Sleep is so important for our overall wellbeing and definitely not time wasted. All my teachers at The Institute of Holistic Nutrition so far mentioned that getting enough sleep is the key to rejuvenate and be healthy. Nowadays it is so easy to make zero distinction between day and night. Nights turn into days easily. We get bombarded with artificial light, new things, limitless entertainment and new technology that disrupts our sleep when and wherever possible.
Living a hectic, stressful and busy lifestyle makes us forget pretty quickly that our body needs a sufficient amount of sleep to deal with it all. If we like it or not, our body is not a machine but has its natural rhythms to deal with and adapt to changes. We do not even need to think about it. The body just functions and does its thing. After I have taken and passed the anatomy course at my school I am even more in awe of it all. The human body is fantastic but it needs enough sleep to function properly. Did you know that according to Elizabeth Lipski “our culture is sleep deprived? Set your schedule so that you get at least seven to nine hours of sleep every night. This is where your body heals and recenters. Without adequate sleep, it is nearly impossible to heal” (Lipski, 2012, p. 174).
The book “The Sleep Revolution” by Arianna Huffington was recommended in class and I read it in one day/night (duh!). I love science (nerd) and to get sleep information from all angles. The book provides information about the history of sleep, what happens in the body while we sleep, the role dreams play as well as all the consequences of sleep deprivation. Whenever there is a lot on my mind that keeps me up at night, I try natural remedies such as chamomile, lavender or passion-flower tea, magnesium or calcium (which relaxes the muscles and nerves), or I take the neurotransmitter/hormone Melatonin (3-5 mg) that supports sleep. Melatonin is also very helpful if you are traveling abroad and there is a time change. You take one pill when you are taking off (and doing an overnight flight) to try to help your body to sleep. Whenever I take Melatonin and arrive at my destination I am not quite as exhausted. I also downloaded a guided sleep meditation app on my phone that works really well.
Other sleep tips that work well for me:
I do not like to sleep in a very dark room since I love to be woken up by natural light in the morning. Through adjusting my sleep rhythm (going to bed between 10-11 pm and waking up between 6-7 am) during the week, I rarely need an alarm clock. I love to stay up longer on weekend and sleep in but my body tells me at around 11 pm that I should get my ass to bed. Turning off all electronic devices at least about half an hour before I head to bed helps. I usually just read a book and relax in bed.
Whenever I do not get enough sleep (because occasionally I watch too much South Park/Simpsons/Family Guy, eat too much dark chocolate, drink too much wine or analyze life too much), I take a power nap if I get the chance to do so during lunch break. Usually, 15 to 20 minutes is adequate for me to fill up my energy storage again. Sometimes I do not even sleep but rest, relax and let go with my eyes closed. Amazingly, our body has a way of telling us to slow down and I am listening now; a lot better than before. Reflecting on the last couple of months in 2017 it made me realize how little I prioritized sleep but things changed. For the better, and into a healthier, independent and happier me. Signing off.