Are you getting enough sleep? Research suggests that getting too little can be bad for your health. Surprisingly, however, too much can also be bad for you. Here is some general information, and some ways to ensure that you get the right amount of sleep for your health.
Our bodies operate on a set of biological clocks called circadian rhythms. Some circadian rhythms include our sleep schedule and our levels of hunger throughout the day. A healthy circadian rhythm means healthy Z’s. As we get older, we generally need less sleep to be healthy – and if we get too much, there can be adverse health effects. Here are some ways we can encourage our bodies to maintain healthy circadian rhythms.
Exposure to sunlight during the day, followed by darkness at night
Studies have shown that, in part, our circadian rhythm relies on light exposure to recognize when it is day and when it is night. In the morning, sit in the bright sunlight, and at night, if you must use light, make it a dim lamp.
When you exercise during the day, you use up energy, making it easier to fall asleep at night. An active daytime lifestyle is essential for a good circadian rhythm.
Cut down on caffeine
Too much caffeine can throw our circadian rhythms off balance. Avoid drinking caffeine before bedtime.
Meditation at night
Before you go to bed, meditate. Sometimes, you may even fall asleep during meditation. If sleep is your goal, this is perfectly acceptable.
Eat healthy, and avoid eating before bed
The last thing you need is food before bed. Digestion interferes with healthy sleep, and may even interrupt your slumber.
Time your sleep
Use an alarm clock, go to bed at a certain time if possible, and don’t take midday naps. You can train your natural circadian rhythms to occur at certain times. This may take a few days, but it can be done.
It is important to note that if you cannot establish or maintain a healthy circadian rhythm using the information here, you may have a sleep disorder. If you feel that you have a sleep disorder, your health provider can run tests to determine if you have one, and can give you medications to help you establish a healthy rhythm. Nothing can replace the advice of a health professional. Some disorders are based on chemical imbalances in the brain which cannot be cured (or are very difficult to cure) using natural methods.
If you have trouble sleeping, you are one of millions of people whose natural rhythms are out of balance. The good news is that, even if you are, you can regain a healthy balance by using these methods. You can restore your life to what it once was.
Sleep is one of the most important parts of life – you must do what you can to maintain your health, through healthy rest.
Moral of the story: Don’t go without sleep, and don’t get too much!