Health Lifestyle – Chapter 5

Getting Good Sleep        

Our sleep cycle is directly related to the cycle of light and darkness, created by the rotation of the earth around the sun, known as the circadian rhythm.  This biological clock can be disrupted by multiple factors such as traveling across different time zones, working night shifts, etc.  It is a fact that most people today do not get enough quality sleep.  When we do not get enough sleep, we become more vulnerable to ill effects of stress.  Common health ailments, such as fatigue and tiredness, can result from lack of sleep and are increasing in frequency.  Most people need between 7- 9 hours of sleep a night and most get 60 to 90 minutes less sleep than they need. A combination of a busy lifestyle, lack of time, staring at the TV and computer screens at night, unbalanced work schedule, etc. contribute to this problem.  Problems with sleep are our body’s way of warning us about the way we are conducting our life in the short term or long term.  The following exercises will help you assess the quality of your sleep and suggest ways of dealing with poor sleep habits.

Good sleep hygiene:
  • Develop a routine sleep ritual including a regular sleep pattern by going to bed the same time and getting up the same time.
  • If you need more sleep go to bed at least 20-30 minutes earlier at night.
  • Use your bed only for sleep and sex.
  • Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and on the cool side.
  • Keep your hands and feet warm by wearing socks or mittens to bed if needed.
  • Get regular exercise, preferably in the morning and avoid exercise at least three hours before bedtime.
  • Although a short power nap may be useful, avoid taking long naps during the day.  
  • One hour before bed do not watch TV, work with computer, pay bills, listen to the news, argue or engage in any activity which may cause worry or stress.
  • Remove electrical devices such as cell phones, radios etc., from around your head when sleeping.  Electromagnetic fields can reduce melatonin levels.
  • Avoid stimulants such as caffeine or certain medications such as Sudafed.   Do not use alcohol to help you sleep.  Do not take any sleeping pills without consulting your doctor.  Do not go to bed too hungry or too full.


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