To say that we are living in a time of uncertainty is an understatement! At this present moment in time there is hardly any country in our world which isn't currently engaged in a life or death struggle with the pandemic virus sweeping across the globe. For each of us, our individual health is under threat, and for too many of us, our jobs and incomes have a question mark looming ominously over them.
We are physically cut off from friends and families and the outside world whilst our societies are in lock down status. It's no wonder then, that now whilst we are operating under a hugely amount of stress as we try to live our day to day lives as normal as possible, one of the biggest challenge we face is how to switch off at nights and get the nocturnal nourishment our bodies need now more than ever before.
Whilst it’s challenging to enjoy your day if you’re not sleeping well at night a lack of sleep is damaging to both your physical and mental health. Researchers have found that a lack of sleep is as damaging to your physical and mental health as poor nutrition and a lack of exercise and leaves us even less able to manage our stresses.
Even more alarming, constant sleep deprivation also damages our immune system which is paramount in fighting off viruses and other elements that attack our bodies and sleeping is the only opportunity for the immune system to rejuvenate itself and a constant lack of sleep will inhibit it from repairing itself.
While insomnia can be challenging to solve in a few instances, there are often things you can do on your own to enhance the quality of your sleep.
* Avoid daytime naps. If you’re having trouble getting a good night’s sleep, perhaps your naps are part of the problem. Naps are great if you don’t have time for a full-night’s sleep, but can keep you up at night if overdone.
* Ensure your room is dark. Way, way back in the day, there were no lights aside from the sun, stars, and moon. Now, there’s all kinds of light pollution from other homes and street lights. A city can light up the entire sky. Make your room as dark as you can. * Keep a regular schedule. That means getting up at a certain time, even on the weekends. If you get up at 6 AM each day, but sleep in until 10 AM on the weekends, you’re likely to have sleep quality issues. If you need a little more rest on the weekends, try going to bed 30 minutes earlier. * Have a comfortable mattress and pillow. You likely spend more time each week sleeping than you do on any other activity. Now isn’t the time to skimp. Ensure that you have a quality mattress and pillow so you can sleep comfortably.
* Have an evening ritual. Teach your body that it’s time to sleep. You might end your evening by having a candlelit warm (not too hot) relaxing bath with a few drops of lavender oil to calm your mind, which you can also add a few drops to your pillow which may aid in having a tranquil night. You may also like to try cedarwood, ylang-ylang, lemon, jasmine, vanilla or geranium. Which ever one you choose , always follow the safety guidelines. Or you might meditate for a few minutes. Just be consistent and avoid anything that stimulates you.
* Keep your evening meal light. Or, limit your eating to earlier in the evening. A large meal before bedtime is sure to interfere with your quality of sleep. * Avoid lit screens at night. Studies have shown that using back lit e-book readers and cell phones can cause sleep disturbances. Consider using an old fashioned paper book if you want to read. * Limit the amount of light in your environment. The last hour or two before bed. This will encourage your body to relax and wind down.
* Get some exercise during the day. While exercise at night can impede sleep, daytime exercise can increase the quality of your sleep. Avoid over training, which greatly interferes with sleep.
* Keep your mind still while lying in bed. The easiest way to keep yourself awake is to think negative, stressful thoughts. You’re in bed, so there’s nothing you can do at the moment to solve any of the challenges in your life. Focus on your breathing, or try counting your breath on the exhale to try silencing any unhappy or negative thoughts.
* Keep evening drinking to a minimum. That includes alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Consuming alcohol can interfere with you sleep. Any liquids can create the need to get up in the middle of the night so try and keep the quantity to a minimum. Consider having a drink of water, a cup of chamomile tea, or my personal favourite, a cup of Horlicks with a sprinkle of nutmeg or cinnamon two hours before bed. It is a natural proven way of inducing sleep without turning to over the counter sleep aids or medical priscriptions.
It can be well worth the effort to ensure your sleep each night is tip-top and a priority. Taking steps to enjoy the best possible night of sleep not only to protect your mental health, but it is vital for your physical health and you will enjoy the difference.
By: Syianne Raemond
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