With the addition of my newest family member, my beautiful and healthy baby girl, I am really starting to see the big importance of sleep. I am not here to give you my sob story about how I am not getting much sleep or to have you feel sorry for me and give me any sympathy because I am that is not why I am writing this post. I am here to give sympathy to the rest of the millions in this world who are always running on very little sleep and for those who are insomniacs. Trying to function on very little sleep or intermittent sleep throughout the night is very challenging and very tough. I can only speak for myself, but I have noticed that my patience and tolerance is way down, my motivation and drive is way down, my energy level down and even my compassion at my job as a personal trainer is down. For me, I know this is only a small phase in my life and this to shall pass but I am concerned for the rest of the population who are facing these chronic problems day in, day out, week after week.
Sleep is an extremely valuable, vital and necessary element for basic human function and without it, we suffer. For those people who say sleep is not necessary and that they will “sleep when they are dead” well the studies out there prove you will be dead a lot sooner than your sleeping friends my friend. I believe the human body needs to shut down, reprogram, regenerate, recuperate and revitalize everything going on in it and without sleep it will never happen and you will always feel like you are running on low. There will not be enough coffee or caffeine in the world to counteract the effects of chronic sleep deprivation. I believe a good night of sleep is anywhere between 6 to 8 hours of solid uninterrupted, UNMEDICATED shut eye. I believe some of us are so hard wired to sleep while taking some medication that they feel they can not sleep without it. This is definitely not a healthy way to sleep and causes a chemical dependency.
There are many ways to wind down before hitting the sack to let your body and mind prepare for the 6 to 8 hours of solid sleep and I would like to share with you some of my favorites:
- Turn off all electronics an hour before bedtime. No phones, computers, ipads or TV’s. These are all just electrical stimuli
- Go for a walk. A night walk prepares your body because you sense, see and feel the darkness around you and it helps adjust your bio-rythms. Plus it is a great way to quiet your mind AND get some movement in.
- Read ( fiction preferably) Reading helps tire your eyes and helps drift your mind off to sleep with ease.
- Turn off all overhead lights. If you have a dimmer, set it down low, and if you can light candles, even better. Candles will definitely help you wind down.
- Meditation. Calms you down, relaxes you and works your breathing. Fantastic
- Stretching. Being a diver, I found this helpful on restless night. Sometimes stretching your tight muscles helps relax you and makes you feel all jelly and gumby like
- Sexual gratification. Whether it be with your partner or yourself. Most of you know how us men like to fall asleep right after. Enough said.
These are all just my suggestion to helping us obtain a great night of sleep. Try and see what works best for you, it might even be a combination of several of the above suggestions.
Those who snooze, win in the game of life.