Do You Need A Good Night Sleep?

I was listening to the news this morning, and it was discussing a health poll by Pollara. Here was one of the findings.

Many Canadians did not give their overall health a very high mark either.

“I call it the great unwell. There’s this large group of people who are not fantastic, not terrible, they’re just not feeling all that great,” said Celia Milne, senior writer at Rogers’ Medical Post magazine, who wrote about the survey’s findings.

She said only 57 per cent of Canadians rate their overall health as “very good” or “excellent.” “The doctors at first were surprised by the answer,” Milne said.

She added many doctors feel stress and fatigue, which are affecting people of all ages, are the main reasons for the low health rating.

“They’ve got stress, they’ve got fatigue, they’ve got maybe depression or almost on their way to depression,” she said.

Ben Franklin wisely stated -”Early to bed and early to rise makes one healthy, wealthy, and wise”

Unfortunately over time I think this has been interpreted to mean ‘I go to bed early in the morning, 1-2am, and get up early in the morning, 6-7am, so I don’t understand why I’m sick, poor, and unable to think effectively’

For all the good that modern civilization has brought us, it has also brought some negatives. 24-7 entertainment, zero quiet time, 40-80 hour work weeks, low nutrient fast food, etc.

Though we could go on about the negatives, lets become action oriented and work on a good night sleep.

I read a great post on Steve Pavlina’s site “How to Become an Early Riser”

Steve talks about two schools of thought on sleep.

1. Go to bed at a set time, get up at a set time.

2. Go to bet when you are tired, get up when you naturally wake up.

Steve discusses the downsides of both these approaches, but I’m sure you can see that these approaches will only work in a bubble. Life is busy and it is often very difficult to get to bed at a set time on a consistent basis, and we don’t have the luxury of getting up whenever we wake up naturally, especially those with kids, school or a job.

Steve recommends a combo approach. Go to sleep when you are tired and get up at a set time. This makes sense because what is the point of going to bed before you are tired and lying awake for an hour, better to be productive for that hour and then sleep when you are ready, and then get right up at a set time because that is what “we have to do”.

And what does getting up at a set time mean? Pick your wake up time, when your alarm goes off, stretch, count to five and get up. Don’t hit the snooze, don’t find a valid reason for an extra 60 seconds of sleep. Just get up.

Here are some other good night rest suggestions.

  • Cut out the caffeine 6-7 hours before you usually go to sleep. – Caffeine blocks the production of a chemical that causes us to get drowsy. Cutting out caffeinated drinks 6-7 hours before you go to sleep will allow the chemical reaction to take place.
  • Make a ‘Tomorrow List’ – Don’t go to bed with a cluttered mind. Thinking about everything that you have to do the next day will make it hard to wind down. Set a time every evening to plan tomorrow. Write your thoughts, appointments and to do’s.
  • Consider Meditation – Meditating before you go to sleep is a great way to settle your mind and body. Check out this link for instructions on developing a meditation practice.
  • Exercise – I find it interesting that exercise and meditation are great ways to begin and end your day. They will wake you up and put you to sleep. The reality is, that the healthier your body and mind are, the better you will function on a day to day basis.
  • Cut out the evening News – It is far easier to go to bed with a calm and peaceful mental state, than to fill your mind with the stress, sadness and violence of the evening news. In general it is best to not watch highly emotional TV right before you go to bed.
  • Sex – The more intense, the better you’ll sleep (This is for married couples. I don’t promote premarital sex)
  • Black Tea – Black tea is known to be very calming. Replace your caffeine drinks with a cup or two of black tea in the evening.
  • Stop eating after 8:00pm – Not only will this help with your sleep but you will find that you might start loosing weight also.
  • Cut out Dairy and Wheat products in the evening – Studies suggest that mild dairy and wheat allergies can effect sleep making it difficult to get up in the morning.

If you have some other suggestions please put them in the comment section and I will add them to the post with your name.

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