How your sleeping habits reflect your health
It is quite amazing but our modern lifestyle does not really promote health-giving sleep. People do not seem to realize how important sleep actually is and when you lack sleep you are prone to get a lot of nasty things. We need to sleep because a lack of sleep during a 24-hour period causes the body to go funny. It seems that the longest period a person stayed alive was with a maximum of 11 days without this necessary rest.
The danger of not sleeping
Sleep deprivation is an awful form of torture that has been practiced thru out the ages and even if it seems less important than immediate bodily harm, the far-reaching effects are more damaging and painful, if forced to continue. It seems that in some people, it can even cause hallucinations, so it becomes clear that humans need a good amount of restful hours to remain normal and to function at their best level.
Sleeping habits in old times
The funny thing is that in the past people did not sleep the whole night. The 7 or 8 hours which are normally recommended to sleep, only came about when the industrial era started. In old times people used to sleep in 2 parts. The time between the 2 periods of sleep was used to talk, eat, pray, and make love. It was meant to entertain yourself and then when you got tired again start your second sleep.
People used to sleep half sitting up so that when the enemy approached, one could jump out quickly with a sword in hand. The old-style box-beds or alcoves were short and people could not lie down. One possible reason for not lying down could be that this position was associated with death. I have seen those types of beds, be it with a curtain or little door, in old farmhouses in Holland. In those times, one often shared the house with farm animals. These types of beds made some kind of privacy possible.
Sleep repairs your body
While you sleep, you are not conscious of all the things that are happening in your body. There are so many things happening while you are asleep, that one could compare it to a stopover in the garage. Your body is being repaired while you are in deep sleep. Your body, including the muscles, organs, and other cells are getting a checkup and when needed, are patched up. Chemicals will circulate in your blood to strengthen your immune system. Deep sleep represents about a fifth of your total night’s sleep.
I think it is interesting to know the difference in the kinds of sleep. Sleep patterns are divided into two basic types, REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and non-REM. Non-REM usually consumes most of your sleep and can vary between light and deep sleep. Scientists believe that during REM a kind of brain decluttering is taking place, and the information you do not need is taken out. You will have most of your dreams while being in REM. Another important thing is taking place. Your hormones are re-balanced. Your growth hormone will go up while your cortisol, the one related to stress goes down.
By experience, I know that the room temperature for a good night’s sleep is very important. A bedroom that is too hot will not let you sleep well. A cool bedroom between 15 to 20 C is, at least for me, the ideal temperature. Something which is also important is that your bedroom should be dark, the darker the better. No little nightlights or those alarm clocks with a strong glow. Needless to say that noise-free is also necessary and the double glass windows can be a great help.
I live upcountry and natural noises like birds singing or a dog barking in the distance normally does not disturb my sleep. I must say that during the wintertime when it is still dark and the rooster kicks up a shindy, I can still get a good night’s sleep. But when the neighbors have a summer party, which can last till the early morning hours, then it might be a tic difficult to fall asleep.
Obviously when you are sick or having any health issues, getting a good night’s sleep might be difficult. There are solutions to sleeping better, keep reading.
Snoring could be a problem and yes ladies also snore. You might poke your partner to change position and that will end the snoring session. Have you heard about sleep apnea? This is a potentially dangerous condition in which your breathing stops and starts out of the normal rhythm. You may also have a condition in which your throat muscles relax, partially closing the air pathways and that can lead to snoring or breathing problems.
One possible way to circumvent this condition is to sleep with your torso inclined relative to the rest of your body. You might try to avoid sleeping on your back or avoid eating late at night and do not drink too much alcohol late at night.
In case you always wake up feeling tired, having a dry mouth, perhaps even a headache, it might be a good idea to visit the doctor.
Depression, anxiety, and stress
If you are depressed, it is difficult to sleep because negative thoughts keep turning around in your head and you cannot shut them off. A few changes in your lifestyle can be of help, such as meditating before going to bed. The quietening down after a hectic day can do wonders. Get your share of good air and do not forget to exercise.
Depression can cause anxiety and vice versa. It is a good idea to have your hormones checked. We all will experience stressful situations in our life. That is normal. As long as you understand what causes your anxiety you will be able to tackle it. Some people find benefits with Yoga or having some acupuncture sessions. This can eliminate stress.
In general, the modern human leads a stressful life, running back and forth to work. Sitting in a car driving to work or spending time on the train getting there. When you arrive, you might be stressed already. Taking your work home is not a good idea and if you have to, then do not concentrate on work just before going to sleep. Much better is to read a pleasant book with some relaxing music in the background.
One thing one really should not do is work on your laptop or mobile while sitting in bed already. Working in your bedroom should be avoided. The same applies to have a TV in your bedroom. Keep your bedroom free of gadgets. The blue light interrupts with your circadian rhythm and sends the wrong signals to your brain. If you must have a night light, the use of amber-colored lights in the evening, signal your brain it soon will be bedtime.
How to avoid acid reflux
It seems there are people who suffer acid reflux. When you lie down and want to sleep but cannot due to this awful burning acid which comes up in your throat. Antiacids are not the answer to this problem. They only treat the symptom and gives money to “Big Pharma.” One has to find the cause. Take care of what you eat and avoid foods such as spices, caffeine, alcohol, and tomatoes at least 3 to 4 hours before bedtime. Often the problem is caused by having too little stomach acid, not too much.
The effect of alcohol and caffeine
We all know when we have been drinking too much, we normally have a restless night and wake up feeling really not on top of the world. Drinking a couple of glasses of water before going to sleep does help me, as alcohol dehydrates your body. During the evening while you are enjoying an alcoholic beverage, it is a good idea to drink water as well.
Some people have a problem when drinking anything with caffeine in the afternoon. Personally I can have my booster coffee at 16.00 hours, but other people will sleep better if they do not drink caffeine after 2 pm. Also, check if you take your supplements, which might contain B vitamins, too late in the day. Especially B12, which has an energizing impact and will not let your brain relax. That is why you should take this type of supplement in the morning.
It is so important to sleep well. By taking the right steps, it will be possible. I sleep like a rose even if I have problems, just like the rest of the human race.
Source: Aimee McNew for Paleo Hacks
Photo Source: Pixabay
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