible thing, but it’d be most preferable to avoid said occurrence. Limit your fluids before you go to bed. It is best to not drink anything two hours before bedtime, but if you have to, if you are parched and need some fluids, drink no more than one cup within that time frame.
- Eat some protein a few hours before you go to bed. The L-tryptophyan that you get from protein will optimize your melatonin and serotonin levels – both incredibly important for your well-being.
- Snack on a piece of fruit. Experiment with this. It doesn’t work for all, but for most, it does. Bow down to reason and evidence. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t do it. If it does, please, do it as often as you can. Fruit can help tryptophan cross your blood-brain barrier.
- Skip the grains before bed. Grains cause bloating. Bloating causes a great deal of discomfort, not to mention gas that nobody wants when in the sheets, particularly with a partner to one’s side. Skip beans and grains and sugar. You want to feel light and easy when you hop into bed.
- Listen to relaxation CDs. This goes against the advice to avoid EMF exposure. For those who aren’t as sensitive to EMF, this may help. You want to feel soothed before bed. Relaxing music can do that for you.
- Journal before bed. Contrary to popular opinion, journaling is an incredibly challenging activity. It takes a lot of brain power. Introspection and reflection are skills that need to be honed. Honing skills takes time and effort. The effort can result in one feeling tired and exhausted – a great state to be in when you want to fall asleep.
- Avoid caffeine. This one could arguably be at the top of the list, but because it is so obvious, we thought to include some of the less known pieces of advice first. Caffeine energizes an individual and, obviously, you don’t want to be energized before bed.
- Exercise regularly. Exercising for at least half an hour every single day can dramatically improve one’s sleep. You don’t want to actively suppress your own needs and preferences. If you have a need for good sleep, then it is important to invest those thirty minutes of your time to improve your chances of good sleep.
- Avoid alcohol like the plague.
Or any drug for that matter. You don’t want to throw your system into shock with noxious substances.
This list was meant to be illustrative, not complete. Scientists and doctors are gaining more and more knowledge about sleep and how to optimize sleep. Stay tuned for more advice on how to combat insomnia.