Why Is Sleep So Important?
“Without sleep, you have nothing” was a very profound statement made by our guruji in India, well over 20 years ago when he was teaching about the importance to sleep. This is truer than ever with all the stresses of the world, especially in the past few years. That’s why we feel that a good night’s sleep is actually a superpower.
Sleep is about more than just feeling rested. It is essential to heal, to recover, to deal with stress, to solve problems creatively, to consolidate memories and improve motor skills. Not getting enough of it can lead to or exacerbate health problems.
At our store, the number one functional tea request we get is something for sleep. While we have several very good teas for sleep (relaxing herbal tea, goodnight tea, dream catcher and sleepytime moringa hemp), it is also important to create the necessary conditions for these teas to work. In this blog, we’ll explore 5 tips for better sleep.
Create the Perfect Conditions for Falling Asleep
A good night’s sleep isn’t just about how many hours of sleep you get, but also about the quality of that sleep. Here are some healthy sleep habits that can make the difference between restlessness and restful slumber.
The most critical tip is to maintain regularity. If you implement none of the other tips below, be sure to add this one to your life: go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day – even if it is the weekend! Groan, right? But this regularity reinforces your circadian rhythms which help your body run efficiently. Don’t shoot the messenger, but this also means that you wake up at the same time even if you haven’t slept well the night before.
Melatonin, the sleep hormone, is released by the pineal gland in response to darkness. So dim your lights an hour before bed. And please (!!!) stay away from all screens, especially those LED screens because they emit a blue light that actually puts the brakes on melatonin.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine all together. Since we’re on an unpopularity roll here, let’s go for gold: alcohol does not help you to sleep. In fact, it is a sedative, which means that it knocks your brain out, rather than putting you into a natural sleep which means that your sleep will be fragmented and you will wake up more times throughout the night.
Keep it cool - literally. While it is nice to feel cozy and warm in our beds, the optimal temperature for sleep is about 68 degrees. Your brain and your body need your core temperature to drop by about two or three degrees to initiate good sleep.
Caffeine is also a problem because it is a stimulant. So no caffeine past 2 or 3 pm if you want a restful sleep. We all know people who say they can sleep after a cup of coffee with dinner, but it’s likely that they are not getting deep sleep which results in waking up un-refreshed and reaching for more coffee. Lather rinse repeat.
Finally, do not stay awake in bed worrying about falling asleep. If you haven’t fallen asleep within 20 or so minutes or you’ve woken up and you simply cannot to fall back asleep, don’t fret in bed. Get up, go to another room and in dim light, just read a book. Do not turn on any screens (see tip 2). Only when you feel sleepy should you return to bed.
If you don’t want to get out of bed, an alternative is meditation. Meditation has been demonstrated in clinical trials to help people relax the body, calm and quiet the mind to help you fall back asleep more easily.