Why sleep is so important to our health. Sleep is fundamental to our health and well being. Interestingly, one of the main functions of sleep is to process and store the information received to our brains and move them to our memory.
During the night a process of consolidation occurs moving bits of information from our short term memory to our long term memory.
Our bodies also need sleep to rejuvenate, grow muscles, repair tissue and lowers your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Adults require 7 – 9 hours sleep and while school aged children need between 9 – 11 hours sleep, teenagers 8 – 10 hours sleep per night. Young people need quality sleep for their development and alertness for learning.
Here are 8 ways to getting a good nights sleep.
1 – Eat Well
Eating the right foods can play a big part in whether or not we get to sleep. Our diet is fundamental to our health but there are a few specific food types than help sleep suffers.
Here are some recommended foods to help you sleep:
- Jasmine Rice
- Cherry Juice
- Whole grains
Adding these foods to your diet will help you gain a restful nights sleep.
2 – Excercise
To help you sleep it is recommended to have between 15 and 45 minutes of exercise each day.
Slowly build up the level of intensity to improve your level of fitness.
Aerobic exercises are shown to be more effective for those with sleep difficulties. Aerobic exercise increases oxygen to the blood so jogging, walking, swimming cycling, using cross trainers are all going to increase oxygen to the blood stream.
3 – Giving ourselves time to think and reflect
A study in the USA of 49 middle aged adults gave half the group mindfulness practice and the other half sleep education. The group who practiced mindfulness experienced less fatigue, depression and insomina than the other group.
Taking time for ourselves to think and reflect on
“Mindfulness meditation is just one of a smorgasbord of techniques that evoke the relaxation response,”
4 – Maintain sleep schedule
Adopting and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule will help your body to naturally create a sleep-wake cycle.
Even at weekends our body will start to slow down at night with the reinforcement of a sleep schedule.
5 – No to stimulants
Alcohol, caffeine and electronic equipment will all negatively impact your ability to fall asleep quickly.
Remove all electronic equipment from the bedrooms and turn them off.
Turn off or dim the lights as darkness will help the body begin producing melatonin, a hormone that naturally regulates sleep.
It is also recommended to expose your body to sunlight in the mornings so your body will naturally wake up.
6 – Keep cool
Ensure you get your sleep environment right for you.
Open a window for fresh air, ensure the room is not too hot.
Make sure your sleep environment is quiet, dark and relaxing for you.
Bedding should be supportive and clean so you do not wake up with aches and pains.
7 – Wind Down
Spend the last hour before bedtime winding down. Read a book, take a bath and drink nice soothing drink such as chamomile tea.
8 – Use calming essential oils
Essential oils can have a very calming affect on the body and emotions before bedtime.
Lavender Essential Oil and Bergamot contain Linalool and linalyl acetate, compounds that contain relaxing properties.
Diffusing these oils at bedtime will create a relaxing environment, perfect for inducing a restful nights sleep.
DoTerra oils can also be taken internally to calm the nervous system or applied to the skin topically.
Place 2 to 4 drops of Lavender or Bergamot essential oil in a warm herbal tea (chamomile) about half an hour before bedtime or add 2 to 4 drops of oil to a capsule and swallow 30 minutes before bed time.
Add 2 of lavender in a diffuser or add a couple of drops to a tissue and place under your pillow.
classified as a sedative, Vetiver is best diluted with fractionated coconut oil or another carrier oil. Apply to the soles of the feet, neck or behind the neck.
Serenity is an essential oil blend by DoTerra containing; Lavender Flower, Cedarwood, Ho Wood Leaf, Ylang Ylang Flower, Marjoram Leaf, Roman Chamomile Flower, Vetiver Root, Vanilla Bean Absolute, Hawaiian Sandalwood Wood. Designed specifically to calm the emotions and to aid a restful night sleep. Serenity is best diffused at night.
Recommended for insomnia Begamot can be diffused at night time, added to the bottom of the feet or applied to the skin topically (dilute if sensitive skin)This is can be added to your bubble bath (do not add essential oils directly to water), mixed with fractionated coconut oil to create a nice massage oil or added to the foot.Great oil to diffuse at bedtime, dilute with fractionated coconut oil and massage around the neck area, add to tissue and place under our pillow
Apply majoram to the skin topically diluted with fractionated coconut oil if prefered. diffuse or simply inhale from the bottle.Helps ease feelings of tension, calms and relaxes the mind preparing for bedtime. Add a drop to drinking water, diffuse with other blends, add to pillow or take in a capsule
Not getting a good night sleep affects your health, your relationships and productivity so it is imperative to seek help and natural remedies and diets will always be the right option.
Source: The Sleep Foundation