The Gentle Art of a Great Night’s Sleep
How did you sleep last night? Did you wake up feeling bright, alert and thoroughly refreshed? Or did you have the impression that your sleep could’ve been better?
These are important questions because good sleep is an essential ingredient for good health. It’s one of the great keys to mental fitness and all-round wellbeing. And good sleep doesn’t happen by accident.
If you’re one of the many people who find it difficult to fall asleep, if you who wake up during the night and usually face the morning with a groan and a silent plea for just a couple more hours beneath the duvet, we’ve got some great news for you :
It really is possible to learn and master the basics of a good night’s sleep and enjoy the benefits with immediate results.
Good sleep is the best meditation. – Dalai Lama
So, let’s start by asking ourselves where good sleep comes from.
It’s helpful to consider your rest as the natural product of four main influences:
- The body’s natural rhythms
- Stress factors
Laugh and the world laughs with you. Snore and you sleep alone. – Anthony Burges
Humans possess a natural twenty-four cycle that we refer to as the circadian rhythm. It’s isn’t exactly a precisely-calibrated twenty-four-hour cycle but it still plays an important role in how we sleep. Exposure to light is one of the main factors that influences our circadian rhythms. That’s why it’s so helpful to eliminate light from the bedroom – rather than staring at a television or a brightly-lit computer screen when we should be resting.
Learning to wind down, to relax every muscle in our bodies, to release the stresses of the day and prepare to sleep deeply and calmly is a fantastically effective habit that can help all of us to enjoy a better night’s sleep. It’s incredibly important to draw a line under the day’s events and put everything behind you as turn out the lights and prepare to enjoy a refreshing and restorative night’s repose.
Our bodies are constantly changing and, as we get older, our sleep patterns change too. Statistically, we’re more likely to wake up during the night once we hit the magical age of forty though there are many exceptions to this general principle. And menopause can also cause dramatic disruption to sleep. That’s why it’s so important to develop effective, long-term sleep patterns that can endure into older age.
Everybody knows that caffeine is a stimulant but it might surprise you to know that this well-known component of tea and coffee can stay in your system for up to fourteen hours. Alcohol and nicotine are another pair of great ways to ruin a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is that golden chain that ties our health and our bodies together. – Thomas Dekker
The answer is to develop the kind of simple but effective routines that will lead to a better night’s sleep.
You can probably guess that you need to minimise light in the bedroom – and that’s especially valid for those little blue lamps that are used on phone and computer chargers.
You need to reduce noise to the minimum too, even if that involves a set of comfortable ear plugs.
Surprisingly, you might sleep better with a lower temperature in the bedroom. And everyone knows it’s essential to avoid eating or drinking too late in the evening.
Anything that interferes with your sleep has to be removed from the bedroom and that includes pets. If they have to be close to you, make up a bed on the floor rather than letting them sleep next to you.
Humans are remarkably sensitive to odours so it’s a great idea to infuse the atmosphere with the kind of pleasant perfumes that you associate with happy memories.
Whilst you’re experimenting with essential oils, you also need to ban television, laptops, mobile phones, tablets and any other form of mental or emotional stimulation. No reading. No discussions. Your aim is to create an environment that supports complete rest.
Plan to go to bed at the same time every night whenever possible. It’s very helpful in creating an effective pattern of behaviour.
There is a time for many words – and there is also a time for sleep. – Homer
Meditation can provide a profoundly effective way to relax your mind and body and offers a host of truly wonderful benefits when you make it a natural part of your evening routine.
By relaxing your body and calming your thoughts, you’ll be much better prepared to enjoy a great night’s sleep. And you’ll notice the difference when you start to wake up in the morning feeling physically and mentally refreshed and energised. Whether you follow your own routine or enjoy a guided meditation, as long as you are able to release the stresses and tensions of the day, you’re much more likely to sleep well.
This is only a brief overview of some of the simplest ways to enhance the chances of a great night’s sleep. Make a simple, powerful decision right now to put all of these principles into practice tonight and notice how much better you feel when you start to wake up every morning feeling refreshed, enthusiastic and thoroughly energised.
Are you ready for a major upgrade in your life? Great! Because now you can enjoy the Wellness Foundation courses for personal growth and transformation in the comfort of your home. That’s right. The Foundation Courses are now available online!
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