Advice about how to improve sleep is an everyday part of any Wholistic Health practice, and I’m used to delivering. But, today I am suffering the effects of a wakeful night after not ‘Walking My Talk’. Last night I sat up on the computer until well after midnight when the cold finally drove me to bed, only to then wake repeatedly throughout the night.
Sleep is so important, especially now as the days have shortened and we approach winter. Sufficient sleep allows our body to recover from the day and leads to improved brain function and memory.
But sleep doesn’t always come easily.
Here are some simple ways to create a calm sleep-friendly environment to help you get a great night’s sleep.
De-Clutter and De- Junk
Is your bedroom a soothing sanctuary or is it also a place where you work? It is essential that you establieh and maintain the boundary between work and rest. Your bedroom needs to be a place where you unwind and take ‘you-time’. If the boundaries are unclear you never get a break from the pressure and stress of work.
When you keep your bed for sleeping or other fun bedtime activities, your brain comes to associate bed with only these activites rather than work, which makes it easier for you to nod off.
Clear away the clutter and mess, open the windows to refresh the energy, add fresh flowers, beautiful and meaningful ornaments, a candle or Himalayan Salt Lamp.
Create an EMF-Free Zone
If you are surrounded by electronic devices while you sleep your brain waves are affected throughout the night and quite simply, you will never get good sleep. There is concern that the pulsed frequencies of electronic devices interfere with the body’s own signals, and their electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) affect the emotions, the organs, endocrine (hormone) production and the immune system, which can then lead to poor sleep, as well as many other problems.
There are many studies that show that exposure to electronic devices (even electric lights) before going to bed interferes with sleep patterns. Far from allowing you to wind-down in the evening using electronic devices actually increase your alertness and interferes with REM sleep.
Light, from any source including the low levels of light emitted by electronic devices, is known to disrupt circadian rhythms and cause poor sleep
There have also been a number of studies into whether the electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) around electronic devices affect the release of melatonin, the sleep inducing hormone. In 2007 this study showed melatonin production, and therefore sleep quality, may be affected in some people.
Switch off your smartphone, your ipad, your laptop, your TV, e-reader and other devices at the source. If you need an alarm to wake find an alternative to your phone. Sleeping close to an active smartphone (or other device) is absolutely NOT WORTH the wide-reaching adverse effects it has on you. In addition, like Pavlov’s dog, you will not be able to resist reaching for them when they beep or ring.
If you do need to leave any devices switched on, make sure they are well away from your body, at least a metre.
Check your bedroom for electro-magnetic fields and remove the devices responsible.
If you need entertainment before sleep, place some books or magazines in your room, or perhaps a journal. Not only can journaling help to empty your mind of those annoying thoughts that keep you awake, it has been found to have many health benefits, with research even showing it strengthens the immune system and reduces the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Use your journal to establish Gratitude practices to build your Happiness Bank.
Check the temperature. A moderate temperature, about 20 or 21 degrees Celsius, neither too warm or cold, will support undisturbed sleep.
Darkness helps you sleep and even small amounts of light interrupt the production of the neurotransmitters needed for sound sleep. Use block-out curtains if there are lights outside your window. Don’t turn lights on suddenly during the night as they disrupt the production of the sleep-inducing hormones, melatonin and serotonin. Don’t use white light as a night light, the soft pink glow of a Himalayan Salt Lamp avoids the problem, if you simply must have light in the bedroom. If you can’t block out light wear an eye mask.
Music is a wonderful aid to help you relax. Gentle, music, white noise or relaxation recordings will all help you unwind. The rhythmic sound of the surf washing onto the beach is a very effective way to induce sleepiness.
No TV right before bed! Stop about thirty minutes before retiring and definitely don’t watch it in bed.
Turn your bedroom into a space you look forward to spending time and relaxing in.
All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.