The right amount of sleep is crucial. Sleep helps our bodies rejuvenate and repair. Without enough sleep our bodies perform at a suboptimal level. Whenever I get less than eight hours of sleep for more than a few days, I get sick the following with a cold or a sore throat. This is a given. It doesn’t matter if I have been drinking drinking green juices every morning, eating well, and exercising. Lose a couple nights of good sleep in a row, and like clockwork I get sick.
According to this infographic we are the only mammals that willingly delay sleep, and our biggest sleep distractor is the internet/technology (meaning there are no sheeps counting humans when they can’t go to sleep after reading too many articles on the interwebs). We delay our sleep the night before only in the next day to experience drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, headaches, irritability and more hunger. Over time losing sleep can lead to aching muscles, confusion, memory loss, depression, hallucinations, hand tremors, headaches, sensitivity to cold, blood shot eyes, bloating, increased blood pressure, increased level of stress, irritability, and obesity. If you are working on improving your health don’t forget about your sleep quality.Usually, improving your sleep is not too complicated. Make your bedroom restful, drink less coffee, do a bit more exercise and have an established bedtime routine. However, even though we know what’s good for us doesn't mean we do it.
Getting enough sleep is my number one personal health challenge. I have a bedtime routine helps me relax and sleep better. I turn off all the technology, the lights and read a book. However, my routine gets forgotten when I am using technology during the evening, which is often. I could be studying, working, or writing all of which make me lose track of time and I end up completely forgetting my bed time routine. Before I know it, it’s already 11.45 pm and when I go to bed my brain refuses to relax and instead it continues to churn. If you have the same problem and you can’t sleep for hours on end because you are not sleepy but tired, try this app. It’s called F.lux and it’s free to download. It works by gradually reducing the blue light as it get’s darker outside. This means your internal clockwork isn’t halted by the blue light, and you get sleepy at the right time of the day.
Exposure to blue light affects our ability to fall asleep by affecting our melatonin levels. Melatonin makes us sleepy. Our bodies have evolved such that it corresponds with the sunlight. At noon when daylight is at it’s brightest, our melatonin production is at our lowest making us wide awake enabling us to work during the daylight. As the day gets darker, melatonin levels increase making us feel sleepy so we sleep and our bodies can rejuvenate. However, when we use technology that emits strong blue light such as our computers, tablets, and smartphones it messes with our ability to produce enough melatonin in order to fall asleep. F.lux solves the problem without us having to solely use our will power to get ourselves to bed in time.
In the last few weeks when I have been working on the computer during the evening, I have been getting sleepy at about 9 pm because of the gradual dimming of the screen. Plus, as the screen is such a different colour ( it’s orange-y) in the evening it’s a good visual reminder signalling me that it’s too late to be working and it’s time to unplug and go to bed. So far I have been able to get to sleep within 20 minutes, which is much better than what happened previously, which was hours of tossing and turning. If you are struggling with sleep try F.lux and if you don’t have bedtime routine look into bedtime routines and find what relaxes you most and stick to it.
My favourite thing to do to relax is reading. The book needs to be relatively mellow, because if it is too exciting I could end up reading for hours and that’s not good. How about you? What’s your favourite calming ritual that you do to relax before sleep? I’d love to hear! Let me know in the comments section.
With love & simplicity,