Posted by: renaissance2wellbeing | December 4, 2010

How to Get a Good Nights Sleep (October ’10)

             How To Get a Good Nights Sleep!

 O bed! O bed! delicious bed! That heaven upon earth to the weary head
~Thomas Hood, Miss Kilmansegg – Her Dream 

The original Roman year had 10 named months – October being the eight month. The Latin octo,”eight” + ber – the Latin of October means, October mensis, “eight month”. During October, leaves transform their color to a variety of hues: red, scarlet, purple, burgundy, orange, and yellow, before plummeting to earth and laying to rest. With October, days get shorter as cooler and lightless days pervade. For children, there is Halloween to celebrate with pumpkins and trick or treat.

As daylight diminishes, darkness encroaches more on our daily lives. Incidentally to be healthy, we need the balance of darkness and brightness in our life – brightness by day from the sun, and darkness at night for restful sleep. This month’s newsletter looks at the topic of sleep.    

                     How To Get a Good Nights Sleep  

“[S]leep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together”  ~Thomas Dekker  

Good health is an assembled jigsaw puzzle. Matching the pieces brings one into wholeness: physically, mentally and spiritually. We are well aware of these matching pieces, such as eating healthy, regular exercise, destressing our life and connecting to our soul or spiritual body. These are relevant to our well being and overall health.  

Still, we can enhance them further by adding restful sleep. In our fast paced world with longer work hours, stress, we cram as much as possible into our daily routine, surviving on a meager amount of sleep. Many skimpier on sleep by using caffeine or other stimulants to keep them up, but eventually pay a price through ill health or low energy levels. Invariably, life is about balance – there’s a time to be productive and a time to rest. 

Some ill-effects of impaired or interrupted sleep:

  • It dramatically weakens the immune system
  • It accelerates tumor growth; it’s been found in lab animal tests that tumors grow two to three times faster from severe sleep dysfunctions.
  • It can cause a pre-diabetic state, making one hungry even when they have already eaten, causing weight gain.
  • It seriously impairs memory. It been found that a single night of poor sleep (4-6 hours), can impact ones ability to think clearly the next day.
  • Furthermore, impairing performance to physical or mental tasks, and decreasing problem-solving abilities.
  • Sleep deprivation prematurely ages you by interfering with growth hormone production, normally released by the pituitary gland during deep sleep. Growth hormones help one look and feel younger.

When our circadian rhythms are disrupted, the body produces less melatonin (a hormone and an antioxidant) with less ability to fight cancer, since melatonin helps suppress free radicals that can lead to cancer. This is why tumors grow faster when we sleep poorly.  

When to Sleep

Ideally we should be sleeping by 10PM. At 10 P.M. the liver kicks in to detoxify us, and it produces:  

1) Glutathione Peroxidase

2) Enzymes

3) Free radical scavenger agents to detoxify and prepare ourselves for the next day.  

It’s as if at 10 P.M. the janitor comes in to get us ready for the next day – if we eat late this process cannot happen. From 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. is when the body is supposed to burn fat. If we eat late in the evening, we burn sugar into the night, we never reset that metabolism.  We never reset stability and wake up unstable.  

In traditional cultures, they go to sleep after the sun sets, and get up when the sun rises. They get more sleep in the winter in the resting time of the year, and less in the summer.  

Recommendations For a Good Night’s Sleep 

  • No food within 3 hours of going to bed. However, by eating a high protein snack several hours before bed, provides L-tryptophan needed for melatonin and serotonin production. By eating a small piece of fruit can help tryptophan cross the blood brain barrier.
  • No caffeine or stimulants within 5 hours of going to bed.
  • No alcohol before bed.
  • Not to sleep within 6 feet of an electrical appliance; clock, radio,TV, computer, because that is throwing off an electromagnetic pulse, which interferes with the pineal gland that secretes melatonin.
  • Using cell phones during the day adversely affects the pineal gland. If you are going to use a cell phone, use it with a safety guard that draws in the electromagnetic pulses. Which prevent the electromagnetic impulses going into the ear and over-stimulating the pineal gland, adversely affecting melatonin?
  • Make sure the room is pitch black with no light coming in. If not, wear an eye mask. If there is light coming in, the body perceives that it is still daytime and you won’t get that deep sleep that one needs. Even the tiniest bit of light in the room can disrupt your internal clock and your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin. If it is too noisy, wear comfortable ear plugs.
  • Also, the TV should be taken out of the bedroom as watching television in bed is over stimulating to the mind. TV disrupts pineal gland function.
  • Keep bedroom temperature at no higher than 70 degrees F. Ideal room temperature should be between 60 to 68 degrees F.
  • Don’t change your bedtime. Go to bed and wake up the same time everyday, even on weekends. This helps the body get into a sleep rhythm, making it easier to fall asleep and getting up in the morning.
  • Put your work away one to two hours before bedtime, which gives your mind time to unwind, making it easier to fall asleep.
  • Meditate or pray to help relax and calm the mind.
  • Sprinkle some Lavender oil on your pillow, it has a calming effect.
  • Read a spiritual or uplifting book, not something stimulating or a mystery or suspense novel.  

Supplements to aid with sleep: 

  • Taking 1-3 mg of Melatonin at night an hour before bed, and 200 mg of Theanine, will calm you down and aid in a good nights sleep.
  • One can also use one of melatonin’s precursors, L-tryptophan or 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP).
  • Herbs that relax the body include Valerian (300-500mg-in capsule) or Passion Flower.    

Additionally, regular exercise aids in getting a good night sleep. Ideally we need 6-8 hours sleep a night, and should strive to get it.  

Lack of restful sleep accelerates aging and restful sleep accelerates healing, minimizing entropy, and enlivens renewal.  Which means, sleep without the use of drugs, alcohol which is not real sleep.

Sleep and Stress 

Sleep is one of the ways that the body metabolizes stress hormones better than anything else. The stress hormones are cortisol and epinephrine primarily. Sleep allows the body to restore itself. If you are sleep deprived, you are running on empty, and stress hormones are raised. As a result of high cortisol levels, insulin levels are raised and that results in carbohydrate cravings and fat accumulations around the middle of the body, eventually leading to weight gain or health issues. In that sense, one of the best ways of diffusing stress hormones is deep, restful sleep. 

To conclude, this is another piece of the wholeness puzzle and journey to well-being. Through healthy eating, regular exercise, controlling stress in our life, a spiritual connection and regular sleep, contributes to a balanced mind, body and spirit.

Recipe  

Sweet Vegetables  

Beet-Carrot-Parsnip-Fennel Extravaganza  

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4 servings  

Ingredients:

3 big carrots

5 small beets

2 parsnips

1 fennel bulb

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt  

Directions:

      1.  Scrub all the vegetables.

      2.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

      3.  Chop vegetables into two-inch pieces and chop fennel bulb finely.

      4.  Mix vegetables with oil and sea salt. Transfer to a baking sheet/dish.

      5.  Bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 more minutes.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: