I am now 34 and it has taken me several years to wake up and start listening to my body and it’s needs. More to the point, it’s forcing me to comply to its needs because if I don’t, I get physically ill AND no, it doesn’t mean I go ‘mental’ or become a danger to society, I mean, I suffer from anxiety.
There have been times where I have hit a wall, where my body has felt like it was just shutting down on me. One of the scariest moments was when I was driving and I had my daughter in the car with me, I had been perfectly fine in the morning, I had gone for a run, done some house work. I asked her to keep talking to me because I was feeling all my energy in my body dissipate and all I wanted to do was curl up and go to sleep.
I got to the shop, managed to get what I needed and be on my way home, again as I was driving, my energy levels were quickly leaving me, I am thinking ‘what’s going on?!’ so I started to freak out a little and so triggered a beginning of a panic attack. So, I start talking to myself and reassuring myself (in my head). I kept myself calm and got home safe with my daughter in tow. Walked in the door, told my husband I wasn’t feeling well and plonked myself on the sofa.
I woke up 45 minutes later feeling revived. I sat there analysing what on earth happened to me earlier? What I realised after thinking back over the past week, maybe two was that my sleep hygiene had been totally out of whack, I had been doing everything I know not to do, going to bed around 11pm, that’s a heck no for me, too late! My diet, we had been so busy lately we had indulged in a McDonald’s or two, just that week. Alcohol, what’s nicer after working your butt off all day to sitting down in the evening to a cold beer? I had not been doing a lot of things that I know my body needs to keep me on my top performance, I know what’s good for me, not just physically but for my mental/emotional states too. I know, if I don’t get my 8 hours sleep, I get emotional, my thoughts are negative around everything, I put myself down, I have a negative outlook on life, now that’s not attracting positivity into my life! So, like I said, I feel I am pretty connected with myself and how I feel. If I don’t stick to my routine then my body kicks off and yes for a few days till I get back on track, I’m emotional and sometimes Mr anxious rears his ugly head again. When I see him, that is usually my wake-up call to change my habits back to healthy, healthy sleep hygiene, healthy lifestyle and healthy food. It all helps for me and knowing all this, yep, I still get a few bump’s in the road.
So, sleep and diet play a huge role in my physical, mental/emotional states and the more I learn on the importance of sleep, is Shocking!
Here are some benefits to having quality sleep.
- Better skin health
- emotional regeneration/better relationships,
- decreased risk of stroke/cardiovascular diseases
- fewer accidents
- lower levels of inflammation
- lower risk of cancer and infection
- faster rate of weight loss
- lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease
- better memory
These are just a few benefit’s for having quality sleep for us to fully function.
Your sleep is vital to your health because this is the time when your body kicks into action and cleanses all your body of toxins. It is advised that you keep your room temperature between 60 and 68 degrees, this temperature helps you get the quality sleep needed and helps to induce sleep. During sleep your body temperature cools down and releases hormones that make repairs to your skin and bones, your blood flow is directed to your muscles, restoring your physical energy. During deep REM sleep, your brain is flushed with the fluid that surrounds the brain and spine, which clears the brain of damaging molecules associated with neurodegeneration.
Sleep is vital to your health all-round, try putting sleep at the top of your priority list and see the changes happen in your life. If you would like to start making changes but don’t know where to start, try with your sleep hygiene.
- Have good sleep/wake rituals- regular sleep/wake times
- Keep your work out of your bedroom- for sleep and sex only!
- Vacate all electronics from your bedroom
- Keep your bedroom as your sanctuary, somewhere you enjoy coming into
- Keep your bedroom temperature between 60 and 68 degrees
- Keep your bedroom as dark as possible at bedtime
- Keep pets off the bed
- Switch off all electronic devices an hour before bedtime, read a book or do some colouring, something that relaxes you
- Don’t drink caffeine after 2pm
- If your feeling stressed, try journaling or meditation, listen to some calming music
- Try to keep noise out, if noise is from outside, try wearing earplugs, keep window closed or try thick heavy curtains to muffle out noise
- Have a hot relaxing bath before bed, keeping light to a minimum (block out that blue light) maybe some candles or a red-light bulb in your bathroom
- Have a cup of Camomile or lavender tea before bed