So you want to sleep like a champion? Ok, I’ve got your back. This article is a summary of a decade of experience working towards peak wellness, and sleep is, hands down, one of the most critical factors in your health. I disagree with anyone selling the message to sleep less. We can do this for awhile to achieve short term goals, but as you’ll soon discover, if you haven’t already, lack of good sleep means lack of wellness. Period.
I sleep four hours a night, I’m good right?
Nope. There’s no hard and fast rule for the amount of sleep you need, but I’m betting it’s close to eight hours. Sleep provides the body with so many benefits, here’s a few you should know about:
- Sleep cleans your brain. You didn’t learn that in school? I know, we just figured it out.
- Sleep effects your gene expression. From the article:
We show that one wk of insufficient sleep alters gene expression in human blood cells, reduces the amplitude of circadian rhythms in gene expression, and intensifies the effects of subsequent acute total sleep loss on gene expression. The affected genes are involved in chromatin remodeling, regulation of gene expression, and immune and stress responses.
- Sleep helps reduce inflammation.
Anyway, I could go on and on. Sleep is everywhere in nature, I doubt it’s superfluous. Google it, bathe in sleep’s glory, then come back here so we can get you on the right track.
Ok, great, I need great sleep, what do I do?
Well, wellness champion, I’m glad you asked. Here’s my advice:
1) Empty your stomach – You should have an empty stomach when you go to bed. In my experience, if you ask your body to digest when it’s supposed to be cleaning, well, you get it, it won’t be cleaning. Remember sleeping is a fast, from both food and thought.
See, I told you you can fast, you do it most of your life.
2) Exercise – Even gentle exercise will dramatically improve your ability to fall asleep at night. Try walking a couple of miles, and notice how much easier it is to fall asleep.
3) Dynamicism – Is your day boring? Are you boring? I’m not trying to be facetious, I’m just asking. If you don’t experience new things, you’re going, even subconsciously, to become bored. Experience new things, take on new challenges, break through your fears. You’ll start sleeping again. Remember your first trip to the amusement park? There’s a reason everyone slept on the way home, my friend.
4) Oxygen – Are you breathing at night? Sleep apnea and the like could be reducing your oxygen intake. For me, I had a brutal nose fracture that caused breathing problems. Trust me, if you don’t breath at night, it’s a very bad thing for the organism you’re driving.
Try this stuff:
- See a sleep doctor if you suspect sleep apnea. Make a plan to lose your excessive weight. Don’t delay, champion.
- Crack a window. The air inside your house is probably terrible, in fact, I need to write a whole article about that. For now, make sure the air inside your home is humid enough, clean, and free from toxins like molds and what not. (Have you checked your fresh air vent – do you even have a fresh air vent? Are your filters clean? When’s the last time you’ve recycled the air in your home?) This stuff matters. At least it does to the champion.
- Ever heard of ayurveda? Well, if your sinuses are causing issues, rinse them with a netty pot, then consider oils with the help of a doctor.
5) Caffeine is not sleep’s friend – Remember that coffee has a half life of six hours. If you don’t fall asleep easily, cut out all caffeine by noon. That should give your body enough time to let down. If coffee is too much, consider green tea, it has different compounds, besides caffeine, that assist with alertness, but won’t take you for a ride.
6) Hot baths or showers – Create ritual in your life. Take a hot shower or bath, think of all the good things that happened to you and how awesome the next day’s going to be. Always today first, champion, but then tomorrow!
Wrapping it up
If you want to experience the power of the above advice, jump in, don’t be shy. Get up, walk your three miles, eat reasonably, avoid large amount of animal products, or hell, cut them out all together. Enjoy a new experience, stop eating at 5 or 7pm, take a hot bath, crack your window, and just see what happens. When’s the last time you woke up after sleeping so deeply, so soundly, that your legs felt like weights and you were ready to kick ass all over this day? You just might start =)
If you know someone who could use this info, please share it with them – Facebook, email, the like.
Until next time, friends! Live well and live whole!