We all know that sleep is important, and when we do not get good rest or enough sleep we feel the negative effects. We drag the next day, are not as productive as we would like to be and our mood can be less than desirable.
During sleep, not only do we get re-energized but also it is a time for our body to repair from daily stress, toxins, injury and illness. Circadian Rhythms are a natural physiological cycle of about 24 hours that persists even in the absence of external cues. These cycles of physical repair and psychological repair depend on the release of various hormones. Sleep and daylight, due to many factors, control the release of stress hormones, melatonin, growth and repair hormones. Disrupted sleep patterns will disrupt the release of these hormones and thus disrupt proper rest and repair.
There are different schools of thought on how much sleep one needs. When people are sick, and/or their bodies require more repair, they need more sleep. My opinion is that there is some variation between individuals, but there is a general agreement that most people need about 8 hours. The most important factor is consistency. Other guidelines are as follows:
1. Get to sleep by 10:30 PM
2. Minimize your exposure to bright lights (particularly fluorescent lights), TV, computers and handheld electronics for at least two hours before going to bed.
3. Sleep in a completely dark room.
4. Avoid the consumption of stimulants (alcohol, sugar or caffeine) later in the day.
5. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
6. Get regular exercise.
7. Rearrange your bedroom so all electrical appliances (including clocks, TV’s, lights, phones/chargers) are as far away from your bed as possible and do not use an electric blanket.