Stress and Sleep: The importance of a Good night’s sleep
Last week, I attended a Human Sexuality and Sex Therapy training up in Virginia, and man was that intense. It was super interesting, but it was a lot of information packed into five long, 8-hour days.
The hotel was super comfortable, I took all of my vitamins, exercised, and ate well. However, I still did not sleep very well while I was there.
Combine that with long hours of travel on Friday, delayed flights, people hacking and sneezing on the airplane, and no sleep Friday night because I had a yoga teaching gig very early on Saturday morning….I was a mess by Saturday night.
Sunday I didn’t even feel human – I could barely move from the couch. I only just started feeling ok again over the past 2 days, but I still have a bit of a sore throat and feel pretty run down. It has taken me almost a whole week to recover from last week’s sleep deprivation.
My lack of sleep and resulting illness inspired me to talk about the importance of sleep!
Some interesting facts about sleep:
Sleep is a time for your body to regenerate – it is the time when muscle tissue is rebuilt and restored. Your brain is very active, but scientists believe that this activity (dreaming) is a kind of clearing out process for your mind.
Aryuveda is a 5,000-year-old system of natural healing that has its origins in the Vedic culture of India and is very closely aligned with yoga. This tradition states that between the hours of 10pm and 2am your body is detoxifying both mentally and physically, so it is very important to be asleep during this time. Between 2am and 6am, deep sleep occurs as the body transitions from detoxifying and rebuilding to preparing for the waking state.
So as you can see, sleep is an essential component for maintaining health and vitality.
Are you having trouble sleeping?
Here are 5 tips for better sleep:
1. Avoid alcohol – it may help you fall asleep, but it is likely to wake you up later on at night during those key times your body is trying to detoxify and rebuild
2. Avoid caffeine late in the afternoon – instead, try calming teas like chamomile before bed time to help your body relax and settle down.
3. Keep the room cool – Research shows that keeping the temperature between 60-67 degrees is ideal, but experiment and find the right temp for you.
4. Keep the room dark – Shut off digital devices at least 60 minutes before bedtime – this is hard, I know. I even struggle with this rule…however, it makes a big difference when I do. Bright light is a trigger for our brains that it is time to be awake and alert, so keeping the room dark and not staring at bright devices is an excellent way to remind your brain its time to power down.
5.Make your bedroom tranquil and serene. Your bedroom is meant for sleeping and sex – nothing else. Get rid of lots of clutter, tvs, anything that distracts you from those two activites. My bedroom currently feels like a cloud – the comforter is blue and soft, and the curtains are white and blue…I have nothing else in there but a dresser and a side table. It makes such a difference in my sleep! I feel like I am in a calm cloud!
I know that I am ready for a good nights rest, how about you?