Just like eating healthy and exercise, adequate sleep is an
essential component for a health conscious life style. We
are a sleep-deprived society and this is wrecking havoc on
individual’s mental and physical health. Lack of sleep can
be as dangerous to your health as smoking. Studies have
shown that people who slept 7 to 8 hours a night lived
significantly longer than those who didn’t.
Lack of sleep affects all areas of your life including:
~Emotional- you may be more frustrated, irritable, cranky
~Social-you may be difficult to get along with, lack of
desire to socialize
~Cognitive-impaired ability to learn, poor memory, decreased
problem solving abilities
~Physical- productivity is impaired, fatigue, a compromised
immune system which leaves you vulnerable to disease,
infection, and colds etc.
~Safety-judgment may be impaired, your less aware and alert
which can lead to accidents, hand eye coordination is
Sleep also restores our physical and mental energy. The body
repairs itself while we sleep. It detoxes and heals. Thus,
for us individuals living with chronic illness or chronic
pain, obtaining adequate sleep is vitally important. We need
adequate sleep to help us cope with stress, to relieve pain
and fatigue and keep symptoms to a minimum. Lack of sleep in
the chronically ill often increases pain and fatigue and
exacerbates whatever symptoms they may experience.
Experts used to recommend seven to eight hours of sleep, but
it is now believed the average adult needs an average of
nine hours sleep. Some need less and some need more. For
those living with chronic illness more may be required, or
frequent naps will be necessary. Your body will tell you how
much sleep you need if you pay attention. Feeling refreshed
and well is often not possible for those with chronic
illness or pain, but find the amount you need to function as
optimally as possible for your situation.
Tips To Improve Your Sleep:
~No alcohol or caffeine
~Try and maintain a routine of getting up and going to bed
around the same time
~Exercise at least 30 minutes daily
~Take a warm bath or shower just prior to bedtime
~Read or watch TV if these are relaxing for you, if they are
stimulating then you would want to avoid
~Avoid conversations on the phone right before bedtime
~If your having difficulty getting to sleep or wake up in
the middle of the night, having an orgasm can help you.
After having an orgasm, endorphins are released that make
you relaxed and sleepy. You must be lying down at the time
of the orgasm and then immediately close your eyes and
attempt to sleep, before the endorphins wear off.
~Keep your sleeping environment clean and free from toxic
chemicals such as perfumes, cleaning supplies, pesticides
etc. In addition to toxicity, chemicals can stimulate the
brain and keep you awake.
~Use sheets and blankets that are made of natural fibers.
Synthetic fibers are a chemical and can stimulate the brain
and prevent you from sleeping. Don’t wash your bedding with
bleach or scented laundry products for the same reason.
~See a holistic physician for possible nutritional
deficiencies or thyroid abnormalities. Both of these can
cause sleep difficulties.
*Do not use drugs (prescription or otherwise, to assist you
in sleeping) Drugs interfere in stage IV sleep, which only
aggravates symptoms and robs you of the benefits you should
derive from sleeping. Drug induced sleep is not healthy
sleep. If you need assistance, seek a holistic physician
that can advice you which supplements and herbs such as
melatonin, serotonin, valerian, chamomile etc. can be used
to improve your sleep.