I am super grateful for everything in my life and don't often get angry or jealous of other people, except when it comes to sleep. I envy those who can place their head down and within seconds float away into dreamland.
As a 'vatta' in the Ayurvedic world, sleep doesn't always come easy and the littlest wrong turn can derail my ability to rest fully.
When I don't sleep well I feel irritable, fatigued, my life outlook tends to be depressed, and my body aches. Statistically people in the Western world are getting 20% less sleep then people 100 years ago.
Whether its because of overwork, stress, or lack of supportive rituals sleep deprivation has consequences.
Our sleep cycle has two very important parts, deep sleep and REM sleep.
In deep sleep the body engages with physical renwal, regulates our hormones, integrates the days learning, and promotes growth.
In REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep the brain digests and synthesizes memories and emotions which is key for learning and higher-level thought. A lack of REM sleep results in slower cognitive and social processing, problems with memory, and difficulty concentrating. *
So how can you ensure you get high quality sleep?
1. Journal your thoughts out, especially when you feel stressed out. Don't take them to bed with you.
2. Avoid caffeine after 12pm to ensure you give your body enough time to process it out.
3. Get natural light during the day which will support hormone production that help you fall asleep at night.
4. Turn your computer screen light orange for night time computer work. TV's and computer emit blue light (same wavelength present during daytime) which suppress melatonin (a hormone that helps you wind down before bed).
5. Eat your last meal 2-3hrs before you go to bed allowing the digestive process to finish its tasks and close up the shop for the night.
6. Darken your room completely and cover up even the smallest device shedding light into the room. All light disrupts melatonin production.
7. Move your body during the day as it releases tension, increases our ability to stay relaxed, and will ensure you are tired when bedtime comes around.
8. Be mindful of more than a glass of wine. Yes you'll feel drowsy but the deeper REM states of sleep can be disrupted while the body metabolizes the access gin and tonic.
9. Give yourself a sesame oil massage, especially the feet, hands, and ears.
10. Take a 10-20 minute nap, you'll stay in the first two stages of sleep and wake up refreshed. Over 30min and you risk entering deep and REM sleep which will create grogginess if you wake up in the middle of these phases.
11. If all else fails use some herbal support to help you wind down.