RESTFUL SLEEP IS ESSENTIAL TO GOOD HEALTH AND BEAUTY
In order to achieve restful sleep, all
light must be blocked from the eyes. This means no night lights, no
lamps, no light from hallway, no TV, no light from outside window.
Most people are not aware of this
and therefore, do not get optimum rest and rejuvenation while sleeping.
So what exactly happens in sleep that allows a person to wake up
feeling refreshed and how is sleep naturally induced?
Our natural sleep cycle begins with the onset of darkness. Special
photosensitive receptor cells in the eyes signal the brain when light
levels diminish to convert the brain chemical “seratonin
” (the chemical of wakefulness and activity) into “melatonin
(the brain chemical of sleep and restoration). Receptor cells within
the stomach also trigger a similar response after the ingestion of
Sleep is vital for the
rejuvenation and repair of the body and for the restoration of a
healthy and balanced mental state. Life’s joys are less apparent in the
absence of periods of deep and refreshing sleep.
In fact, according to the 2002 Sleep America poll conducted
by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), Americans sleep just
6.9 hours per night on average during the week and just 7.5
hours per night on weekends. In contrast, before the invention
of the light bulb, people slept about 10 hours each night.
Meanwhile, an estimated 70 million Americans are impacted
by a sleep problem, according to NSF.
What is this lack of sleep doing to all of us? Plenty.
Consider the findings of this National Institutes of Health
(NIH) sleep study conducted on rats. While rats normally live
for two to three years, those deprived of all sleep only live
about three weeks, and those deprived of REM sleep (the stage
of sleep when we dream and during which it's thought brain
regions used in learning are stimulated) survive only about
five weeks on average.
At the same time, the rats developed abnormally low body
temperatures and sores on their tails and paws. Researchers
believe the sores indicate a sluggish immune system and suggest
just how detrimental sleep deprivation can be to the immune
system of humans.
Further, according to the Sleep Council, not sleeping enough
you fat. People who sleep four hours a night or
less are 73 percent more likely to be overweight than
those who sleep enough. Even if you sleep less than six
hours a night, you're 25 percent more likely to be overweight
than those who sleep longer.
Increase your appetite (also causing you to gain weight).
Research by University of Bristol researchers found that
people who slept for five hours had 15 percent more of
a hormone called ghrelin, which increases your appetite,
than those who slept for eight hours. Meanwhile, the short
sleepers also had 15 percent less leptin, which is a hormone
that suppresses appetite.
Mimic the aging process. In fact, University of
Chicago researchers found that sleeping for four hours
a night for less than seven nights interferes with your
ability to process and store carbs, and regulate hormone
levels -- all of which may lead to aging.
Impact your brain. According to Canadian sleep
expert Stanley Coren, you lose one IQ point for every
hour of lost sleep you didn't get the night before.
How to Get Enough Quality Sleep
If you find that you have a tough time settling down for
sleep each night, try these tips for a night of pure, uninterrupted
How can a sleep mask assist?
Create a relaxing bedtime routine.
Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at
the same time each morning.
Exercise (but not too close to bedtime, as it could
keep you up).
Keep your bedroom cool, quiet, and dark--and use it
only for sleep (not watching TV, surfing the Web, chatting
on the phone or playing video games).
Drink a cup of relaxing tea, like chamomile.
Massage your feet.
Stretch a bit before you lie down.
- Try using a Sleep Mask
masks work by fooling the body into the production of melatonin by
simulating the onset of darkness. This is vitally important for people
who find themselves in situations that are in opposition to the body’s
own natural sleep state, such as night-shift workers or airline
Sleep masks may also assist people residing in dwellings
that feature large areas of natural lighting. During the summertime,
when the days are long, particularly in the higher latitudes, a sleep
mask can be invaluable. Napping on the weekend, in the hammock or at
the beach, can also become much easier with the assistance of a
comfortable light blocking sleep mask.
Studies have shown that we dream in cycles throughout the night. The
cycles generally last between 30 and 90 minutes and are characterized
by various physiological indicators (such as rapid eye movement) that
correspond with brain activity and brain frequency.
very little is known at this time about the full significance of each
of the sleep cycles and what effect each state has on the repair of the
body and mind, it is clear that sleep cycles must complete without
interruption for a person to wake feeling revitalized and refreshed.
Without restful, refreshing sleep a person becomes irritable and
concentration is difficult. With prolonged absence of sleep a person
will begin to hallucinate.and clear thinking is impossible. A person
who gets just a few hours of sleep per night can experience many of the
same problems over time.
If you suffer from Insomnia
, or just feel tired during the day, or have a health problem, just try using a Sleep Mask
. You will be amazed at how much better you will feel!BEDTIME RITUALS
*Use a Sleep Mask to block all light while you sleep
* Try taking a warm bath.
* Lower the room temperature (a cool environment improves sleep).
* Don't "activate" your brain by balancing a checkbook, reading a thriller, or doing other stressful activities.
* Unplug the telephone.
* Make sure your feet are warm!! Studies have shown that it's almost impossible to sleep when your feet are very cold.
* Avoid caffeine less than five hours before bedtime.
* Don't stop for a drink after work; although at first you may feel relaxed, alcohol disturbs sleep.
* Eat a light snack before bedtime. Don't go to bed too full or too hungry.
If you exercise at the workplace, do so at least three hours before you
plan on going to bed. Otherwise, exercise after you sleep. Because
exercise is alerting and raises the body temperature, it should not be
done too close to bedtime.
Sleep medications do not cure sleep problems, but may be
recommended for short-term use. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are
a shift worker. These medications may be helpful for one or two sleep
cycles after a shift schedule change. Talk to your doctor about whether
this type of medication would be helpful to you.